Website of the Week: Admongo Fights the Machine

It's part of a campaign to "ad-ucate" tweens.
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Ads are everywhere. And they work. And kids are increasingly exposed to ads and needs to develop the critical skills to better understand them and becoming smarter consumers, the Federal Trade Commission figures.

This spring, the FTC launched a video game at as part of a campaign to reach "tweens" aged 8 to 12. It lets users design a character who runs around, Super Mario Bros.-style, snagging points for learning about ads, among other things.

The game--the Government Video Website of the Week--features four levels of play: In “The Atrium,” players identify the ads around them. In the “Assemblimator,” they learn how to take apart an ad, evaluate its claims, and figure out how ads try to persuade people. In the “Planadtarium,” they find out how ads are targeted, and in “The Adgitator,” they build and target their own ads. Throughout the game, players learn to ask the three critical questions about ads, no matter where they see them: Who is responsible for the ad? What is it actually saying? What does it want me to do?

The campaign also includes a curriculum tied to national standards of learning in language arts and social studies that teachers can use to “ad-ucate” students, a library of fictional ads that can be used as teaching tools, and activities for parents and kids to do together. All these materials are free and in the public domain.

“When you think about whether the Admongo curriculum is accessible, it’s a no-brainer,” said Oscar Ramírez, a teacher at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, D.C. “It’s free, well done, and smart, and it gives teachers the tools to help students develop much-needed skills.”

The FTC has a similar online campaign aimed at older kids. In the interactive You Are Here, users get a virtual tour through the mall learning some basics of smart shopping with the help of a couple of virtual teenagers.

It's all in the spirit of the FTC's programs aimed at the adults, viewable in part on FTC's YouTube channel.

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Nat Wood There will be plenty more in the FTC's award-winning use of video at Government Video Expo. Nat Wood, assistant director for Consumer and Business Education in the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, will delivering a keynote address at Government Video Expo on Dec. 2. He helped develop Admongo, among other FTC campaigns.

The presentation is at Government Video Expo on Dec. 2 at 10:30 a.m. in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

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