Watching Sesame Street in Egypt

I had been trying to find a way to express the coolness of Sesame Street – the Workshop has released both Sesame Street episodes and Electric Company episodes (complete with Bill Cosby and sweaters!) basically from inception to current episodes. While in Egypt last year, we were able to watch a lot of both.  It was an incredible experience to watch Emmett, then not quite 3, connect with something so wholeheartedly American and be able to find also episodes of the Arabic broadcast Alam Simsim and Shara’a SimSim (the Palestinian broadcast) on YouTube.  The Sesame Street Workshop produces versions of the show that are broadcast in over 140 countries around the world.

The show was created by Joan Ganz Cooney to provide informal education to children traditionally under-served by institutional education.  Today, her work is carried forward by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at the Sesame Street Workshop.  Earlier this year, I worked with The Center on some communications strategies  and did some writing for them.  Their work is in the ability of digital media to create supplementary and occasionally groundbreaking educational opportunities  (for more on this, check out Sarah Vaala and Carly Shuler’s work for the Center  – both are/were Center Fellows who did a lot on digital media and affordances).  The overlap of Sesame Street, Digital Media and the ways it can provide informal education ops all coalesced (for me) in a post for their site on Digital Moms.

And here’s a sample of universality of Sesame Street.

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