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"I Got It!" – Collaborative Project by the IZI and the PRIX JEUNESSE Foundation in Cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Thailand
I Got It! is the first TV knowledge magazine programme for children in South Asia. Under the motto “Nine Television Broadcasters – One Vision“ the Goethe Institute developed the ten-minute TV knowledge magazine together with state and public service television stations from Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. An evaluation study was carried out as part of the conclusion and handover of the project, which, from 2015, the participating broadcasters will continue to run in cooperation with one another but without the Goethe Institute as the central organising institution. In the study by the IZI and the PRIX JEUNESSE foundation in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Thailand, the product (the programme I Got It!) was evaluated in a media analysis. In addition, the impact of the projects on the broadcasters and producers was explored in expert interviews. Furthermore, the reception of the product by the target group – children – was evaluated in reception studies with children from different countries.
Media analysis: typical narrative moments in the programme
The progamme I Got It! is a learning-oriented programme which, within its non-fiction focus, mainly deals with topics such as material science, physics and animals, but often also with the everyday issues of children, health, and specific elements of regional culture and its historical contexts.
The programme focuses on children from different social milieus. The children mostly come from urban areas, but sometimes also from very rural areas. The spotlight is on the people from the region. Mostly these are children or pre-teens who operate alone or ask questions of adults. The programmes take a well-known regional aspect as their starting point, address relevant issues and make these comprehensible for children. In so doing, they frequently track the questions and concerns of a child. Sometimes this involves short fictional storylines or a portrait of a child in a particular milieu, both of which provide impetus and scope for further content. The programme offers a variety of starting points so that children with different learning styles can access the content – a particular hallmark of quality in a learning programme.
Expert interviews: participants’ perspectives on the project
The feedback on the project as a whole and the individual project components has been consistently very positive.
What struck the producers, trainers and coordinators most about the experience was that by participating in I Got It! each individual learned something: all the participants believe that working together on the project has significantly advanced their professional development. Above all, the unique structure of the project – the combination of further education and working on a real product over a period of several years – has afforded unique opportunities for development. It was recognised that the feasibility of such an international collaboration would be both groundbreaking and enriching, and the success of I Got It! proved that it was. The series is regarded as an impressive example of how pooling very different talents can effect a decisive, positive change in the programme landscape of the region. Despite the recognised success of the project, though, the producers express doubts as to whether it will be possible, in future, to produce a sequel of the same standard without the intensive support of the Goethe Institute. There was high praise from all sides for the collaboration with the Goethe Institute, which is seen as definitive in the success of the project.
The future of I Got It! is close to the hearts of all those interviewed, but at the same time there are also doubts about whether the series will be able to maintain the same standard without the support of the Goethe Institute. The feedback makes clear that continuity, ambition and enthusiasm were key elements in the success of the project, and the hope is that these will also become the basis for a continuation of the project in the future.
Reception studies: “I Got It!“ from the children’s perspective
The first reception study focused on learning shows that children get something out of the programme. They get more out of some episodes than others, but the tendency is clear: knowledge programmes are enriching for children, particularly when they convey new knowledge and visualise what is otherwise not visible, thereby defining and differentiating the children’s familiar reality more precisely. The combination of different ways of accessing the content and the dramaturgically skilful way of involving the viewers significantly promotes the acquisition of knowledge. Particularly conducive to learning are moments in which questions concerning the daily lives of children are addressed and explored, comprehended and actively dealt with using children as protagonists. Projects such as these are especially valuable in regions of the world where children have little access to representations of themselves on television, and where their regional realities are rarely ever shown on television.
This is also shown by the second reception study on the documentary episode Jumper Boys, which focuses on showing the conditions under which two boys live in the Philippines. The documentary is not only popular with children; it also has social value as a learning tool. Children are presented as active and competent protagonists. This is appreciated by the children viewing the documentary. As figures of identification, the two protagonists offer viewers easy access to serious subject matter that is rarely addressed on children’s television. Emotionally involving viewers and tying in with existential questions gives children a way to enter into debate with moral values. The programme is a successful example of how believing in children’s capacity to learn also means creating effective learning environments.
Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya; Schneid, Kirsten; Grosser, Martina (2015) Project Evaluation I Got It! Goethe Institute Thailand: 2015