IBM And Turner Learning Announce CD-ROM Collaboration

Stories and More: Talking Walls CD-ROM Provides Multimedia with Internet Access

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Orl & o, Fla - 05 Mar 1998: -- IBM and Turner Learning today announced the product of their first-time collaboration -- the interactive CD-ROM Stories and More: Talking Wallsis IBM's latest addition to its multimedia series of educational programs and products. Stories and More: Talking Walls was developed and produced by IBM with a key contribution from Turner Learning, the educational division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Turner Learning provided the video clips and archival footage that bring meaning to 28 walls of the world that are the CD-ROM's focus.

The new interdisciplinary product was launched today at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), one of the largest conferences of its type with 14,000 attendees.

The CD-ROM has direct access to the Internet, making it easier for teachers and students to connect to the Web sites that support each of the walls. This enhanced learning environment makes it possible to quickly connect classroom resources to resources on the Internet. The Web sites offer carefully chosen Internet sites that link students to additional information and activities. Interactive Web projects, called Odysseys, are the focal points of each Web site, and students can complete them independently or with their classmates.

The new CD-ROM package is based on the award-winning books, Talking Walls and Talking Walls: The Story Continues, written by Margy Burns Knight and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien. The publisher is Tilbury House of Gardiner, Maine.

Like the books, the Stories and More: Talking Walls CD package is geared to students in the upper elementary and middle grades. It introduces students to different cultures by exploring the stories behind some of the world's most fascinating walls and how these structures either separate or hold communities together. IBM's CD features the wall stories from the original book and its sequel, Talking Walls: The Story Continues. Walls introduced in the stories include the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, Jerusalem's Western Wall, Diego Rivera's wall murals in Mexico, Nelson Mandela's prison walls, Aborigine wall paintings in Australia and the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington, DC.

In addition to the CD-ROM, the Stories and More: Talking Walls package includes paperback editions of Talking Walls and Talking Walls: The Story Continues and two comprehensive teachers' guides with a wide array of multidisciplinary, classroom-tested activities to complement the Talking Walls books. The integrated curriculum guides can be used to design units that span a day, week, month or an entire school year. Subjects covered include geography, social studies, history, art and architecture, letter writing, research projects, excursions and creative writing. Written by Talking Walls author Margy Burns Knight in collaboration with teacher/principal Thomas V. Chan, the teachers' guides also contains extensive bibliographies for students and teachers.

Mary Zurn, Ph.D., reading and language arts content specialist for IBM Global Education, discovered the Talking Walls books while attending a reading conference.

Dr. Zurn saw that Talking Walls would be a perfect extension of IBM's Stories and More elementary reading series. "IBM's Stories and More series combines traditional, contemporary and original children's literature with related activities to help students in kindergarten through third grade comprehend and enjoy what they read," said Dr. Zurn. "But I would often have teachers ask, 'What can you do for my older students?'"

Dr. Zurn explains that she was as taken with the wonderful illustrations of Talking Walls as she was with the book's well written text and multicultural explorations. She said, "There's a trend in schools to move toward picture books for the upper grades. Pictures have great power and impact, which help students understand and remember what they read."

Dr. John Richards, vice president and general manager of Turner Learning, had approached IBM to discuss collaboration between the two companies on future programs. Both Dr. Richards and Dr. Zurn recognized the potential of a multimedia program based on Talking Walls. Dr. Richards said that the project presented a unique opportunity to present children with valuable multicultural material. "Part of what attracted us to the project is the global nature of Talking Walls," he said. "Through the universality of Talking Walls we see both the commonalties and the differences across cultures. It's been a delight to work with the IBM team and to share their multicultural vision."

Stories and More: Talking Walls represents the first collaboration between IBM and Turner Learning. Video clips for the project were selected from Turner's large archival collection of original programming and news footage from both CNN and CNN Newsroom & WorldView, the free, commercial-free news and feature broadcast for schools.

