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News/Education: :Aug. 28, 2008
Delivering a new DVD to the Koko Teachers' Panel

KokoTeach DVDMore than 50 teachers nationwide were recently selected by the Gorilla Foundation, from hundreds of applications, to be on the first "Koko Teachers Advisory Panel" (KTAP). After months of preparation, the teachers panel received their first DVD to evaluate in the upcoming academic year.

The intent is to have the teachers help us refine these materials and create Koko-inspired curricula that can be used by teachers both in the U.S. and Africa. Locally, we've found that this content can motivate and activate students to become involved in conservation careers, and to improve their academic skills in a directed, mission-based manner. And we're confident that the Koko Teachers Panel can help us extend and increase the impact globally.

KokoTeach DVD 1: "Meet Koko, Ambassador for Endangered Species" contains 4 multimedia Powerpoint presentations that can be used interactively in a variety of settings. It includes unique and exciting multimedia content about great apes, interspecies communication, Project Koko and gorilla conservation.

In addition to the "main" presentation — a comprehensive library of over 130 multimedia slides (video clips, photos and words) arranged in 18 different sections — there are also special (smaller) sample presentations for "middle school" and "pre-school." And a fourth Powerpoint presentation contains a selection of Koko's favorite signs, with multimedia definitions to make them easy to teach/learn in either a classroom or auditorium setting.

It is expected that the Koko Teachers Panel will begin applying these materials in the upcoming Fall school semester, and provide us with some structured feedback by late 2008 or early 2009. In the meantime, there will be close interaction with some of the teacher panelists, to help us introduce some of the new content via the Gorilla Foundation's upcoming new website (Koko.org 2.0).

There have already been some exciting interactions with teacher panelists, including one teacher who is planning to develop a course for teachers built around the KokoTeach DVD, where each of the students (i.e., teachers) will develop a curriculum module of their own for K-12 students, and submit the results to us. This is the kind of leverage that can spread Koko's message far and wide, while improving academic performance in the process — a double-win for great apes!

Visit KokoTeach (on Koko.org) regulary for updates on these and other Gorilla Foundation educational projects —— and share your ideas with us. Thank you!

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