Author: trainofthought108

19 Melbourne Studying Professional Communication at RMIT Interested in journalism, media and communication industries Passionate about politics, literature, human rights and Kinder Surprise chocolates

Journalism notes, resources, pitch

Develop a story idea for journalism by asking these questions:

Who are the people who embody the different sides of this issue? Put a human face on it?

  • Children of diverse gender and backgrounds (Toca Boca markets their apps at this demographic; lots of research compiled)
  • Children with special needs: Toca Boca and similar apps are highly recommended for children with disabilities in Australia and across the world (research available)
  • Parents of children who could use the apps
  • Educators or childhood development professionals using and benefitting from the apps in their work with children (number 16 in Education apps for teachers)
  • App designers, manufacturers and retailers
  • Other digital media producers and toy producers impacted by changing trends and attitudes
  • Activist/political groups campaigning for diversity

 

Whose voice is excluded from the journalistic coverage of this issue you have uncovered so far? What perspective is not well represented?

The voice of children with learning disabilities, or who benefit from diversity other than gender-based diversity. Also, the perspective of educators and childhood professionals is not well represented – information is available online for other educators, but the wider story of how diverse apps can be used to engage children in various contexts is fairly excluded from journalistic coverage.

 

Who could speak for this side of the issue?

Teachers, childhood development specialists, special needs educators, children from diverse backgrounds, parents of children of diverse backgrounds and abilities. App developers could also be contacted for comment. They have made the conscious decision not to focus on the education sector in order to keep their apps engaging and playful rather than rigid and curriculum based, but this could be the reason that they actually have the potential to engage such a wide variety of children.

 

What publication or news outlet would this story suit?

It would be a local publication with a focus on technology, education and social issues: The Age would be best suited to publish the article.

 

Who is their audience?

3.1 million readers as of August 2015 http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/the-newspaper-works-readership-figures-smh-remains-well-ahead-of-the-pack-20151007-gk33yv.html

Audience is mixed politically; 2013 polls indicated The Age readers preferred Liberal over Labour party, yet a hefty proportion of readers favoured the Greens (and thus the 2nd party preferences would put Labour in the lead) http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5136-political-profiles-of-newspapers-readerships-june-2013-201308272330

Primarily serves a Victorian readership with heavy sales in Melbourne, but also available in Tasmania, ACT, and border regions of SA and NSW.

Both print and online readership, with print readership still profitable yet with falling sales.

14.98% of traffic is from Referrals

56% male readership

60% of readers between age of 30-64

52% in the top ‘Social Grades’; Only 14% of readership earn Less than $40,000 per year

29% families

49% either Managers of Business Decision Makers http://www.adcentre.com.au/brands/the-age/

 

What kind of media would you use to tell the story? what and who would be your sources?

Combination of print and digital media, article with interviews, photos and videos. Sources would include Spectronics, Education and special needs specialists, Nicola Yelland (professor of Education, Vic Uni), teachers and early learning specialists in the classroom, parents and children who use the apps and the app makers.

 

Journalism:

Evidence that Toca Boca is used by teachers/in the classroom:

Used all around the world by language teachers, special needs educators http://praacticalaac.org/tag/toca-boca-apps/ http://www.mrsdscorner.com

/2015/08/10appsfortheSpEdClassroom.html

http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/technology/techy-stuff/toca-boca-apps/

Strongly recommended by Spectronics, an Inclusive Learning Technologies organisation. Education and special needs specialists such as Amanda Hartman recommend Toca Boca for engagement in the classroom.

Ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016

Multiple parenting and education blogs mention it as a great engaging and educational app

(http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/preschool/starting-preschool/best-educational-apps-for-preschoolers )

Currently Number 16 on best free education apps for iPad on the iTopChart

Pinned as a top result on Pinterest for Educator’s teacher’s apps

http://classtechtips.com/2015/12/10/edtech-spotlight-6-tinybop-apps/

http://appsforimpact.co/ – American program partnering diverse apps with underserved schools

Recomended as a toy for prep students by Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne

Diversity in marketing → Inclusion in play

PITCH:

Toca Boca and other children’s app designers such as TinyBop market their products as inclusive towards all genders, backgrounds and learning abilities, offering play unhindered by segregation or labels.

