We're pleased to note that a Japanese language Movable Type-based Newspaper Blog product has been selected for a Good Design Award by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization, a group that has been recognizing and awarding good design in such fields as consumer goods, industrial products, public facilities, and even ecological activities since 1957. This is the first time any blog-related product has won this award.
The Newspaper Blog product was created jointly with Matsuno Lab of Chuo University in March of this year to improve the information literacy of Japanese elementary school children. The idea behind the product is to have students research stories, write their own articles, and create a newspaper, and in the process develop an appreciation for newspapers. The design and content management capabilities of Movable Type enable the students to easily publish an online or print newspaper while learning valuable computer skills and gaining first-hand experience on how a blog enhances communication.
Matsuno Lab has worked on various projects in the past to improve students' information literacy. Matsuno and Six Apart teamed up in this case to develop the Newspaper Blog using the Movable Type Enterprise Publishing Pack. Students who worked on these newspapers reported that besides it being a fun project, they wanted to continue publishing, and felt more interest in reading newspapers.
The Newspaper Blog is not just for schools - it's available to Japanese businesses for internal communications pieces like department newsletters, and for external uses like marketing campaigns.
Here's a picture of one of several newspapers built on Movable Type. This is from Hamagawa Elementary School in Okinawa. Didn't the kids do a nice job?
(Click on image to see the whole front page.)