Sesame Street’s Make Believe with MATH Online Professional Development Course


As a content intern at US Social Impact department, I had a chance to explore more on children’s media educational outreach in informal learning context (family and community) and send social messages to caregivers. I assisted project manager in content research, editing, and design “Make Believe with Math”, Sesame Workshop’s first online professional development course on Google Course Builder platform teaching pre-school math and pretend play for educators and care givers nationwide.

This course highlights the importance of math and make-believe play in children’s development, and helps teachers explore how they can integrate math moments into everyday pretend play.

  • In Unit 1, we provide a brief overview of the research highlighting the importance of math in early childhood, along with some key math language and ways to find math moments in everyday play.
  • In Unit 2, we identify math concepts that can be explored using everyday classroom materials and discuss opportunities to adapt your environment to meet math goals.
  • In Unit 3, we focus on the research and best practices around supporting pretend play, and explore the factors of pretend play that can serve as tools for math learning.
  • In Unit 4, you will practice integrating math concepts into children’s pretend play using a case study and your own learning setting.

I also conducted research around professional development regulations and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Educators to support the integration of Make Believe with Math into statewide systems in the U.S. I contacted State Offices of Early Childhood and Head Start State Directors to discuss this online professional development program and to support Sesame Street’s collaboration with these partners.

Some screenshots of the course:


Discussion board for educators worldwide.


Some activities tips


More PDF for activity ideas for educators and care givers.


Examples of children’s pretend play


Some case studies to integrate math in children’s pretend play.





Teaching Thai At-Risk Students to Design and Create Technology


In November 2013, I taught a semester-long Design and Create Technology course for Thai at-risk students at the Janusz Korczak School, an informal school located in the biggest slum in Thailand where students had unique situation concerning their health, learning disabilities, and developmental variations. Eight out of fourteen students were diagnosed as HIV+. The twelve students were classified as affected by poverty came from various backgrounds: children from low-income families, street children, children of incarcerated parents, children who survived human trafficking and children of immigrant Cambodian workers.

As a member of facilitating team applied constructionist design paradigms to teach students (who had little to no background in technology) to design and create media through PowToon and Scratch software. We observed how students interacted with design software and what they learned in the process of making their own meaningful media projects. Unlike many deficit-model interventions that took place with at-risk children, students at Janusz Korczak School were taught to emphasize design, creativity, and higher order level computer skills. The result proved that more than half of the participants, if given the opportunity, would be self-motivated learners and do very well when they were taught in a way that tailored to their interests. The study also explored the reasons why the Design and Create Technology course was unsuccessful in particular group of students.

Thanapornsangsuth, S. FabLearn 2015: Digital Fabrication in Education Conference, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA. Teaching Thai At-Risk Students to Design and Create Technology.

To read the full paper, click HERE

The paper was presented at FabLearn 2015 Conference at Stanford University on September 26, 2015. Writing in study format, the first case is a story of Fah who is a novice in technology. From Fah, we learned about the importance of working on a meaningful project. Despite her barrier in languages and computer proficiency, Fah was able to express herself through her own media creation. Along the way, she was able to pick up and make sense of the language she had never known before. The second case is about “From a Consumer to a Producer of Media,” Bank taught us about the importance of social component. From a student who was dubbed as Eeyore (because hardly interacted with others), he gained confidence and became an expert amongst other students. The last case study is about the unsuccessful cases, we learned about the importance of support and management. Six students lost their interest because we did not give them enough support since the beginning. They did not have a project topic that interested them and eventually felt that they could not relate to the course and faded.

To watch the video of my presentation, click the link below:

Tommy and the Inventor


“Tommy and the Inventor” is a part of my physical computing project to introduce K-3 kids sensors and actuators that come with the GoGo Board through fun and colorful narratives.

Seeing that GoGo Board is a “low floor” constructionist tool, I think children as young as 5-8 years old can start programming and building prototype to express themselves or create inventions for others. The challenges for young children to programming are (1) understanding how sensors and actuators work together and (2) comprehending the concept of cause and effect. Sometimes telling the children all the sensors and actuators can be too overwhelming for them to remember at once. Within this design I combine the narrative so it acts as a “hook” for children to remember the functions of each sensor and actuator better. The interactive aspect of the automatic story telling device combining with guidance for adults, children can interact with the sensors and see the changing result on the actuators.

To see how I test my project with the children

View my story and illustration


Wiki Talki

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Soo Hyang Joo, Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth, and Risa Goda

Will be presenting at SXSWedu Summit at Austin, Texas in March, 2016

Wiki Talki, a mobile application to facilitate language learning in a classroom especially for ESL learners by recording the users and share for peer feedbacks. Wiki Talki aims to alleviate the problem of Asian large class size that makes it almost impossible for teachers to assess students’ skill-based performance especially in pronunciation. We collaborated with our programmer friends in South Korea and developed an Android application that is now available on Google Play Store for free.

Our beta function of the app is very simple: a student’s recording would be automatically sent to 3 classmates for peer feedback. Thus, students are allowed a monitored personal speaking practice session. Also, continuous use of the app during speaking lessons would form a database of practice and peer feedback results.

The following is the process of how a teacher would use the web and app for a regular speaking lesson:

  1. Teacher uploads a customized speaking task to the web page.
  2. In class, students record, listen and upload their responses on the app.
  3. Students receive an automatically generated list of 3 classmates’ recordings, which they would listen to and comment on.
  4. The recordings and feedbacks are achieved in the app for the students as well as in the web for the teachers.

Through extended user research with schools in New Jersey and South Korea, we realized that the students also use our app with other purposes in mind. For example, a student used the app to send his audio of his guitar practice to his friend for feedback. My roommate who is a speech pathology student used our app to help her clients improve their pronunciation.

In the process of completing for The IE Program at Columbia Business School, we had Clifford Schorer, the Director of Entrepreneur in Residence, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, as our advisor. One of our main challenges was that Wiki Talki runs on volunteer based (non-profit) and the app is given out freely. We tried to explore test-prep and K-12 market but we still didn’t have a solid business model like other teams. Even though we did not win the challenges, we were very grateful to participate in the challenge.