ACM - Computers in Entertainment

A word from the editor

By Newton Lee
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 2, No. 1]

DOI: 10.1145/973801.973803

Welcome to the second issue of ACM Computers in Entertainment magazine! We continue the theme of Educating Children Through Entertainment with a diversity of topics on virtual reality, interactive theaters, storyrooms, playsets, and music.

To get started, the Interviews section features video interviews with our distinguished advisory board members Quincy Jones and Seymour Papert. Quincy talks about education as fun learning, the impact of music on children, how technology affects the way music is created and produced, and digital distribution of music over the Internet. Seymour speaks of learning-rich entertainment, Logo and computer programming for children, technology in schools and education, and the future of home schooling and learning environments.

In the Virtual Reality and Interactive Theaters section, Maria Roussou presents multisensory and immersive virtual reality worlds created for children, with particular attention given to the role and nature of interactivity in relation to learning, play, and narrative. Ute Ritterfeld et al. examine the short- and long-term impacts of entertainment education on children by experimenting with an interactive show in theaters intended to enhance childrens understanding of science.

In the Storyrooms and Playsets section, Jaime Montemayor et al. discuss their research on physical interactive storytelling environments for children ages 5 to 6. Children are encouraged to create their own physical storytelling interactions. Tammie Hutto Egloff details a case study of interactive CD-ROM playsets with an analysis of age and gender differences, ergonomics, metaphor understanding, and learnability. One surprising result, according to her collected data, is that 75% of males and 77.8% of females (ages 3 to 5) preferred the kitchen playset to the workshop toys.

In the Music section, Francois Pachet et al. describe the Continuator project that uses a reflective interactive system to trigger musical interest in children and create a stimulating, unsupervised music learning environment. Homei Miyashita portrays a collection of karaoke animation programs on television and the Internet to help children learn Japaneses traditional nursery rhymes.

In the Synopsis Books et al. section, Kim Rose introduces Squeak as a language, a tool, and a media-authoring environment for children. Her book Powerful Ideas in the Classroom: Using Squeak to Enhance Math and Science Learning offers a Squeak-based curriculum using Etoy computer projects and off-computer activities to amplify learning.

These and many more interesting topics make ACM Computers in Entertainment an exciting magazine! In the next issue, we will show the video interviews of our distinguished advisory board members Leonard Kleinrock, a father of the Internet who created the basic principles of packet switching, and Richard Edlund, a four-time Academy Award® winner for visual effects work on Star Wars and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Since I first approached ACM with the idea of this magazine in May 2002, I have received overwhelming support from my friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry, academia, computer and consumer electronics companies, and R&D centers around the world. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all my editorial board advisors who have helped make this magazine a reality. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate some of them who have made headline news recently:

1. Dr. Alan Kay, Senior HP Fellow and President of Viewpoints Research Institute, won the engineering professions highest honors for 2004, presented by the National Academy of Engineering. Alan shared the $500,000 Charles Stark Draper Prize for his vision, conception, and development of the worlds first practical networked personal computers. Alan was one of our featured interviewees last year in the inaugural issue of this magazine.

2. Scott Watson, Senior VP and CTO of Buena Vista Datacastings MovieBeam, won the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovations 2004 Design and Engineering Showcase Honoree Award for MovieBeam. The award honors superior design and engineering among the years most technologically advanced products in a wide range of consumer electronics categories.

3. Professor Elaine Chew at USC received the 2004 Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation and a five-year, $500,000 grant for research, teaching, and outreach activities in the development of computational music perception and cognition models for real-time interactive music systems.

4. Professor Cynthia Breazeal at the MIT Media Lab was selected a finalist for the 2003 National Design Award in Communication and a speaker at the 2004 National Academy of Engineerings Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. We will be showing a video interview with Cynthia in an upcoming issue of this magazine.

Enough said -- please enjoy the magazine and send me your comments and feedback. Thank you very much for your continuing support.


Newton Lee


Los Angeles

March 2004

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