creativity · play

Using play to cover hard news

English: A mugshot of Puppet, S.
Puppet mugshot. Image via Wikipedia

I love this story from Cleveland, OH, about how one news team brought some fun to their news reporting, and a good way of finding a solution to a problem:

It’s courtroom drama crossed with “Sesame Street,” as a television station barred from using cameras during a high-profile corruption trial covers the highlights with a nightly puppet show. It stars a talking squirrel “reporter” who provides the play-by-play in an exaggerated, “you won’t believe this” tone.

“It’s a satirical look at the trial and, again, I think we have it appropriately placed at the end of the newscast,” WOIO news director Dan Salamone said Thursday.

He said the puppets are in addition to the station’s regular coverage of the Akron federal trial of ex-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, the longtime Democratic power broker in Cleveland

“It’s not intended in any way to replace any of the serious coverage of the trial,” Salamone said.

With cameras barred from court, the news media has relied on artist sketches of the proceedings inside and daily video of Dimora walking into court with his wife and his defense team.

The station uses the puppets repeating testimony and performing as witnesses, reporters and jurors to detail the case, which began last week and is expected to last three months. The trial has been a daily staple of front-page coverage in The Plain Dealer newspaper and often leads TV newscasts in town.

Read the full story at Talking squirrel puppet reports from high-profile Ohio trial

It’s always nice to see when playfulness gets some attention.

children · cognition · education · family · learning · technology

Using the Internet as a Learning (and play) Tool

Great article from Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing:

…my 2.5-year-old daughter and I use my computer as part of our imaginative play and storytelling, using YouTube searches, Flickr image searches, paper story books, toys, and trips around town to play and explore.

Now that she’s more active, she usually requests something – often something from YouTube (we also download her favourite YouTube clips to our laptops, using, or she’ll start feeding me keywords to search on, like “doggy and bunny” and we’ll have a look at what comes up. It’s nice sharing a screen with her. She points at things in her video she likes and asks me about them (pausable video is great for this!), or I notice stuff I want to point out to her.

But the fun comes when we incorporate all this into our storytelling play…

This is great that Doctorow is using YouTube as scaffolding to teach his daughter, rather than just plopping her in front of the TV. The interaction is the most important part here, and it’s great that he’s incorporating digital media into the lesson plan, encouraging her to think critically even at a little itty-bitty age. 🙂