William E. Rodrigues, general manager of IBM Education, North America, said that the Talking Walls project is a great example of what can be done for education when people and companies collaborate. "By bringing together the creative talents of the author and illustrator, the educational software expertise of our staff, and the vast video resources of Turner Learning, we have created a valuable and compelling educational resource. We hope that many children will be connected in a meaningful way to areas such as reading and social studies because of Talking Walls," he said.

The Stories and More: Talking Walls package, with CD-ROM; Talking Walls and Talking Walls: The Story Continues books; and teachers' guides, is available in individual, 10-machine and 50-machine versions. The package also contains a workshop videotape and program guide. For more information on the Stories and More: Talking Walls package, call 1-800-IBM-4YOU or visit the IBM K-12 Education Web site at

Turner Learning, Inc.

Turner Learning, Inc., the educational division of Turner Broadcasting, is dedicated to enhancing education by making selected sources of Turner Broadcasting available to schools and libraries in the U.S., Canada and abroad. In addition to its flagship program, CNN NEWSROOM & WorldView (the 30-minute, commercial-free newscast for schools), Turner Learning works with the Turner Networks (TNT, TBS, CNN, TCM, Cartoon Network and others) to provide educators with interactive distance learning events, a variety of online resources and other special services.

Educators interested in additional information on Turner Learning products and services can call 1-800-344-6219 or visit the Turner Learning Web site at

IBM Global Education Industry

The Global Education Industry is a unit of IBM, the largest information technology company. IBM Education is committed to bringing all of the company's capabilities, technologies and resources to K-12 education and higher education throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. As a comprehensive solutions provider, IBM Education offers a variety of innovative products, consulting and services for teaching and learning, networking, research and administrative applications. For more information, Internet users are encouraged to visit the IBM Education homepage at

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Stories and More: Talking Walls Fact Sheet

The Talking Walls Books

Both Talking Walls and Talking Walls: The Stories Continue present stories of 14 walls from around the world for a total of 28 vignettes. Walls and cultures introduced in the original Talking Walls are: Africa's Great Zimbabwe and the walls of Nelson Mandela's prison cell; Taos Pueblo in New Mexico and the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC; Australia's cave paintings; Canada's Museum of Civilization; China's Great Wall; France's Lascaux Caves; Germany's Berlin Wall; India's Mahabalipuram walls; Israel's Wailing Wall; Mexico's Diego Rivera murals; Peru's Cuzco walls and Saudi Arabia's Mecca.

Talking Walls: The Stories Continue describe additional walls and cultures including: Africa's Ndebele art; American mural art in Philadelphia; the Chinese immigration station at Angel Island; Pablo Neruda's fence in Chile; England's Hadrian's wall; Holland's dikes; the Peace Lines of Northern Ireland; India's Divali Festival; Japan's Dog Mural; Mexico's Bonampak; Morocco's Market of Fez; Poland's Holocaust Wall; Thailand's Wat Po and Tibet's Prayer Wheels.

Since its release, Talking Walls has received widespread critical acclaim. Its numerous distinctions and recognitions include being designated a "Pick of the Lists" book from American Bookseller, earning a "Starred Review" from the American Library Association and being selected as an ABC Building Blocks title. The book also has received the "Paperback Plum" from Booklinks (1995) and was named one of the "Top 25 Non-Fiction Children's Books" from the Boston Globe (1992). It has earned the Hungry Mind Review "Children's Books of Distinction" (1992) and was recognized by Horn Book as a "Noteworthy Book from Parallel Cultures" (1992). Last year, author Knight and illustrator O'Brien were presented with the National Education Association's Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award, a distinction presented to individuals whose books promote an understanding and appreciation of human and civil rights.

According to Tilbury House Press, the book's publisher, Talking Walls has achieved amazing success for a book from a small regional press. Some 60,000 copies are currently in print and many more will reach the market packaged with IBM's Stories and More: Talking Walls CD-ROM product. More information about the book Talking Walls, other Tilbury House Press titles or teachers' guides, can be obtained by visiting

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