KokoTeach: Multimedia Educational Program for Teachers

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Multimedia Educational Program for Teachers — Motivation for Students

Redwood City, CA – Sep. 28, 2009 — Want to super-charge your classroom? The Gorilla Foundation, home of Koko the lowland gorilla who can speak to us through the use of America Sign Language (ASL), today announced the release of KokoTeach, a tool to do just this. Making use of Koko’s remarkable ability to engage and motivate kids, this educational program inspires learning in students of all ages. The DVD, entitled “Meet Koko – Ambassador for Endangered Species,” contains a set of multimedia Powerpoint presentations providing a variety of wonder-filled resources for teachers and curriculum developers to utilize in the classroom.

The KokoTeach DVD includes over 100 slides rich with amazing images, short video clips and an interactive “learn to sign with Koko” section. The program is designed to aid teachers in introducing students to the fascinating world of talking with the great apes using sign language. It naturally leads to an understanding of the importance of conservation of this endangered species and a curiosity about how to help.

Dr. Penny Patterson, Co-founder, President and Research Director of The Gorilla Foundation, states, “For years we have been receiving feedback from students and teachers about how Koko has inspired them to learn. Koko has a remarkable ability to motivate kids, and we are proud to be able to broaden our outreach with this educational program that encourages both teachers and students to learn more about sign language, gorillas and conservation of this amazing species.

The Gorilla Foundation has been giving local school presentations using these materials for several years, and would now like to give the materials directly to the teachers, so that they can reach a larger population of students — worldwide. This initial KokoTeach prototype DVD is being made available to selected teachers who agree to participate in an evaluation program, and provide sample curriculum constructed with the DVD materials to the Foundations.

Teachers who would like to know more about Koko and see her in action (motivating your students) may sign up for 3 units of professional development credit, sponsored by California State University at Monterey Bay and offered through Advanced Courses for Teachers (ACT). You can register for this three-unit course by visiting the Gorilla Foundation’s Teachers webpage (www.koko.org/teachers-koko-teach) and clicking on the “KokoTeach Course Registration” link.

For general questions about the new KokoTeach educational resource program, email [email protected]. Addendum: The Gorilla Foundation has just begun to collaborate with a school district in northern California who is interested in applying the multimedia materials provided in the KokoTeach DVD to a social-media-based awareness- and fund-raising campaign to help Koko realize her 3 wishes: 1) an extended family of language-using gorillas (starting with a baby), 2) establishment of the Maui Ape Preserve (as a refuge and center of interspecies communication excellence) and 3) greater empathy of humans for great apes.

Conservation through Communication
Through its Conservation Education program, The Gorilla Foundation and it’s partners in Africa work with schools, community groups, and wildlife protection advocates in Africa to promote empathy and understanding of the great apes using educational materials such as the books Koko’s Kitten and Michael’s Dream, video resources, and Koko’s sign language posters.

The Gorilla Foundation’s current major goals include:

  • Establishing the Maui Ape Preserve
  • Helping Koko to have a baby, with her mate, Ndume, thus fostering cultural transmission of a human-taught language to a new generation of gorillas
  • Providing and modeling the best care for gorillas in captivity
  • Developing multimedia and web-based educational resources for partner institutions, schools and wildlife advocates to help apply our knowledge base to practical conservation, legal rights and captive care achievements for great apes

About The Gorilla Foundation
The Gorilla Foundation is dedicated to the preservation, protection and well being of gorillas through interspecies communication research and education ¾ Conservation through Communication. The foundation was established in 1976 and is best known for its groundbreaking work with two western lowland gorillas, Koko and Michael, who were taught to become fluent in American Sign Language. The results are published in numerous research papers, books and videos available in our bibliography.

The Gorilla Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 corporation and is underwritten by donations from individuals, grants from foundations and corporations, and educational product sales. The Foundation receives no support from government sources. Donate here.