Site URL: Panwapa.org
Content: Panwapa, created by the educational experts behind Sesame Street, is a multimedia, global initiative designed to inspire and empower a new generation of children to be responsible global citizens. Research-based materials come in a range of media platforms, including online, video and print.
Design: The site looks terrific, with bright colors and friendly cartoon faces dotting the landscape. The lack of a navigation bar or site map present a decided lack of instruction, however. In fact, no word-based links appear anywhere on the homepage. There are several graphical links, but users don’t know beforehand where those links lead. While the site seems to be catering to pre-readers, adults using Panwapa might benefit from a bit of written direction.
Review: The goal of the site is admirable, and in many ways it succeeds. Panwapa offers all sorts of materials and activities that can help younger students gain a better appreciation for multiculturalism and acceptance.
Of particular note are the site’s choices for foreign-language options. Kids are encouraged to hear certain parts of the site in a non-native language. They can choose among Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic. These are practical languages that if mastered, can help in everyday situations.
An area where Panwapa falls short is its audio. Several games and activities involve the on-screen character speaking in a foreign language, yet the poor audio quality makes it difficult to understand the words. A child with limited understanding would have a tough time deciphering the content.
Bottom Line: Audio and navigational limitations aside, Panwapa has enough games, lesson plans and classroom printables to make it worth a few visits.