Increasingly, these apps endorsed not only by individual parents and children but by childhood learning specialists and educators, highlighting the potential for inclusive child-centric apps to engage with children with special needs.

Toca Boca currently ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016 and within the top 20 on the iTop Chart for best free education apps. It has been recommended as a tool for classroom engagement by Spectronics, an Australian institution for Inclusive Learning Technologies focussing on special needs learning. Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education at Victoria Uni, has also recommended the app for prep students.

So far, Toca Boca’s potential to engage children with special needs has been examined only in the academic sphere, mostly advice exchanged between educators and specialists. There is a gap in the journalistic coverage around the marketing of children’s media that has not been addressed. That is: what is the link between diversity in marketing, and inclusion in education and play? What can we learn from the potential for inclusive digital play to engage children with diverse needs and experiences? And finally, how are these apps being used in Melbourne schools, and what are the benefits for Australian students, teachers and families?

This story will focus on the use of Toca Boca and similarly marketed digital media in a Victorian school with a diverse cohort of students with special needs. It will link Toca Boca’s ethos with their unique potential to facilitate childhood development in the classroom, examining the issue from the perspective of local educators, children and families.

It fits with the kind of content usually found in The Age Education section because The Age frequently features content on schools, education, technology and social issues affecting families. The Age also has a strong local focus on Victorian news.

It would appeal to a Victorian audience because it has a huge human interest factor, affecting local schools, educators and families, and potentially influencing special needs education and the wellbeing of disadvantaged students in the future.

 

 

The voice of children with learning disabilities, or who benefit from diversity other than gender-based diversity. Also, the perspective of educators and childhood professionals is not well represented – information is available online for other educators, but the wider story of how diverse apps can be used to engage children in various contexts is fairly excluded from journalistic coverage.

Evidence that Toca Boca is used by teachers/in the classroom:

Used all around the world by language teachers, special needs educators http://praacticalaac.org/tag/toca-boca-apps/ http://www.mrsdscorner.com/2015/08/10appsfortheSpEdClassroom.html

http://www.creativelanguageclass.com/technology/techy-stuff/toca-boca-apps/

Strongly recommended by Spectronics, an Inclusive Learning Technologies organisation. Education and special needs specialists such as Amanda Hartman recommend Toca Boca for engagement in the classroom.

Ranks within the top Education Apps in Australia as of May 12 2016

Multiple parenting and education blogs mention it as a great engaging and educational app

(http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/preschool/starting-preschool/best-educational-apps-for-preschoolers )

Currently Number 16 on best free education apps for iPad on the iTopChart

Pinned as a top result on Pinterest for Educator’s teacher’s apps

http://classtechtips.com/2015/12/10/edtech-spotlight-6-tinybop-apps/

http://appsforimpact.co/ – American program partnering diverse apps with underserved schools

Recomended as a toy for prep students by Nicola Yelland, Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne

Further resources and research, week 11

RESOURCES FOR DISCUSSION OF COLOUR:

  • Hammond, C 2014, The ‘pink vs blue’ gender myth, BBC, accessed 15 May 2016,

<http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141117-the-pink-vs-blue-gender-myth>

  • LoBue, V & DeLoache, J. S 2011, ‘Pretty in pink: The early development of gender-stereotyped colour preferences’, British Journal of Developmental Psychology, vol 29, issue 3, pp. 656-667

<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/doi/10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02027.x/abstract>

(“The current findings are inconsistent with recent work that suggests that gender-

based colour preferences may have a biological basis.” “A preference for pink did not emerge in girls until the age of 2.5” (pg 664)

“Furthermore, while girls are developing a preference for pink with age,

boys are developing an avoidance of pink at the same time.” (pg 665)

  • Wong, W. I & Hines, M 2015, ‘Effects of Gender Color-Coding on Toddlers’ Gender-Typical Toy Play’, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, vol 44, issue 5, pp. 1233-1242

“Overall, the results suggest that, once acquired, gender-typical color preferences begin to influence toy preferences, especially those for gender-atypical toys and particularly in boys. They thus could enlarge differences between boys’ and girls’ toy preferences. Because boys’ and girls’ toys elicit different activities, removing the gender color-coding of toys could encourage more equal learning opportunities.”

  • Weisgram, E.S, Fulcher, M & Dinella, L.M 2014, ‘Pink gives girls permission: Exploring the roles of explicit gender labels and gender-typed colors on preschool children’s toy preferences’, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, vol 35, issue 5, pp. 401-409

<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193397314000689>

RESOURCES DISCUSSING GENDER AND TOYS:

  • Smith, C & Lloyd, B 1978, ‘Maternal Behaviour and Perceived Sex of Infant: Revisited’, Child Development, vol 49, no. 4, pp. 1263-1265

(Study showing adults choosing different toys based on perceived gender, and responding differently)

  • Jadva, V, Hines, M & Golombok, S 2010, ‘Infants’ Preferences for Toys, Colors, and Shapes: Sex Differences and Similarities’, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, vol 39, issue 6, pp. 1261-1273

<http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/article/10.1007/s10508-010-9618-z>

“Opposite sex typed behavior is punished or not rewarded, which leads to extinction. Children can also learn which behaviors to adopt by modeling individuals of the same sex as themselves or by complying with labels identifying behaviors as appropriate for children of one sex or the other” (pg 1262)

(Parents surround children with different toys/home environments according to gender)

“Consistent with this argument, boys avoidance of feminine toys has been found to increase with age, and to be stronger when an observer is present (Hartup, Moore, & Sager, 1963)” (pg 1270)

(Both sexes at 12 months prefer dolls showing the preferences developed later are not biological)

  • What the Research Says: Gender-Typed Toys, National Association for the Education of Young Children, viewed 14 May 2016,

<http://www.naeyc.org/content/what-research-says-gender-typed-toys>

Professor Blakemore: I am not sure how surprising this is to me but it might be to parents: Moderately masculine toys encourage children’s physical, cognitive, academic, musical, and artistic skills more so than moderately feminine ones.”

  • Fine, C 2016, Toys for boys and girls show gender stereotypes at play, Pursuit, viewed 12 May 2016,

<https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/toys-for-girls-and-boys-show-gender-stereotypes-at-play>

LINKS BETWEEN DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL TOYS:

  • Marsh, J, Plowman, L, Yamada-Rice, D, Bishop, J.C, Lahmar, J, Scott, F, Davenport, A, Davis, S, French, K, Piras, M, Thornhill, S, Robinson, P & Winter, P 2015, Exploring Play and Creativity in Pre-Schoolers’ Use of Apps: Final Project Report, Technology and Play, viewed 13 May 2016,

<http://techandplay.org/reports/TAP_Final_Report.pdf>

“Children are most likely to use tablets in the living room and their use is sometimes linked to non-digital, related items such as dolls and soft toys. “ pg 42

USAGE:

  • Marsh, J, Plowman, L, Yamada-Rice, D, Bishop, J.C, Lahmar, J, Scott, F, Davenport, A, Davis, S, French, K, Piras, M, Thornhill, S, Robinson, P & Winter, P 2015, Exploring Play and Creativity in Pre-Schoolers’ Use of Apps: Final Project Report, Technology and Play, viewed 13 May 2016,

<http://techandplay.org/reports/TAP_Final_Report.pdf>

“Children use tablets on a typical day for 1 hour 19 minutes and on a typical weekend day for 1 hour 23 minutes.” pg 42 UK study of pre-schoolers

“This study provided evidence that augmented reality apps can promote play and creativity. Children move across the online/ offline, ‘real’ and virtual, digital and non-digital boundaries with ease” pg 46

  • Smith, H. B 2014, ‘The impact of digital and physical play on early childhood development’, Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders Undergraduate Honors Theses, paper 24,

<http://scholarworks.uark.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=rhrcuht>

“Of the three high-tech children, each child engaged in a greater number of activities and activity switches while playing with physical toys than while playing with the iPad.” pg 14

