Monkey Labs, a series of educational video games, was developed in 2009 by game studio Larian Studios and educational book publisher die Keure (Belgium). Monkey Labs I, the first in this series, is a 3D videogame in which students have to solve various mathematics challenges. Following an intriguing narrative, the student/player sees a seemingly abandoned research complex and it is up to the player to unveil the mysteries within, and save the monkeys and scientists that are locked up inside this place of surprises and plot-twists.
Daisy and Drago
Winner of MEDEA Award for Creativity and Innovation 2009
Daisy and Drago is an entry by Miss. Özge Karaoğlu and Mrs. Havva Kangal Erdoğan, two teachers from the Terakki Foundation Schools in Istanbul, Turkey. It is an educational project which was created by 6-year old Turkish pupils and aims to entertain young learners while they learn a foreign language and help to build permanent learning in English. In a repetitive and funny story young children can learn to use the English phrases “I can – I can’t – Can you?” as the young girl Daisy invites her friend Drago to several of her favourite sports activities, but he can’t do them as he is a dragon and she is a human, but there is one thing that Drago can do...
The showcase video of Daisy and Drago, including an interview with Özge Karaoğlu
By integrating Art and English lessons, pupils had the opportunity to learn and combine artistry and language skills during the production of this animation film and their audiovisual aids are now an important part of the resulting animation. They learned how to record their voices and sounds for the animation, but also to create and maintain teamwork and present their artwork to an audience.
What the judges said of Daisy and Drago:
“Daisy and Drago is an example of how to engage students by letting them create their own learning materials. It is actually a very simple and effective pedagogical idea: if there are no good learning materials we let the learners co-create them. Highly effective in addressing the learners, it is in itself a very motivating activity and creative process and the resulting animation can also be reused due to its high overall quality and ability to support other learning instances, as we can see from the good suggestions from the two entrants on how to use the video in the classroom. Perhaps in the future this product could be improved even more by adding subtitles to the DVD and by integrating the video on a website, where you can find further suggestions how to use the video, further didactical information or promoting the pupils’ posters and recordings separately?
Funny noises and nice music on the background provide a nice atmosphere, but do not distract from the story and despite the repetition in grammar (I can, I can’t) the attention of the viewer is kept by a good story-flow, lots of humour and the curiousness: is there something that Drago can do and Daisy can’t? It ends with a nice plot and as we can see at the end of the video, the pupils have had lots of fun in this enjoyable learning experience, of which all involved teachers and pupils can be proud!”
About the creation of Daisy and Drago
Daisy and Drago is an entry by Miss. Özge Karaoğlu and Mrs. Havva Kangal Erdoğan from the Terakki Foundation Schools in Istanbul, Turkey. The story of this animated film was written by Özge, who is an English teacher and responsible for the leadership of the kindergarten department and the screenplay was written by Havva, an Animation and Art Teacher. Together, they involved 60 children who drew and colored the pictures and recorded their voices for the characters. The filming was recorded by the technical team in their Terakki Foundation School. They say: “As being 21st century teachers, we wanted to integrate technology in our lessons to reach our digitally native students and we thought this experience would be a unique one for the students and for us; because this animated film is the first film in English Language Teaching (ELT) that aims at teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students English through animations and which is also created by students themselves. It was difficult to decide on the hours to work with the kids because the English teacher and the animation teacher had to be at the class at the same time and it was hard work for the teachers but it was worth it!!”
Complete video of Daisy and Drago
This film has been used in English lessons as a teaching resource in English language teaching. The resulting animation is also part of lessons as Özge and Havva explain: “We have used this film in our kindergarten classes when we teach sports . Before we present the topic we show some snapshots of the video where they do different sports and we ask the kids to name them. We ask students about their favorite sports then we ask them which sports they can do. They look at the snapshots and decide what Daisy can do and what Drago can’t. After they watch the film, students role-play the story and discuss what Daisy and Drago can or can’t do. They also watch the film without the sound and then try to remember what the characters say in different scenes. Another related activity is preparing posters for the film and making puppets of the characters.”
This Daisy and Drago film came in second place in the 6th İstanbul International Children Film Festival and was thus shown in many cinemas, before these two teachers entered the MEDEA Awards 2009, for which it won the MEDEA Award for Creativity and Innovation 2009. Özge and Havva are keen to create other stories with the same animation format: “The pupils, parents and teachers liked the first film of Daisy and Drago so much that we decided to create another one with new students in 2009. It’s called Daisy, Drago and the Magic Wand which aims at teaching body parts.”
Havva's and Özge's films have been awarded at different competitions and they have been shown at theaters and film festivals.
Özge Karaoğlu is an English as Foreign Language (EFL) teacher at Terakki Foundation Schools (Terakki Vakfı Okulları) in Istanbul (Turkey) since 2003, where she also coordinates the kindergarten department. She is also a freelance teacher trainer and an e-moderator of the online British Council’s ELT Sharepoint group. Özge is furthermore the educational coordinator of the interactive DVD series “Yes,I Speak English” that will be designed to give EFL children a jump-start in English, for which she is the script and screenplay writer. She is also working as the educational coordinator of the Creative Ideas Team at Magenta Publishing, which has been working on an ELT readers project that aims at teaching English to very young learners. She has done several workshops and seminars on edtech, e-learning and teaching young and very young learners both in local and international conferences. As she “is very interested in integrating a digital environment in language learning, the practical application of new technologies and social software and the ways we can adapt them in to our teaching” and wants to spread its possibilities, she has a blog about implementing media in education and lists resources for both teachers and learners on her wiki.
Havva Kangal Erdoğan
Havva Kangal Erdoğan graduated from Mimar Sinan University, faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Painting in 1986. She worked for Pasin Animation Studio for 9 years as an animator and producer of animation movies for Turkish and Greek television. For her successful animation movie ‘Four Women-The Pioneer Women’ (1993) for the Turkish Ministry of Culture she was invited to several international festivals including in Europe and Japan. In 1998 Havva became an animation teacher when she established the first animation film studio for children in Terakki Foundation Schools. Under her guidance, the school was ground-breaking with its animation movie education for youngsters between 6-15 years old. Under her guidance, Havva’s students have made over 70 animation films ranging between 1-8 minutes to date, and many of them have received important awards in competitions. In 2005 under her supervision her students from Terakki Foundation and State Schools made two animation films for the “7 is too Late” project of Mother and Child Education Foundation (ACEV), which were shown across Turkey aiming to spotlight the importance of early education to adults.
Supporting a social responsibility project of the Turkish poulterer Banvit, Havva and her young students produced 3 short animation movies between 2006-2008 to show the importance of developing healthy eating habbits. The leading characters of Cem and Cemile were created by her 8-10 year old students and these films were shown in many schools. Since the beginning of her career in 1998 she has participated in many educational and communication conferences including the Sabanci University and Istanbul University focusing on the importance and role of animation and instruction of animation in the schools and education in general.
Özge Karaoğlu (left) and Havva Kangal Erdoğan (right), after receiving their award from Tobias Hall from Tobias Hall from Avid (Germany)(middle)
Havva's and Özge's films have been awarded at different competitions and they have been shown at theaters and film festivals. At the MEDEA Awards Ceremony 2009, the two teachers representing the winning school received a MEDEA medal and prizes including a Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Licence, music software, a MicroTrack II mobile digital recorder (sponsored by AVID) and a Adobe Production Premium Creative Suite 4 Licence (sponsored by Adobe Systems).