Changing Minds

Posted on: Tuesday 30 June 2015 5:54pm by Tom Kenyon

CMC Learning Strand Editor, Tom Kenyon, on the new cross-overs between educational and mainstream media for kids.

Tom Kenyon

Tom Kenyon

Children’s Media has always had a close relationship with learning.  If ever we needed a reminder of the impact this industry can have on children’s learning and development, Sesame Street – a show that was devised to answer the question ‘can television teach?’ – released evidence this year that watching Big Bird, Elmo and co had the same impact on pre-schoolers’ education as attending nursery school.

The theme of this year’s CMC is change. The learning content industry has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years.   Our keynote is from a YouTube education destination with 15 million subscribers! Investment in educational technology is higher than ever. The iPad is increasingly positioned as an educational device. Coding is seen as the new literacy.

To reflect this rapid pace of development we have created a programme to help navigate the changing landscape of learning.  We ask questions like: Can you really learn from an app? How do I work with an educational advisor? Can media inspire children’s creative learning?

Perhaps the biggest question we face is ‘how do I find funding?’. While the digital market is expanding, traditional learning commissions are proving harder to come by. We’ve developed our usual commissioning format into a broader look at where to find money and investment to produce learning content. At Learning A Land of Opportunity alongside BBC Learning’s Lisa Percy you will also hear from venture capitalists Abhi Arya and Richard Taylor, and Ian Dodgeon from the Wellcome Trust about what they look for in the projects they support.

Increasingly brands play a commissioning role in the new learning landscape. Educational content is seen by major corporates as a way to demonstrate their social responsibility and by existing character IP as a parent-positive licensing stream. In Brands and Learning we’ll hear from producers who have walked the line with brands on the challenges and opportunities of integrating learning values into entertainment or commercial propositions.

EdTech Futures gives us a glimpse at the start-ups that are aiming to reach children with new learning technologies.  These young companies are setting their sights entirely outside  the commissioning system. As well as showing us some very cool new products, this session explores how these businesses survive and the highs and lows of innovating on your own terms.

The Children’s Media Conference has always been a melting pot of talent. The Changing Minds strand brings in new producers, academics, technologists and funders to join the debate, exchange ideas and highlight how children’s media in 2015 can impact the lives of its audience.

Be sure to check out these sessions:

Brands and Learning Thursday 2 July 13.00-45 @ HUBS C

EdTech Futures Thursday 2 July 11-12.30 @HUBS C

Learning: A Land of Opportunity Thursday 2 July 15.40-16.40 @ Cinema 3

Learning By App Thursday 2 July 5.10-6pm @ HUBS C

Play, Make and Share: Inspiring Creativity Friday 3 July 14.10-15.10 @ Cinema 2

Well Advised Friday 3 July 13.00-45 @ HUBS C

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Tom Kenyon

About the author

Tom Kenyon

Playful Learning Lab, Director

Former Director of Digital Education at Nesta. Founder of the Make Things Do stuff campaign. Worked for 10 years developing and producing cross-platform products and campaigns for children and young people. Tom has worked with brands such as 'The Dumping Ground', 'Channel 4’s Street Summer', 'Jamie’s Dream School', 'Kerwhizz' and… Read more