Monday, June 19, 2006

ExplorAnauts - Travel Buddies

My major project for this year has been the commission for the State Library of Queensland in partnership with the Learning Place, Education Queensland's e-learning environment.

I developed The ExplorAnauts for their Travel Buddies program. The ExplorAnauts are: Muncha, the red one; Cka (pronounced Seeker) the blue one, and VeUR (pronounced Viewer) the yellow one.

Here's some info about them...

Muncha: believes that Libraries are exciting places to discover new things and ideas. He is eager to discover new ways of learning and finding information and creating.

His eyes are popping out of his head with curiosity. His arms are stretching out to reach what is of interest to him. He speeds ahead to get what he needs and when he finds it he stores it in his “Discovery Pouch”. He gobbles up knowledge.

Muncha is bold and points to what he likes. He is loud because he's so enthusiastic. His humour and delight are infectious. He's inspirational with his big dreams. Muncha believes anything is possible.

Cka: explores its environment very carefully. Cka can taste, smell, feel, see and hear with extreme clarity and sensitivity. If he licks a brick, he can tell you what its made of and how old it is. His green eye sees not only what is present but through processing its other senses is able to “see” what the same area was like in the past as well. The feather sensors on its head can feel air pressure and hear sound. If Cka concentrates really hard it can hear the whispers of conversations still echoing in the environment from times past.

Cka collects samples of the environment it visits in its Sample Saucer and is able to go into various difficult and harsh environments by hovering and flying.

Its amusing to watch Cka flying around licking stuff and thinking.(Analysing)

VeUR: wants to know why things happen in the world. It is not always easy to tell what are the right choices to make because often we are too enmeshed in our own circumstances to see. To see and know clearly VeUR needs to understand history and understand what drives and motivates people. To do this requires sophisticated skills like considering facts and balancing opinions. Studying history requires careful record keeping and good listening skills. VeUR is always asking questions.

VeUR has long legs these help her to stand above the present and look at the long view of history and time. VeUR has satellite dish ears and eyes, these help her to listen carefully - even though events might have happened a long time ago and far away. Her small beak asks questions and is able to pick out important snippets of information and weave them together. VeUR has a monitor belly this represents all the ways she can access and record information, whether that be books, TV, the Internet or face-to-face, etc. Her arms are both the balance of the scales and the stylus for recording (think HB pencil).

VeUR's wide awake look is sure to charm with her delightfully considerate personality.

Ten of each of these toys (30 in total) will be traveling around Queensland schools and libraries helping childern learn and interact with technology. Each Travel Buddy comes with a diary and a digital camera and the kids get to keep a blog of the Travel Buddies activities. Wow, sounds right up my alley doesn't it!! (see my blog LilliandTom)

At almost 50cm tall, fully lined and reinforced, it takes me about 2 weeks to constuct just three, and that's working all the time. I haven't finished all of them yet, so you now know what I'm doing in the trenches every day here at the home studio.

The ExplorAnauts' designs, while being used for various projects by the State Library of Queensland, belong to me and are a part of my Flying Star Toys collection. I've been very happy to have been given the opportunity to work on this project as it stands at the heart of my feelings about life-long learning, the benefits of education and the imagination.


Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

delightful! and coming soon to a library near YOU!

Florence said...

I've just had news that the ExplorAnauts have already worked with over 700 childern and 39 teaches all over Queensland!!!

And they haven't even started to really promote them yet!!

I'd better get cracking.

xx and a big wink going out to you BEC.

shannon said...

I'd love to meet these great creatures. Libraries are my favourite places too. I particularly like being surrounded by books on really tall shelves.

beck wheeler said...

these little fellas are adorable, I hope they come to my library.
happy sewing!

Ms Serpent River said...

How can I have your little friends visit my daughter's school? We're in the Pullenvale area.

Oh - I've linked here from Whipup. Hurrah for whipup!

Florence said...

Hi Ms Serpent River, so glad you've found me. Yes, Whip up is amazing at connecting people :)

the link above will take you to the travel buddies page and there is info on the 2007 round. You might what to send the link to you little one's teacher so that your school doesn't miss out.

Please feel welcome to join in the conversation on craft here at Windbag and Thunder :D