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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Mon May 7th, 2007 8:44pm Post subject: The Transporters
Stephen Fry to narrate autism friendly children's show

The Transporters official site

Summary of the show from the site:
The Transporters is a world of imaginary toy vehicle characters who have emotional experiences and adventures. It aims to help children enhance their understanding of the causes of emotions and of emotional expressions.

There are eight characters in the series, all toy vehicles with their own personalities and function. They are part of a toy set in a child’s bedroom; an environment that is designed to be predictable (since children with autism love predictability) but not distracting.

The characters come to life when their owner, Jamie, goes off to school in the morning. A narrator, popular actor Stephen Fry, helps children to focus on the facial expressions, rather than watching the characters talking. In the series, human figures are shown as static plastic toys in a deliberate attempt to keep human action simple and to avoid the type of movement (animated motion) that children with autism turn away from.

The series was created especially for children with autism spectrum conditions (autism for short) who find it hard to recognise causes of emotion and facial expressions of emotion.

You can watch episode 1 on the site now, there'll be 15 episodes in total. It's all cgi'd and it is narrated by Stephen Fry who provides voices for all the characters. When the characters speak their mouths do not move, just their facial expressions change as that is what the child with autism must focus on. After watching an episode it is recommended for parents, carers and teachers to have the child take part in the episode quiz which ranges in ability levels and will quiz the child on the character's facial expressions, emotions etc. There are also downloadable education packs on the site and the research behind the show is also available on there.

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Gertrude Susanne


Member

Posted Mon May 7th, 2007 9:48pm Post subject: The Transporters
Just watched the first episode as I had no idea what the key factors in the design of educational material of this nature are. Very interesting!

You know more about autistic children, amyl-nitrate, since you have worked with them, if I remember correctly - all I can hope for is that the children will benefit from these episodes. What is your opinion, also with regard to the quiz?

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Mon May 7th, 2007 10:33pm Post subject: The Transporters
In terms of the quiz I think it's a good design. Usually a mistake of making online/computer games and then giving them to an autustic child or other children with SEN is that they can be too fussy, too much animation and gimmickery, over stimulating and make too many assumptions of the child's knowledge base and abilities. They may work with children in the mainstream but they seem to confuse children with SEN that I've worked with. It can be the same with worksheets as well (I wouldn't use worksheets with children with SEN in the first place anyway, they usually respond better to interactive activities, learning through doing). The Transporters quiz is nice and simple. It gives clear cut choices with easy clear questions. It's very easy to answer, just by clicking on the picture. It's also very basic in subject matter both in the cartoon and the quiz - happy vs sad. It doesn't overcomplicate things. The questions it asks are important. It's all focused on the characters' expressions and getting to the child to link those to emotions. It doesn't deviate with random games and questions about other things like what they're doing. It's all very focused. It's very good that they did away with mouth movements so all the attention can be on the expressions themselves. It will also gain more attention because they're vehicles Thomas the Tank Engine style rather than just people. When I say children with SEN I'm also referring to those who are older, in high school, not just primary age children as you'll find in the high school all the students are at different developmental ranges. I can see this appealing to some of the year 7s and 8s I've worked with who enjoy going on the computers.

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Fryphile


Member *

Posted Tue May 8th, 2007 3:18pm Post subject: The Transporters
Daaawwwwww, thanks! I love it when Stephen gets all childreny! But all those faces are scaring the fecal solids out of me.

I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love. - Stephen Fry

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Wed May 9th, 2007 3:03pm Post subject: The Transporters
The faces are a bit weird to look at. How their mouths aren't moving and exaggerated expressions, but then it's not for us to watch it's for those with autism so it's really suitable for them.

It' a shame they didn't do this two years ago, I could've talked about it in my dissertation or even used it in my study. It would be interesting to see some studies being made on this and to see how effective it is overall.

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Phlizz


Member

Posted Wed May 9th, 2007 4:22pm Post subject: The Transporters
Wow, what a great idea. My mum works with autistic children so this is really interesting for me. As long as the faces don't start changing too much too rapidly I think that it would be great for kids with Autism. I think it's only scary because they're real faces on something other that what we are used to seeing, but I don't think children with autism (and to a certain extent all children) think like that. They accept it just as we do Thomas the Tank.


Edit - Oh man - I have that tune stuck in my head now! *walks off, whistling*

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Wed May 9th, 2007 4:47pm Post subject: The Transporters
They'll love it. Shows like Thomas the tank Engine, Ivor the Engine and Tugs are loved by children.

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melampus


Member

Posted Fri May 11th, 2007 4:18am Post subject: The Transporters
So fascinating! Thanks for posting this -- I never would have known about it otherwise.

Also cool to see Sacha's brother(?) (or some close relation). What an amazing bunch of people.

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