  • Noorhidawati, A, Ghazal Ghalebandi, S & Siti Hajar, R 2015, ‘How do young children engage with mobile apps? Cognitive, psychomotor, and affective perspective’, Computers & Education, vol 87, pp. 385-395

<http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0360131515300105>

“Additionally the children were observed to be able to learn through their experience when interacting with the mobile apps. This is evident in their learning incidents related to knowledge (cognitive); actions/motor skills (psychomotor); attitudes, feelings, and emotions (affective).” pg 393

  • Wakefield, J 2015, Children spend six or more hours a day on screens, BBC News, accessed 17 May 2016,

<http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158>

Naidoo, J. C 2014, Digital Programming for Digital Youth: Promoting Cultural Competence in the Children’s Library, Libraries Unlimited, Santa Barbara, California.

IMPACT OF GENDERED TOY MARKETING:

  • Fine, C & Rush, M 2016, ‘“Why Does all the Girls have to Buy Pink Stuff?” The Ethics and Science of the Gendered Toy Marketing Debate’, Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 1-16

<http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/856/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10551-016-3080-3.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%2Fs10551-016-3080-3&token2=exp=1463100606~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F856%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252Fs10551-016-3080-3.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1007%252Fs10551-016-3080-3*~hmac=f991391de923e385b08961bff0e9ef02022cd8971d3224d58473897afb7d62a2>

“Jenny Willott, while serving as Consumer Affairs Minister in the UK, made reference to the tenet of early childhood that play is an important precursor and facilitator of skills and interests, and argued that GTM stifles development and self-discovery.” pg 2

“ Also notable is the tomboy phenomenon, whereby significant numbers of girls in middle childhood develop considerable interest in male-typed toys and activities, and shun femaletyped ones (Halim et al. 2011). Halim et al. have speculated that one motivating factor contributing to this tomboy phenomenon—and the absence of its equivalent in boys— is girls’ growing awareness at this age of the higher social status and value accorded to males and masculinity.” pg 7

“GTM also emphasises and reinforces gender stereotypes that contribute to stereotype-consistent interests, self-concepts, performance and self-efficacy beliefs,” pg 11

BRAINSTORM OF ARGUMENTS/KEY POINTS:
– In the past parents used to try and placate a crying child with toys or a rattle, now it’s an ipad

Team meeting notes, Wed May 18

Abigail, Kasia and Anna:

To do today:

  • complete SWOT analysis
  • map out slides
  • complete problem statement, assign tasks
  • plan meeting tonight (over Google HangOut)

Established the problem statement: PU not reaching and engaging w/ target public, therefore can’t influence real social change.

Journalism slides ready – everything polished. We will present journalism first and PR second so that we can stop when we reach the word limit.

Chiara task: researching target audience

Anna: SWOT

Kasia: introduction

Tonight: we will talk about tactics, key messages

Team notes

TEAM NOTES

 

What of the feedback do we need to improve on?

 

  • When developing your new storylines, remember to use your research findings to identify the answers to the guiding questions provided for each discipline (week 8 workshop) first. Those answers will then inform your final messages/outcomes etc.
  • Time limit – remember for next time

 

 

Today:

Choosing a client: PR, Let Toys be Toys, Play Unlimited

Developing research ideas?

 

Who are the stakeholders in the issue?

Producers of the toys

Retailers

Consumers: parents and children

Activist groups (i.e. Play Unlimited)

Government/economy – STEM fields

 

How effectively are they communicating their position?

Producers and consumers good at communicating their position because they are corporate, lots of money for ads

Consumers – parents, children and activist: individually they have spending power but the groups are fragmented, not aware of opportunities for change, or the alternatives. Socially conditioned, not able to access information on lack of diversity. Research needs to be more available for them.  Activists and consumer rights groups need more of a voice to harness the power of the collective.

 

Who is not communicating their position effectively?

Activist, parent groups such as Play Unlimited haven’t been able to reach a large audience of concerned parents and children (consumers) harnessing their power to make a difference.

 

Who is not represented?

Kids (individual experiences) and researchers

Activist groups very underrepresented

 

Choose a stakeholder whose position needs better communication.

Play Unlimited.

