updated: 8/23/2005 7:59:06 AM

Ball State University, Garfield Partner on New Website

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Ball State University is partnering with Garfield's creative group, Paws, Inc. to launch a new website that features educational games, activities, instruction and demonstrations.

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Garfield creator Jim Davis is a graduate of Ball State University and his company is based in Muncie.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

MUNCIE, Ind.--Aug. 22, 2005--At Ball State University, Garfield is clearly the teacher's pet. Ball State, with its nationally recognized Teachers College and being the alma mater to Garfield's creator Jim Davis, has joined forces with Garfield's creative group, Paws, Inc., and dozens of world-renowned experts in education to launch a FREE web site overflowing with educational games, activities, instruction, drills and demonstrations.

www.professorgarfield.org is the brainchild of Ball State and Paws, with significant support and content contributed by Pearson Digital Learning, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Scholarship America, USA Funds, Sallie Mae, Columbia University Teacher's College, and Grammy-award winning children's composer, Red Grammer.

A visit to the site brings you to the door of Professor Garfield's Laboratory, a space-age classroom with portals to interactive educational material focused on mathematics, social studies, art instruction, science and health, and Davis' personal favorite, reading.

"Over my 27-year career of doing GARFIELD, I've heard countless stories from parents and teachers telling me that the strip kick-started a child's interest in reading," says Davis. "The comic strip is simple and fun with a logical sequence and word-picture clues. I began to feel strongly that comic strips were an overlooked, yet readily accessible learning tool. If you can tickle a child's funny bone, you can tickle and stimulate his brain."

Ball State agreed with Davis' assessment. Through its Business Fellows program, backed by a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., five students worked an entire semester developing the section's content. The students, from the university's Teachers College, developed material for the site's reading section, which uses comic strips and fun interactive challenges to promote reading and reading comprehension.

Through the site, students can hone reading skills while wrestling Dr. Stripp in the "Reading Ring," learn to draw with Jim Davis and his staff artists in the "Art-Bot," climb into the "Knowledge Box" to play math, social studies and language arts games, see how sleeping well means doing well at the National Institutes of Health's "Star Sleeper," and challenge Professor Garfield in a trivia contest in "G-Cubed."

"Garfield and Jim Davis are committed to blending humor with the power of the Internet as an education tool, and the Teachers College has dedicated its resources in content development, research and assessment to create an educational site that's like no other in the world," said JoAnn Gora, President of Ball State University.

Content on the site is based on state standards and includes teacher's lesson plans and incorporates assessment methodologies. The site also includes free printable award items for teachers to use as incentives. Over time, the site will mature into areas of writing, mathematics and other core areas, first at kindergarten through third grade levels and systematically expanding to encompass grades K-12.

Backgrounder:

About Paws, Inc.:

Cartoonist Jim Davis' company, Paws, Inc., located near Albany, Indiana, was founded in 1981 to handle the creative end of the Garfield licensing business. Today, Paws is the sole owner of all copyrights and trademarks for the Garfield property, and controls not only the creative angle of the fat cat's flourishing empire, but also the licensing, marketing, and brand management of Garfield and the Garfield characters.

In 2004, Paws helped establish the Professor Garfield Foundation, a not-for-profit entity whose mission is to reach students with entertainment and education.

About Garfield:

GARFIELD was born on the comics pages on June 19, 1978. The mastermind of cartoonist Jim Davis, GARFIELD is a humorous strip centered around the lives of a fat, lazy, cynical orange cat who loves lasagna, coffee, and his remote control; his owner, the long-suffering Jon Arbuckle; and Odie, a sweet but dumb dog. GARFIELD was introduced to the world in just 41 newspapers but quickly became the fastest growing and most widely syndicated comic strip ever. Today, the strip appears in over 2570 newspapers and is read daily by 263,000,000 people around the globe. The success of the comic strip spawned a popular animated TV show, "Garfield & Friends," which appeared on CBS-TV from 1988 to 1995, and is currently in worldwide syndication. Additionally, Twentieth Century Fox invited Garfield to star in "Garfield: The Movie", his first-ever full-length feature film, released in June 2004. Since then, Fox Home Entertainment has released the movie DVD, and titles from the Saturday morning TV show and the Garfield primetime specials

Garfield also takes center stage on his entertainment web site, www.garfield.com.

About Ball State University:

Ball State University, located in Muncie, Ind., is the third-largest public university in Indiana, with more than 18,000 students. Originally a private teacher training school when it opened in 1899, Ball State became a university in 1965. Ball State, with its 1,035-acre campus, has many nationally ranked programs and highly touted immersion-learning experiences.

Business Fellows, funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., gives Ball State Students the opportunity to turn academic knowledge into business solutions through intense, semester-long applied work experiences that will benefit an Indiana business, industry or organization.

Source: Paws Inc., Ball State University

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