A filmmaker from an early age, Jennifer Oxley has directed over fifteen short films for Sesame Street and created an award winning version of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please. Oxley has won countless awards for both directing and artistry. Her most recently released short film, The Music Box, was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection. Oxley is a sought after public speaker and is also well known as the co-creator of the Emmy Award-winning children’s show, Peg + Cat, along with Billy Aronson. Oxley holds a BFA from New York University.
EXCLUSIVE NEW LEARNING TIMES INTERVIEW
Question: How did your educational trajectory and past professional experience shape your current work?
Answer: When I was seven years old I figured out that I wanted to be an animator and I’ve been working towards this goal ever since. My current love of hand drawn and painted animation techniques stems from my experience at the NYU Film School where I studied under John Canemaker, an award winning filmmaker and animation historian. After graduating, I got a job working at The Children’s Television Workshop animating the Muppets. This is where I found my passion for Kids TV.
Question: How do you hope your work will change the learning landscape?
Answer: The shows we create for kids have very clear learning goals, but the stories are all character driven. Our thinking is that if we create characters that you really care about, and want to root for, the content can be woven in seamlessly. So learning becomes effortless, part of the joy of watching.
Question: What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
Answer: I’m not sure I know the answer to this question, but I have a 3-year-old son and I can see how new interactive technologies have the power to make a huge impact. My son is still most excited about reading old fashioned picture books and playing with wooden trains, but he is interested in some iPad and web-based games that encourage more open-ended free play.
Question: What are you currently working on and what is your next big project?
Answer: I’m currently working on Peg + Cat, a math show that I co-created with Billy Aronson for PBS Kids. This show takes up most of our time, but we’d love to create a feature length film someday and tell bigger stories for an older demographic.
Question: Who are the most interesting people you are following on Twitter?
Answer: Who I’m following on twitter is interesting, but a couple standouts are @iamkidpresident, @OliverJeffers, and @GlenKeanePrd.
Image: Courtesy Jennifer Oxley