Alice Wilder: Learning Anytime, Anywhere
Published in TC Today - Volume 36, No. 2
Alice Wilder is an award-winning developer of educational children’s media who talks and listens to kids and represents their voices throughout production.
Alice Wilder (ed.d., educational psychology, ’98) produced nick jr.’s blues clues, and she was cocreator of PBS Kids’ Super Why!, an interactive preschool literacy series. She also produced Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids, an animated children’s financial literacy “edutainment” show, for Cartoon Network Asia and hopes to get it distributed in the United States soon. Her latest project is Speakaboos, a home and classroom resource of online stories and activities to develop a love of reading among children ages 2-7.
On the power of “e”: “Media in all its various platforms—TV, Internet, tablets—allows kids to learn anytime, anywhere,” says Wilder, a former President of TC’s Alumni Council. “It has made educators think about the teacher as a mentor—a potential resource rather than an all-knowing sage on the stage. We will always need the human touch, but technology allows educators to reach potentially millions of kids a week. That’s crazy! That’s powerful!”
On personalizing learning: “Because different learners learn in different ways, technology has the flexibility to reach students where they are and use techniques that work for them. If you are a visual learner, video can make concepts concrete that are otherwise abstract. Information is more accessible than ever. Therefore, research skills, problem solving, creative thinking and innovation are some of the 21st-century skills that need to be nurtured and developed.”
On the TMI factor: “Going forward, the big challenge is going to be distribution. There are over 500,000 mobile apps in the Apple store, and over 70,000 of those are tagged as educational. Sixty hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. How do you get people’s attention? People can only learn from content we are all developing if somebody’s actually consuming it.”
On Speakaboos: “Speakaboos is an online library for digital books. There’s a high level of both entertainment and education, with an intentional focus on reading comprehension, as opposed to pure entertainment.”
On 120th Street: “TC was a perfect home for me. TC gave me both the theoretical knowledge and the applied knowledge and experience to bridge the gap between theory and practice.”