This project will give its audience a multifaceted and detailed look inside the Confucius Institute.
CI is a program directly funded by the Chinese government that provides teachers and resources for teaching Chinese language and culture in local schools and colleges around the globe.
At a time of increased pressure on school budgets and instructional standards, supporters value the program’s encouragement and facilitation of cross-cultural education and international understanding. This is particularly the case as it involves China, a huge and important actor on the world stage, yet a society still largely inscrutable to most Western minds. However, CI’s direct links to the Chinese government have also generated everything from cautious concern to open suspicion to outright rejection of the program. Its critics are concerned that CI is a propaganda tool being given unprecedented access to young and impressionable minds, and a barely camouflaged financial enticement to academic self-censorship.
In the middle of this debate over politics, policy, academic freedom and educational opportunity are the young volunteer Chinese teachers, experiencing life outside their own country often for the first time, and their local students, the world’s next generation of decision-makers for whom an international perspective is increasingly vital.
In cooperation with world-class data-visualization design firm Column Five Media of Orange County in the United States and augmented-reality technology pioneer Layar of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Western iMedia will produce this project in a non-traditional multiplatform journalistic format conceived specifically to tell the story to greatest effect in light of its primary narrative elements.
The project will comprise a series of visually enticing, intuitively explanatory infographic banners/posters digitally overlaid with mobile-accessed video articles providing increased depth of explanation and emotional context. The augmented-reality (AR) overlay technology is accessed through a camera-linked smartphone or tablet app that will also allow interactive features promoting dynamic audience engagement.
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