Busy Lizzy Lambley, the Bafta award-winning Head of International Production at Discovery Education, shares her insights on new voices for the UK
Discovery Education is a global edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Each day, Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide in over 100 countries and territories.
In 2022 Hamlett Films made a suite of groundbreaking maths films for Discovery Education for Egyptian and USA audiences. Ten films were for teachers in Egypt incorporating innovative maths teaching and a further twenty seven films put maths into the real world and celebrated it in Egyptian culture for learners aged 8-12 years. This cultural creative proved so successful that Discovery decided to use the films in UK primary school classrooms. The films were re-voiced by HF with English voices for an English audience.
Lizzy, tell us what’s behind the re-voicing of 22 Discovery films, made for international audiences in both Arabic and English?
When our expert content team reviewed the films, they found that the content fits well into the UK curriculum and the characters also work for UK classrooms, so giving them voices you would hear throughout UK schools made sense.
Why do you think the character-based creative works for learners?
Characters are a great way for children to identify and engage with the content. It’s also a powerful device that enables the audience to work through problem solving alongside the characters in a very relatable way rather than just listening to voice over and seeing the text appear on screen.
Why does the HF creative of blending live action with animated characters work for an Egyptian audience?
Showing how maths can be used in real-world and scenarios that resonate with the Egyptian audience, that was a key part of the brief. It’s also a really unique treatment because content in the education market tends to be localised from an English speaking country to fit the region and this time we are doing it the other way round.
How did the first commission extend into the second, from one age group into the following?
When the initial series was commissioned, I knew there would be another series so wanted to ensure we had a format that worked for both age groups. The initial Hamlett creative teamed animated ants and children and blended them with actuality to charm and engage learners.
This concept worked well with the original films so, for the second suite the animated characters all boarded an eco bus and toured some of Egypt’s iconic cultural areas and found maths around them. Children generally go on a school outing every year, so this creative concept is really strong and also works very well with the story progression across the two age groups.
These were made for Egyptian markets, what is the need to launch these in the UK market?
One of the great benefits of using a digital service like Discovery Education is that we are constantly adding new content to support student instruction. We felt this series was a great fit for our UK product ESPRESSO.
They are Egyptian-specific films, involving social science, geography and history. Why do you feel this is the best practice for learning in primary school?
We are seeking to leverage that familiarity with digital content to connect pupils to the outside world and engage them in learning.
From a more pedagogical perspective, cross-curricular (multi-disciplinary) learning is a creative approach for primary school teachers to address complex topic areas. It provides a wider scope for students to gain and apply various abilities and knowledge towards a new or known area of learning.
How important is it to inspire teachers with these films? Why do you think UK teachers will engage with this content?
We sought to make Maths fun for students and show its application in real life. Mathematical literacy is a key life skill that students must learn. The Inspiration and passion for the subject often starts in school and if we can have some impact on bringing lessons to life then that is a job well done. I can’t wait for these films to reach students so they see just how much fun maths can be!