Flemish Children’s Books Cross Media Boundaries

In Guest Contributors by Guest Contributor

By Jeff Maes and Annemie Speybrouck, Boek.de

Games and Learning: Teach your Children Well

Games and education meet not only in educational context but also in terms of entertainment. As gamification becomes more than a buzzword, game developers, publishers and learning platforms see the added value of games. Flemish publisher Die Keure and game developer Larian Studios developed a 3D educational video game in 2010 that combines mathematics with entertainment.

monkey tales

Research on Monkey Tales illustrates that learning math within a game results in better understanding of the content. In terms of accuracy, it was found that the group who played the game was 6% more accurate than before they played the game. The group of children who played the game gained 30% in calculation speed. In terms of user experience, both parents and children were convinced of the potential of educational games once they had experienced them. Both perceived a good balance of fun and education.

Studying the impact of games, the iMinds project G@S (Games @ School) focused on research towards an open platform for development and distribution of educational games.

As a result publisher Die Keure released the game projects Kweetet.be and webjuf.be, an online 3D game and exercise platform for primary school kids, their parents, teachers and professional tutors that encourages children to do their homework. The platform was developed mainly through the research from G@S. Kweetet.be is a unique approach in motivating and engaging students to learn through an incentive-based system, thus the publisher. Children who complete practical lessons are rewarded with points that can be used to play interactive games.

As for augmented reality, flemish Publisher Ballon media catapults us into the World of Waw with Alex the Astronaut, a classic read-aloud book, combined with augmented reality.

Comic Books: We Will Be Heros

Comic books represent about 12% of the total turnover of the book industry in Flanders. Both publishers WPG and Ballon Media, supported by iMinds, joined forces to develop an e-Comic platform that would enable them to digitize and enrich existing as well as new content in a cost-effective way. With the e-Comic project, our publishers aim to create the digital comic of the future within the context of a viable business model. All aspects – requirements of the readers, willingness to pay, market potential – are examined by a live test panel. WPG was already quite successful with last year’s Suske en Wiske app, which brings characters to life through animation and soundtracks, the expectations for the e-Comic platform are very high.

A 360-Degree Approach to Content

birthday book lieveA book, an exhibition, a website, a television series, a calendar, an enriched ebook, a website, a Facebook page, events . . . let’s call it a multidisciplinary, 360-degree content approach. That’s what Flemish publisher Lannoo had in mind when it launched the international trilingual project, Birthday. At heart of this project is a book by famous photographer Lieve Blancquaert on how the world welcomes new born babies. “The way a child is born, is a mirror of the society, and the place where our cradle stands, determines our future”, thus Lieve Blancquaert. “That fascinates me, and that is why I traveled the world to see how moms and dads welcome their children. From Israel to Siberia and from Shangai to Rio de Janeiro.” Traveling the world taking pictures, Lieve was accompanied by a TV crew, who reported on her journey throughout the world. The exhibition is currently on tour around Europe. This project illustrates publishers embracing new tools and techniques in order to create innovative storytelling experiences.

Read more about the Flemish book market’s innovative approach to cross-media content.

About the Author

Guest Contributor

Guest contributors to Publishing Perspectives have diverse backgrounds in publishing, media and technology. They live across the globe and bring unique, first-hand experience to their writing.