UNICEF Kid Power partnered with P!nk (one of the UNICEF ambassadors), to create a commercial for American consumers. This commercial is unlike any other non-profit commercial of its kind. Meaning that usually we see a commercial that just shows horrible pictures of victims, with sad music, and a monotone voice over with minimal explanation of the cause in which we as the viewers are being asked to donate to through a specific organization. This UNICEF commercial uses an American famous pop star to share her personal story and inform viewers properly what the project entails and how it helps children in need. It uses both her voice and visual self in an upbeat manner to share all the endless possibilities the project has to offer. We see real life accounts of the children both in America and other countries that are being helped. These images and video clips show the happiness that comes with the opportunity to involve ones self in this amazing project by staying active to save lives. This commercial was done in a creative way that allows the organization to share the hardships of others in a tasteful manner.
Get Active. Save Lives.
The UNICEF Kid Power band was created in the hopes of saving the lives of many children battling malnutrition in third world countries. This power band is just like a fitbit in the sense that it tracks the steps you take and also holds a place to check the time. But the UNICEF Kid Power Band is more than just a fitbit. The band comes with a program for children in America to get active while also gain educational experiences. The Power Band comes with an Application where children set up their band in order to create an account. This account is synced with the wearable band, keeping track of steps by staying in technological communication. As children accumulate steps they receive Power Points that unlock therapeutic food packages (RUTF) to children in need. The more kids move the more RUTF packets they unlock. The account also holds missions that children can go on. Here they learn about different cultures and the global impact their steps have on others. The UNICEF Kid Power Band can be purchased for children at Target but is also used in hundreds of classrooms in the United States.
Classroom Experience for Educational Benefit
Students in America learn about the children they are helping around the world. Teachers can request to create a team with their classroom students. Once accepted, the teacher becomes the “coach” and receives a UNICEF Kid Power Classroom Kit which includes:
- Enough kid power bands for each students along with a few extras
- LTE-enabled classroom tablet equipped with a data plan for the duration of the teams participation
- A tablet-stand that creates a classroom Kid Power Kiosk, a place for all the team’s activity
- Power Strip – for extra access to extra outlets for Kid Power hardware
- USB charging bricks
- Kid Power Passport and stickers – a way for students to prepare for missions and document what they have learned as they ‘travel’ around the world
Once the kid power team is set up with each student holding their own account and Power Band the class can get started. Along with each student having his or her own account the Power Band also syncs to a classroom account. Here, the entire teams points are synced to keep track of how many Power Points the class team has in total. They can also check how many lives they have saved all together from each step they have taken. The UNICEF Kid Power classroom experience comes with lessons for teachers to instruct to students throughout the duration of their teams participation. Here teachers go to the UNICEF Kid Power website and take students through missions to learn about the children in which the food is going to, the factories that make the food, and even what Unicef is personally doing. Each mission is designed to last about a month, with 15 to 45 minute activities a week. As students go on missions led by their coach videos are shown to give them real life examples of what these other countries look like. They receive first hand experiences of how fortunate they are to live the life they have. As they ‘travel’ around the world to different locations through these videos and classroom activities, students record what they have learned in their UNICEF Kid Power Passport. This passport not only keeps track of what they have learned but also where they have ‘gone’.
The Allentown School District has some classroom teams who are involved in this mission to help fight global malnutrition. These children are learning how to be good global citizens through the use of technology and classroom lessons. When children learn the important lesson of what is means to be a global citizen during their childhood it can help them become a more empowered and active adult.
Around the world millions of children are struggling to get the nutrients they need to survive, grow, and reach their full potential. When children are malnourished they are not getting enough calories, proteins, or micronutrients in their diet. As children grow their bodies need to be properly fueled to develop into healthy and strong individuals. In countries like America where nutritious foods are readily available, children are able to get the food they need to properly fuel their growing bodies. But in third world countries where clean water is not even always available, children are at a disadvantage to keep their bodies going. They do not have the resources that are received in America to keep them properly fueled. If children are battling malnourishment before two years of age, the likely hood for permanent problems with their physical and mental development are higher. That is why UNICEF has made it their mission to help these children and make a difference. These children need the support of others to help them battle this global issue. It is not fair that these children do not have the same resources as others their age who are better geographically located.
In the United States the UNICEF Kid Power project is getting children active. One in four kids in US are physically inactive. In the last fifteen years children walking or biking to school has decreased by 50%. Where as in third world countries children are being starved and not receiving the nutrition they need to lead long healthy lives. This difference is interesting to realize and discuss. It’s extremely troubling that on one side of the world children are overeating to the point of obesity; while on the other side they struggle daily to find any source of supplements.
Youth, Technology, and Media Culture
Julian Sefton-Green has done some research on the ways in which education has been seen to benefit from different gaming experiences. When at home children tend to have access to video games, which are not usually seen as an educational benefit. But over the past few decades’ technological games have started to be implemented into the educational side of the classroom. As stated by Sefton-Green (2006), “The education/games approach follows two paths: looking at how games played outside of the school support different kinds of learning and determining how games as cultural form can be adapted within the curriculum pedagogy” (p. 290). These studies have not yet been fully proven but the idea is out there. According to Sefton-Green (2006), “Educational research on games thus inherited an idea that games “work,” and a key research interests in early study revolved around the tricky, commonsense concept of “motivation” or “engagement” (p. 290). It has been noted that games can help motivate children in the classroom but there has been little theoretical investigation on this kind of comparison. I find this concept to be extremely interesting when looking at the UNICEF Kid Power Project. This program is in a sense a game that is brought into the classroom that helps educate children but in a different way. They are not physically playing video games but getting active through the missions that are given to them on the website/mobile phone app. This is proven to show that children are motivated to learn through educational technology that is brought in the classroom, even though it is not necessarily a video game. UNICEF has created something that can be adapted into its own game. All the classroom teams are competing against others around the country to see who can earn the most power points in a given school year. Children are getting active and involved because they want to win and they see a purpose. They also are learning about the places in which they are helping through the year long “game” they are playing. UNICEF has made a positive difference in the world of education. They have found a way to bring technology into the classroom to enhance young American citizens knowledge on the world in which they live in.
Gavin, M. L. (Ed.). (2015, September). Hunger and Malnutrition. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hunger.html
Kid Power School Program | UNICEF Kid Power. (n.d.). Retrieved May 06, 2017, from http://schools.unicefkidpower.org/
Sefton-Green, Julian. “Chapter 8 Youth, Technology, and Media Cultures.” Review of research in education 30, no. 1 (2006): 279-306.