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An Upcoming Video Game Called Cosmos Chaos is Going to Change Educational Video Games For Children

As a blogger who covers both video games and parenting, I’m occasionally in the position to preview games before they’re released. Game companies occasionally send me marketing materials promoting educational video games for children, logo-fied swag, and other such nonsense to give away to my few regular readers. They get a free mention, I get to give away keyrings and rubber balls to my e-friends.

Rarely, the production companies will send me an early copy of their upcoming game. Because I’m in the parenting/gaming blogging business (such as it is), the games I receive are usually educational video games for children. They run the gamut, from boring tripe to pretty darn fun (even for an adult!). If I’m excited about something, I’ll tell my readers about it.

I have never been so excited about an educational video game for children as I have for this “Cosmos Chaos.”

I’ve bought into their hype, but rightfully so, I believe. The folk behind this game got a grant from the US Department of Education to build a game that teaches reading and writing skills to grade school kids. No big deal, right?

Well, the grant provided them with more resources than any educational video game for children has ever received. Rather than squander such an amazing opportunity, they pulled together an all-star team to conjure up an educational game the likes of which no one’s ever seen. Take your dream-team of movie industry people – like Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Orson Welles, Stephen Spielberg, and Marilyn Monroe – put them in a room together and have them hammer out a movie. That’s the level of talent that went into making this game.

Artists from Nickelodeon. Game designers from Konami. Professors and experts on children’s learning. The team flew them all to Hawaii and paid them to make the greatest language skill-building game for grade schoolers the world’s ever seen. No small task, but they absolutely pulled it off. This educational video game for children is fun enough for adults, too. Challenging? Maybe not. But fun, and good for your vocabulary!

The version I played – apparently not the final version of this over-the-top educational game for children – has you playing the role of a bright kid, out for a day of fun with your dog. Next thing you know, aliens kidnap your puppy, robots are crash-landing in town, and you’re in charge of rescuing the poor pup from an evil overlord. The learning aspect of the game is interwoven seamlessly into the game’s mechanics; for example, when you converse with other characters, certain words are highlighted. Touch the word with the stylus, and a screen pops up to offer a definition and an example of the word being used in a conversation. The game then rewards the player with experience points for learning the word.

Further down the road, you’re given options with which to respond to characters’ questions – use the correct response based on the underlined word’s meaning, get more experience. If you get it wrong, no big deal – you’re prompted to try again, and you get a little less experience than if you’d got it correct the first time. It’s great that the educational game for children rewards players for trying again after failing.

“Combat” occurs regularly, but don’t worry – there’s no real violence. You’ve a robot protector who battles opponents for you, using strange and unique “attacks” to best your opponents. But we’re talking about two inanimate object throwing nuts and bolts at each other, not living animals or monsters or people. What’s great, though, is the vocabulary and word comprehension is woven in yet again. Not so heavily that it becomes a burden, or annoying, or slows down the action too much, but enough that it makes sure it’s doing its job and you’re learning while playing. It’s an educational game for children, but it’s really, truly, seriously, fun.

The original art work is unparalleled. The learning is fun. Building your robot to suit your needs and your preferences is a great touch, adding replayability to an already great educational video game for children. There are secrets to hunt, special robot attacks to unlock, and levels to gain. The game’s musical score is upbeat and catchy, with a different “feel” for every region you visit. The only thing they could’ve done better was to have worked on the characters’ voices – each character seems to have only one or two short blurbs to emote. Unfortunately, you’ll grow tired of the protagonist’s voice very quickly. A small complaint, but maybe one they’ll fix before the final build.

I’m not certain, exactly, when the game will be released. If you have kids, though, prepare for them to put it at the top of their birthday presents list. For once, however, it’ll be an educational game for children that you’ll know they will enjoy.

Enhancing a Company’s Brand With Educational Music For Children

In today’s competitive landscape it has become increasingly important for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition. One of the ways this is being done is through the use of brand and marketing programs that support families and children. Campaigns focused on this not only allow companies to show their support of families, but also create lasting images that allow market positioning with the next generation of customers.

A children’s educational marketing campaign is one way to enhance brand and market position. Educational agendas create connections with families and children across demographic groups and are viewed as very positive in the minds of both existing and potential customers.

Topics promoted in this type of educational campaign can include the ABC’s, basic math, health and fitness, and energy conservation.

Educational Media Creations Company, LLC (EMCC) is on the forefront of developing these types of integrated promotional campaigns. Through its Silly Bus brand, EMCC works with companies to develop one-of a-kind music and videos for kids. Silly Bus products are easily promoted in CD, DVD and digital download formats which allow companies to keep cost low while providing tangible product and brand placement directly into the hands of their customers. This type of product allows a company’s brand to last longer given the product value and tendency for people to keep the songs and videos in their library for repeated reviews in any setting.

To enhance brand in the market place companies should consider:
o The average age group of children in their target market;
o The mix of mothers and/or fathers most likely to receive the message; and
o The channels that provide the best positioning of the message and product.

By taking a few initial steps, a company can quickly differentiate itself from the competition and simultaneously develop lasting relationships with future generations that will ultimately become the customers of tomorrow.

Art and Music Department Budget Cuts – What it Means For Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

It is common knowledge that when schools have budget dilemmas the arts are the first casualty.
What is not broadly known is the impact of dismissing art from the lives of our children.
‘Champions of Change, the Impact of the Arts on Learning’ is the most comprehensive study on the subject of students involvement in the fine arts and how it relates to academic success.
The study builds a strong for students achieving higher levels of academic success and in higher overall numbers when involved with fine art.

