Every time I see the number 11, I think of Sesame Street’s Count. Although I have no grounds for this belief, I always thought the Count’s favourite number is 11, perhaps because its name breaks with the naming convention (i.e., it really should be “one-teen”), or perhaps because of the symmetry,
And then I hear the Count laughing as the numbers he shouts out ascends to an ever higher digit.
If you ask my mother, she will tell you that thanks to the Count and Big Bird and Bert and Ernie and Grover and the rest of the crew, I became literate and numerate at the age of three. She will also tell you that thanks to Mr. Rogers, I learned how to tie my shoes.
Sesame Street, for generations, was the gold standard for educational television. It demonstrated that, when done right, a piece of technology can provide young learners with a window to new experiences, enrich academic knowledge, enhance attitudes and motivation, and nurture social skills.
When defending public television (particularly children’s public television) before Congress in 1969, Mr. Rogers said:
This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child, to help him realize that he is unique. I end the program by saying, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.” And I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health. I think that it’s much more dramatic that two men could be working out their feelings of anger ― much more dramatic than showing something of gunfire.
Mr. Rogers then asked: “Could I tell you the words of one of the songs, which I feel is very important?” He followed with a calm recitation of “What do you do?”
Senator John O. Pastore, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communication, listened intently. He had never seen a single episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighbourhood.” He was 62 at the time.
“I’m supposed to be a pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I’ve had goose bumps for the last two days,” he said. “Looks like you just earned the $20 million.”
At tomorrow night’s #ItsHappening event, Sholom, Frank and I hope to demonstrate how the judicious use of a new(-ish) technology can expose young learners to new experiences, enrich academic knowledge in a way unimaginable ten years ago, enhance feelings of connection to the Jewish community, and nurture critical thinking as well as social skills.
While Sholom, Frank and our keynote speaker highlight the revolutionary potential of blended learning, I will be demonstrating what a Face-to-Face session might look and feel like.
It’s a tall order. We only have one hour.
Though we don’t expect the audience to award us with congressional (or parliamentary) support, we hope that we may have convinced one or two families that ADRABA is a viable alternative to existing options in Toronto.
If you can’t make it, that’s okay. However, if you can spread the word about ADRABA, that would be most appreciated.