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Where children learn to TEL.A.VISION

New editing software helps kids express hope through videos.

Creativity: George Johnson, TEL-A-VISION creator, helps student Kyle Flicker edit a video during a group demonstration of the editing software. It lets children ‘script’ their own goal-filled lives though words and images.

Sara Beth Glicksteen/The Christian Science Monitor

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A year and a half ago, George Johnson had a bright idea. Nothing startling there, really – Mr. Johnson, who calls himself a "serial entrepreneur," has carved a career out of innovation. But until recently, his primary focus was steering business strategy for digital networks and Web start-ups in the Twin Cities area.

"I worked with all this technology on a regular basis," Johnson remembers. "I knew how it allowed people across the world a ton of ways to express themselves. And I knew how much of that expression is meaningless or negative – how much it generates fear – and how it might be impacting kids, who are really adept at using computers."

So Johnson – a father, coach, and former teacher – made the logical leap. "What if there was a way to channel all that creativity into something hopeful?" he asks. "What if there was a way for a child to create a positive affirmation of what they want in the world?"

His answer is a website called TEL.A.VISION (www.telavision.tv), which was launched this fall using software designed by One True Media, a company based in Redwood City, Calif. In form, TEL.A.VISION is best described as a marriage between YouTube.com, the video sharing site, and online editing programs such as jumpcut.com. Using a combination of "stock content" – JPEGs arranged in categories from "global contribution" to "travel and adventure" – and personal photos, music, or voice data, users can create short video presentations.

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