Per the study;

- 82.6% of 8th graders earned mostly As and Bs who were involved heavily in fine arts versus 67.2% earning A’s and B’s who were not.

- 30.07% of the respondents who participate in fine arts performs community service where only 6.28% of the respondents who do not participate in fine arts perform community service.

- Students who are not heavily involved in fine arts have more than double the chance of dropping out of school by the 10th grade.

- 56.64% of the respondents who participate in fine arts read for pleasure where only 34. Chances are you will a handful of musical instruments in good condition gathering dust in a garage or attic.

These are just some of the findings in the particular study.
Fine arts help teach students far more than how to draw roses in a vase, or how to play the violin.

Fine art helps the creative aspect of your child’s mind grow, instills discipline, provides a sense of pride, self-esteem, and accomplishment.

These attributes not only help students do better academically, but do better in their adult life, with their career, their new family, their emotional well being.

So what do you do if your child’s school has had major cuts in their art program?
Your first option is, of course, private lessons. There are pros and cons that you should be aware of when going this route.

Lets look at the pros first.

First, due to budget cuts and pressure for schools to ensure their students score well on standardized testing (oddly enough the students who are involved in the arts score better on average) the arts get less attention that other subjects in school. Thus the lesson quality is diluted. Meaning your child has an excellent chance of getting better fine art instruction in a professional fine art instruction environment. The classes are smaller, sometimes even one on one. The instructor only has to teach that particular art form.

The other pro to going outside of your school for fine art education is that your child’s success is intimately tied into the instructors income.

A public school teacher who has half of their art class receive failing grades will still be paid the same at the end of the week. The equivalent in the private art instruction world would mean a bankrupt business in a very short order. Providing private art classes is a business. They must produce a good product or risk not being around in the future.

The major con to private lessons is of course if you cannot afford them for your child.
Private lessons cost money. Knowing the benefits of a child being educated in the fine arts, I would happily drive a less luxurious car, or eat out less often to ensure their fine art education.
However this may not be an option if, say you are a single parent, and there is too much month left after the end of your money.

To wrap up this point, private lessons are great, often better than what is provided even in schools that have ample art and music budgets.

An alternative solution may be needed if you you are on a limited budget.

There are things that you can do to help your local school raise money for their art programs.
First and foremost is fund raising. You can go about this many ways. For example in my high school in Burbank California a parent spoke to executives at NBC studios. Two months later NBC donated professional video and editing equipment to our school. Everything for the fine art of film making was at our school.

It may take a bit of creative thinking and a lot of leg work, but your local businesses or local celebrities could be a fantastic funding source for your school. In return they get good PR.
Of course you have the traditional events to raise funds. A car wash, garage sales, silent auctions, etc. The real make break point for the above types of fund raisers is having the right person in-charge to ensure that all the details are taken care of and everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. If no one shows up to the car wash because no one knew about it, it won’t do anyone much good. Nor will the dozen cookies at the bake sale.
Organize and communicate.

I know a good amount of people. More pertinently I know people who know more people than I could ever hope to know. When confronted with the difficult task of refitting your schools classical music program with instruments, it can seem overwhelming.
However when you have a network of hundreds of concerned people it looks more like this.
An email/phone call/mailer goes to your network about the problem.

Everyone looks in their home and asks people they know for donations of spare instruments (I actually donated a very nice classical guitar to a school last year).
Perhaps you find a few instruments in great condition that have been sitting in closets and garages untouched for 20 years.

You now invite your network and everyone your network knows to a bowling night fund raiser. You raise twenty dollars for all who attend. 50 people show. There is a $1000 right there for new instruments.

Next week you get local businesses and people in your network to donate items of value for an auction. Students can hand out fliers and place posters in store-fronts, place announcements in online classifieds and the local newspaper, ensure your network is talking the event up to everyone they know.

The auction is a success raising $3,000.
When you have enough money for the instruments have the kids study hard and put on a fund raiser concert, charge $10 and put the money aside. Lorn knows, a student lose his tuba somewhere.
It is plain to see, a dedicated group can accomplish much more than an individual.
What happens if your school is so strapped for cash and so over crowded that they cannot afford the fine art teacher let alone the space for art classes?
And what if there are no reputable private fine art instruction schools local, or you cannot afford them at this time?

At this point you have to take matters entirely in your own hands. However you are not entirely alone!
There are products on the market, that for a low cost, can still help educate your child in the fine arts.

Here is an example, for a onetime payment of $30 you can have you child take online violin lessons with Violin Master Pros.
There are also online lessons and DVD instruction programs for other musical instruments, writing, drawing, and more.

Any will be far more productive than another evening of video games or cable TV.
Beware of asking uncle John – who plays the piano – to teach your child. Just because one knows how to do something does not mean they know how to teach it!
Bad lessons can very quickly turn your child off to the arts. Even if your school all of a sudden receives a huge grant for their art program it won’t do much good if your child is stale on art.
All in all our societies viewpoint must be changed in regards to how important the arts are to our children and our future.

It is a proven fact that children do better in standardized testing when involved in the fine arts. Yet many schools will cut art and music to focus on getting better scoring results!
A tiny portion of our defense budget would easily fund art and music in our schools nationwide.
Many parents have the viewpoint, ‘if it is not reading or arithmetic then what real use is it my child’?

Yet in the top science schools in America all have a extensive fine art programs in their universities for a reason. It helps students perform academically!
It is our job as parents, budget cuts or no budget cuts, to ensure that our children receive the fine art education that they need.

If we don’t do it for our children, who is going to?