By Hamid Aghajan
Learnin' Mind Media Labs
Bay Area, California
There is no doubt that "culture" plays a crucial role in well-being, growth and prosperity of a nation. In order for us, as a nation, to move forward, to exploit the vast potentials of our resources, and overcome the wide range of problems in an ever-changing environment, two complementary activities need to be pursued proactively:
Such cultural movement can be most effective by placing the central focus on those who are going to carry the cultural identity into the future, and it is our responsibility to arm them with tools and knowledge that is required for such great leaps forward.
- Identifying, preserving, and emphasizing precious elements and characteristics of our culture,
- Evolving and modifying parts of the culture that need to be changed considering the overall interaction of cultures, ideas, and technological advancements throughout the world.
Given the recent advancement of computers and their growing role in different aspects of human life, educational software and multimedia tools will become an integral part of future educational systems and of our children's lives.
With this perspective in mind, and considering our background in software development, we have decided to start a cultural campaign with the main focus of developing Persian cultural and educational multimedia products for children.
In our view, offering an exposure of Persian culture and literature to our children is an invaluable investment for nurturing their cultural, sentimental, and emotional link with the homeland of their parents.
By learning to read Persian and getting acquainted with the Persian literature, our future generation can develop a sense of appreciation for the great Persian works throughout the centuries, and can enjoy and benefit from such works as have their ancestors.
We decided that an effective first step for getting our cultural goal across to our desired audience (children) would be to introduce the Persian language to them in a fun and enjoyable environment. It took us more than a year to develop an integrated multimedia game that immerses the child in a playful and attractive learning atmosphere.
"Shahr-e Alefba"(Alphabet City) is the name of a product we have just started to offer to children and parents. We have tested the program on many children (those who had been to Persian schools and those who hadn't), and the reaction of the kids has always been one of fascination and seemingly endless enthusiasm to continue playing the game -- and learning Persian in the meantime.
"Learnin' Mind Media Labs," or "Kargah-e Andisheh" in Persian, is the educational/cultural institution established on such beliefs and we regard our overall effort as a step forward in preserving the Persian heritage and relaying the cultural torch to our next generation. To serve that purpose, we have started to seek assistance from well-known and caring Iranian scholars in spreading the word about our goals and services.
In the past few years, lots of cultural activities have started in the Iranian communities both inside and outside Iran. The increasing number of Persian centers, magazines, newspapers, student organizations, and other cultural institutions is a positive sign of this new wave of cultural revival.
We hope that our efforts will fit in such global effort: To advance our culture, to strengthen our connections to the heritage of our homeland, to generate lots of opportunities by making us come closer to each other, to forget our differences, to help and support each other in every possible aspect, and finally to make our dreams come true.