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Sesame Street and Early Childhood Education

by Tony Wan

EdSurge

Article excerpt

To Tackle Early Childhood Education, Sesame Street Finds a Smart Friend: IBM Watson

In a not-too-distant future, Elmo may be able to respond to more than tickles. Imagine if the plush, cuddly doll can listen as kids read aloud and analyze their pronunciation and vocabulary. As Elmo learns, it can respond and suggest activities to help children build literacy skills.

Our take

Beyond Tickle Me Elmo: Soon Elmo may be interacting with children in new, and increasingly educationally-focused ways.

Through a partnership with IBM Watson, Sesame Street is exploring opportunities to bring their popular characters to life. The marriage of Sesame Street’s educational media and Watson’s powerful computing potential may lead to interfaces that mean these characters can literally become your children’s teachers. There are potential security and privacy concerns, though. What do you need to know?

While the benefits of this type of interactive technology may be significant, administrators and instructors need to ensure that they are aware of the risks and taking steps to ensure education and communication with parents to help assuage their concerns as appropriate. With the actual introduction of this technology still at least a year away there’s time to begin considering what these concerns might be and developing guidelines for assessing these new opportunities.

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