WonderBull! Children’s Festival Saturday

TAMPA, Fla. (March 3, 2009) – “Learning is WonderBull!” is the theme of the University of South Florida College of Education’s annual Children’s Festival, being held Saturday, March 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  “Exergaming,” computerized picture-taking, and a visit with a tortoise named Spike are among the many fun-filled activities available at an array of booths for children ages three to 13.  The Children’s Festival is free and open to the public.  Free parking is available in the unreserved spaces surrounding the College of Education (Lot 1).


The Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s (FCIT’s) Laptop Lounge will also be open for children to roam through.  The Lounge features several stations with activities designed for children, including “Photo Booth” software with funhouse mirror-type filters that can be used to create unusual images.  Participants will be able to e-mail the resulting pictures to themselves and others.  Children will also get to try several learning games, including those related to geography, typing and music.  One such program, “Garage Band,” allows users to sing and play different instruments with keyboard accompaniment.


The XRKade Research Lab in the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science will also be open for use.  The laboratory is a teaching and research facility established to investigate and promote the use of interactive gaming technologies.  This movement is known as Interactive Fitness or Exergaming—technology-driven screen-based games that require the participant to use his/her body to play that game.  Exergaming is increasingly being used in school systems, YMCA’s, recreational centers, and private fitness clubs to help children of all ages increase levels of daily physical activity.


A large African Sulcata Tortoise named Spike, will be on display at the festival, courtesy of Crystal Springs Preserve.  Spike, discovered walking across a dirt road in Wesley Chapel, is a type of exotic tortoise that directly competes with Florida’s native Gopher Tortoise for habitat.


Also in attendance will be VSA (formerly Very Special Arts) of Florida and Children’s Festival T-shirt design winner, Leonel Salgado from Plant City High School.


The Children’s Festival at the USF College of Education was launched 30 years ago, in 1979, held annually through 1996 and attended by thousands of Tampa Bay area children and their families, who participated in approximately 100 learning activities sponsored by College of Education classes, clubs, and organizations and students.  The festival was revived in 2006.


The USF College of Education is ranked 45th by U.S. News &  World Report of graduate schools in the country, is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. The USF College of Education is the seventh largest public college of education in the nation. For more information no the USF College of Education, visit: www.coedu.usf.edu or itunes.usf.edu.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.