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NBC News Launches iCue for Students

May 5, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC News is launching an ad-supported free online learning community aimed at students 13 and older named iCue. It combines games, peer talk and video in an environment intended to be fun and safe.
The new site, announced Monday, was created by NBC News’ educational arm, NBC Learn, based on research from the MIT Education Arcade.
ICue, which stands for Immerse, Connect, Understand and Excel, uses patented technology that includes the iCue CueCard media player, flash card, note-taking tool and trading card. The “flip card” technology allows users to watch streaming videos from NBC News and then “flip” the CueCard over for additional information.
Users can “snag” CueCards and store them in personal resource libraries – or CueCard Stacks – customize them using the “jot” feature to write thoughts and opinions, and exchange comments about content with their iCue friends.
The initial activities are politically themed, making use of NBC News’ Decision ’08 coverage and content. During the summer, history, government and politics, as well as English language and composition components, will be added. NBC News said the content is “aligned with” standards for advanced placement classes but is appropriate for a wide range of classes.
MIT is doing a study to find out how effectively iCue helps students build critical thinking and modern communication skills. “The new media literacies are social skills and cultural competencies which young people are acquiring informally through their engagement with games and other virtual playgrounds. Young people are putting their heads together, comparing notes, pooling knowledge, and tackling problems collectively that they would not be able to master individually,” Henry Jenkins said in the announcement. Mr. Jenkins is co-director of MIT Comparative Media Studies, which houses the MIT Education Arcade program.
The content includes NBC News videos as well as hundreds of images, letters, primary source materials, articles, cartoons, charts and graphs and other non-video resources. Content partners include The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History , which has what its president, James G. Basker, calls a “peerless collection of American historical documents.”
User profile information will exclude full name, city, birth date, photos, or other personal details that could be used to identify members outside the iCue environment. Each user decides with whom they will share their profile information. All communication takes place in a safe, public environment moderated by NBC News staff. Members agree to abide by forum rules that prohibit flaming, bullying, obscenities or inappropriate topics, or exchanges of personal information.
In the announcement, Adam Jones, senior VP of network development and NBC News CFO, said: “NBC is committed to ensuring a safe, appropriate environment for all members of iCue, including their audience of minors ages 13-17, while encouraging the development of a dynamic and supportive community of learners.”
“At NBC News, we have made a big commitment to working in the education space, and this project is the most substantial one yet,” NBC News President Steve Capus said in the announcement. “There is tremendous opportunity to combine our vast resources of information with an audience that is hungry for it in an environment they are comfortable consuming it. That, combined with the technology of iCue which dramatically alters how video, digital content and peer networking can be used to support student learning in a safe, engaging virtual environment, makes this an incredibly exciting project.”
(Editor: Jensen)

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