 

Find research between children interacting with physical toys and digital ‘toys’

Research our target public and demographic’s attitudes towards gender neutrality

 

  1. Justify the similarities between physical and digital toys
  2. Finish answering questions for PR
  3. Develop the PR idea further – press releases sent to parents magazines, blogs and sharing online, facebook

 

Context: starts so early, before you even get to an app. Let toys be toys award, Australia

 

Decision: we have chosen the PR topic (Play Unlimited) but we need to do more research around THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHYSICAL TOYS AND DIGITAL MEDIA, as well as defining WHAT POINT GENDER DIFFERENCES ARE FORCED UPON CHILDREN.

RESEARCH:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/magazine/how-disney-turned-frozen-into-a-cash-cow.html?_r=1

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141117-the-pink-vs-blue-gender-myth

http://www.playunlimited.org.au/practices/according-experts-reading/

http://www.nogenderdecember.com/ – lots of links at the bottom of the page!!!

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/Gender-Identity-and-Gender-Confusion-In-Children.aspx

https://www.spielgaben.com/why-are-physical-educational-toys-better-for-young-children/

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/traditional-toys-beat-gadgets-in-language-development-20160205-gmn4ii.html

https://theconversation.com/digital-play-is-here-to-stay-but-dont-let-go-of-real-lego-yet-28489

For Kasia and Anna (and Chiara):

Over the weekend:

  1. Do extensive research around the effect of both physical toys AND digital toys, explaining that the issue involves targeting physical toy manufacturers and retailers as well as apps like Toca Boca. **RESEARCH, SPECIFIC REFERENCES NEEDED *
  2. Explain the research that led to us choosing Play Unlimited: the fact that Let Toys Be Toys has had success in the UK, that they have limited publicity as an organisation BUT the success of their campaign No Gender December shows parents and governments ARE interested and invested in the issue. *SPECIFIC REFERENCES NEEDED**
  3. Develop a PR campaign that specifically involves Press Releases and social media engagement with parents and other activist or government groups, linking up various ‘centres’ of interest groups.

 

Teamwork reflection: Abigail

Working as a team in Professional Communications thus far has been a positive experience, and an educational one (although not always very easy).

Having had a few stressful group assignments during the first months of uni, I was a little apprehensive beginning another one for Prof Comm. I had found it difficult in the past to reconcile not only different priorities and study habits within a group, but also maturity levels and academic capabilities in a way that was fair and inclusive.

I have noticed that I generally either volunteer or emerge as a group leader, checking in on others and coordinating tasks, but I also know this is not necessarily something I’m comfortable with. In one sense it is positive, as I bring time management skills, work ethic and an element of academic perfectionism to any team I work with. But I also know that my accompanying anxiety and attempts to control the situation can be counter-productive and frustrating for other members of the team.

The team dynamic this time around was initially very difficult to assess, as only two members of the group were present on the Friday tutorial. Communication issues with Facebook and a lack of understanding between members led to a fairly unequal distribution of research tasks for the first week, but this was generally rectified after meeting as a group during the Friday tutorial and before the following Monday’s lecture. Once I sensed that the situation was under control – that everyone was committed to the task, and had their own part in it – I relaxed my role as ‘team coordinator’ and was able to focus on my own work.

In this sense, we ultimately had a far more productive second week and were able to come together for the tutorial and present something we were happy with. I felt I had an in depth understanding of the topic and was confident speaking about it; I noticed others also spoke well. The use of google slides allowed me to note and track progress along the way and eliminated the awkward and unpleasant ‘checking in’ that I have had to deal with in the past.

The problem that arose instead was a disparity in how the tasks had been completed, as we had split up the various disciplinary artifacts and stories. This could be solved in the future if there was more time between the completion of the task and the presentation to allow for constructive criticism and feedback from other members of the team.

On the whole I am fairly content with the outcome  for this part of the project as I feel we did well considering the restrictions on time limit and quite ambiguous terms of the assessment task itself. In the future I would like to improve on basic communication and ensuring everyone is on the same ‘level’ of commitment, as well as being more critical of each other and focussing on feedback.