Ohana Foundation to develop multimedia classroom applications for U.S. and China

ESS Technology (Nasdaq: ESST) announced today that the Ohana Foundation has selected the Web-DVD platform produced by its Vialta subsidiary as the hardware base for the Foundation’s innovative educational programs. Vialta’s Web-DVD Internet appliance is a low-cost, feature-rich Internet appliance, which provides Internet access, DVD, and interactivity, all through a TV. The Ohana Foundation has recently launched innovative educational programs in the U.S. and China.

The Honolulu-based Ohana Foundation recently signed partnership agreements with People’s Education Press (PEP), the largest textbook publisher supporting state-of-the-art language instruction in China, and AGC/United Learning, the leading distributor of educational videos, health curriculum packages, and CD-ROMs in the U.S.

Ohana and AGC will create affordable, highly interactive classroom materials for K-12 classrooms in North America. The new materials, known as ‘The Ohana Collection,’ will be available for the first time this fall. The collection covers all grade levels and many subject areas and uses the unique combination of DVD technology with seamless access to the World Wide Web provided by the Vialta DVD product. The materials allow teachers and students to control content presentation using a standards-based, non-linear, project-oriented system.

Ohana and PEP will introduce state-of-the-art language instruction technology into China’s classrooms. The project involves creating DVD-based audio-visual English language instruction materials for grades 7-12 using PEP’s textbooks. As China moves toward full membership in the World Trade Organization, the government has placed increased emphasis on foreign language instruction for China’s 200 million students. English language instruction is now mandatory in China for all students in grades 7-12.

As much as we all enjoy state-of-the-art entertainment on our home theater systems, it’s heartening to see the converging technologies used for such enlightening purposes. For those of us who waited breathlessly for those days in class where a film was shown…even such soporific flicks as ‘Alloys and You’…the power of multimedia as a teaching tool is undeniable. And the possibilities are endless…

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