West Palm Beach, FL
November 23, 2020
Green Mouse Academy Practices Inclusion
Hispanic students now represent the single largest ethnic group in Palm Beach County public schools 1. While this statistic may be surprising to many, Green Mouse Academy has found that many of its after school program partners work daily with students whose first language is Spanish and whose parents communicate solely in Spanish.
Equipped with this information, the team at Green Mouse Studios recently went to work to translate their latest video-guided course into Spanish – not just a ‘machine translation’ but a personalized, student-friendly version. Green Mouse Academy is now pleased to be able to offer video-guided course activities delivered by audio in English, and presented with open captioned text in Spanish.
“We purposely chose not to dub or reshoot the videos in Spanish because we wanted the students, their instructors and their parents to still have the benefit of hearing our programs in English, while being able to reference the Spanish text as needed. Native Spanish speakers will have the extra support they need while non-Spanish speakers gain exposure to a second language in textual form,” reported the course producer, Luis Gonzalez Quignon.
He continued, “With remote learning, we wanted to create a bridge for [Spanish speaking] parents to feel engaged with what their children are learning and doing and we feel this approach will help make that connection.”
Shane Vander Kooi, President and Founder of Green Mouse Academy had this to share, “Beyond the benefit of being more inclusive, I think providing subtitles is a great way to expose non-Hispanic kids to another language. My own family is very multi-cultural and we’ve gotten comfortable as a family with watching subtitled shows and movies from Korea, Taiwan, Columbia, Israel and Japan. It’s been a fantastic discovery window into world language and culture, which I think is valuable for all kids today!”
Green Mouse Academy’s first translation project was with Spanish, which meets an important need in South Florida. They intend to provide additional translation options for their national and international partners going forward.
1 According to Palm Beach Post article by staff writer, Andrew Marra, June 27, 2020
Green Mouse Academy (GMA)Green Mouse Academy (GMA), annually works with thousands of students of all ages, developing and delivering technology enrichment discovery programs through schools, camps, after-school programs and other organizational partners. To learn more about Green Mouse Academy visit. To learn more about Green Mouse Academy click here.
West Palm Beach, FL
November 13, 2020
Assistant Program Director, Lacey McClure introducing Green Mouse Academy’s latest course, Animation Discovery – Pixilation (with closed captioning) – © 2020 Green Mouse Academy
Providing hands-on, collaborative learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic posed serious challenges for our community.
“How can we create safe learning experiences for students? How will we sanitize everything before and after each class? What is the best way to engage students if we can’t join them on-site? How can we continue to make STEAM activities fun, interactive and engaging?”
Whether through an in-person, hybrid or remote learning environment, the Green Mouse Academy team grappled with all of these questions. The answers started to become apparent as the out-of-school community came together by adapting and by implementing innovative new approaches to providing out-of-school enrichment learning opportunities.
In a few short months, Green Mouse Academy succeeded to reinvent itself as a STEAM studio, by recording a series of quality activity lessons and by providing individual activity kits to be delivered to any student, anywhere at any time through the local network of afterschool sites.
With GMA’s video-guided courses, after school staff and teachers are now able to facilitate STEAM activities as easily as pressing ‘play’ and ‘pause’ on a video player while the virtual on-screen experts at Green Mouse Academy guide students through step-by-step, hands-on STEAM activities. Sessions can now be completed at a time, pace and place that fits the needs of each group.
Because students are already spending an inordinate amount of time during the school day in front of a screen, it was important to ensure that after school video-guided screen time be minimal so students could spend more time freely exploring, creating and discovering using physical materials, and leaning on the technology only at key checkpoints.
GMA Program Director, Amy Erickson elaborated, “Our video-guided approach has proven to be easy to implement and highly engaging. We know we’ve succeeded when kids are asking if they can receive extra supplies so they can continue creating at home. It’s reassuring when Site Directors and staff visibly relax and comment how easy our program is to deliver once we’ve taken them through a brief orientation and delivered their complete class kit of materials and equipment.”
“Our goal was to proactively address obvious barriers and stress points so parents, teachers and after school staff could focus solely on the kids without the burden of having to master a new course or deal with supply and technology issues,” commented Shane Vander Kooi, President of Green Mouse Academy and member of the PBC Education STEM Council.
Green Mouse Academy now appears busier than ever. On any given day there are more than 100 GMA iPads on loan across the county, all being supported and maintained by the GMA technical support team. Once a group has finished their scheduled course, a GMA Program Specialists picks up the equipment, sanitizes it at GMA’s lab, and prepares to deliver the equipment with a new set of student resource packets to the next group.
Vander Kooi concludes, “COVID-19 forced us to rethink everything we do. While we certainly anticipate getting beyond this pandemic, we are truly thankful for how the situation has helped us deliver our programs more safely, more sustainably, more inclusively, and potentially empowering us to support more sites (and eventually even more students). We continue to explore and discover what is possible.”
While leading STEAM innovative learning in Palm Beach County for over 15 years, it looks like Green Mouse Academy is only just getting started, so stay tuned for what is surely coming next!
Green Mouse Academy (GMA), based in West Palm Beach, Florida has been an ELO partner with Prime Time Palm Beach County since 2005. GMA annually works with thousands of students of all ages, developing and delivering technology enrichment discovery programs through schools, camps, after-school programs and other organizational partners. To learn more about Green Mouse Academy click here.
The mission of Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc. is to help children and youth succeed by strengthening and expanding quality in the out-of-school time field. Prime Time offers support to OST programs through coaching and assessment for continuous quality improvement, as well as program enrichment through its expanded learning providers. For the individual practitioners, Prime Time offers career advising, training, scholarships and financial incentives to increase the quality of out-of-school time programs in Palm Beach County. www.primetimepbc.org
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, a special district created by Palm Beach County voters, provides leadership, funding and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. https://www.everyparentpbc.org