November 25, 2007

 Vienna, Seoul, and Kyoto Connected and Played!

kyoto2007112401.jpg Yesterday was a big day. With hours of preparations, all facilitators and tech staffs worked to make this day happen. And it did! Two hours of playing games without using English, children in three cities were connected. Teams were formed in three colors, and consisted with children from each countries. They practiced greetings in other two languages and also learned how to introduce themselves. It was the first time for many Asian children to learn how to say in German, and for Vienna children, first time to maybe hear and say in Japanese and Korean. Each time when friends from other coutries recall their names, big Wow came. Excitements were all over, and at the end, they all said See you again in all three languages and waved their hands to Webcam. Simples games we made, but these were very enjoyable. Waving Giant Picton cards, they cheered and waved.

kyoto2007112402.jpg This acitivity was possible with help of Langrid Project. This machine translation helped our meeting with Vienna. Without it, we couldn't do it. Also Toshi's new system was wonderful. Sophia in Seoul was great, and Mika challenged to greet in Japanese and Korean. Pangaean from Italy and England joined and helped Vienna staffs. It was a moment that everyone was connected and saw where Pangaea is going and What it is aiming. Thank you everyone!! This was a great step!

Posted by: yumi | 1. Activity Report | Permalink

November 23, 2007

 Time for a Big Webcam!

Tomorrow is the day for Vienna, Seoul, and Kyoto children to play together at Webcam Activity. It is the first time that three locations get together. Doing three is not so simple in terms of preparations. Staffs and volunteers in three countries had been working for this in last 3 months. For R&D Center, preparations started 9 month ago. We used Langrid tools for our meeting and correponding. Actually in last two weeks, we have been experiencing some difficulties due to Net situations. But at last, three Facilitator Leaders were able to get together on Webcam, and went over the agenda. I don't know still how well things will go, but we did everything we can do. Toshi is in Seoul, and there are two Pangaea volunteers from Italy and England who will join Vienna to help out. I will give you update after the event. Please send us the best wish!

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink

November 08, 2007

 Nov 2007 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello Everyone,

After my long trip with Toshi, I stayed in Japan for the entire month. I enjoyed participating in some Pangaea activities with Japanese children whom I couldn't see in the summer. On the other hand, Toshi flew into Singapore to attend a conference because he was recently chosen as one of Asian Young Leaders. I am sure he IS young. Well, I wish I could be...

We have been quite busy to prepare for an upcoming Webcam activity, simultaneously connecting three countries, Japan, South Korea, and Austria: it will be held in November. The closer it comes, the more tense I become. Because English is not a native language for children who are expected to attend Webcam, I am wondering how we can provide them with enjoyable activities in the situation where no common language exists. We have been arranging this Webcam activity to let kids have a meaningful time. Although I have been a nervous wreck, I will try to do my best until that day comes.

Before putting our project, setting our foothold in Europe, into action, we have frantically been working on Pangaea Charter to complete. This is a huge task, but through the work I learned how much people and contents mean to Pangaea. In Pangaea Charter, we try to clarify how to convey our values to newcomers from all over the world.

Oh, we held Webcam activities in Kyoto and Mie this month. We had a fun game, Otobiko: one group makes sounds by using the musical instruments, and then other group copies the given sounds. I have been impressed by kids and their acute listening skills. They played the game very well with no mistakes and catching right rhythm. As adults try this game, they barely reach halfway point. But to the contrary, most children completed this activity perfectly. How remarkable they are! I want to do the same game in Kenya. As far as I know, Kenyan kids have a great sense of rhythm. I guess they probably perform this activity uniquely. I can't wait to see!

The writer of Pangaea Ring this month is Prof. Simon Jones of Amsterdam University, former Media Lab Europe Director. He was recently appointed as a Strategic Advisor and started towork to launch Pangaea European Office.

See you next month.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Nov 2007 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Simon Jones

Why do we play games?

In airports across the world, travelers while away hours playing games with playstations, video games, playing cards and Sudoku. In even the most underprivileged countries, people run and chase, make structures from sticks, paint and draw even when life can be extraordinarily hard. In a world where life is becoming even more competitive, or where survival is difficult why do we spend so much of our time idly playing?

Play is different to sports or games. They are all important of course. But play serves a different role for humans. We play by ourselves to explore who we are and what we might be. We play in groups to share our own sense of identity and to have that identity reflected back to us in the actions and responses of others. In this sense play is a self-affirming, life-affirming activity. Its' significance compared to sports or games is that it is fundamentally cooperative not competitive. That is why play matters so much to us, the most social of all animals.

The experience of playing with those who are very different to us is not just an exercise in learning about other people. Rather it is a highly effective way of discovering things about ourselves we could otherwise not anticipate. This in my view is why Panagaea matters so much, why its longevity is assured and why it is so important to develop the concept in as many different cultures and countries as possible.

Simon Jones
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink