Some other concepts here propose webcams and Skype-connections to the plants, but those are boring and follows the slow growth progress only in painstakingly real-time. That seems to be interesting only for adults. Kids can be able to experience the whole years process in 60-90 seconds!!! (to get their attention and make them interested and from there give opportunity to study further in-depth with other educational methods)
I propose an App (or software) for smartphones (and computers) to create time-lapse and stop-motion-video-clips!
There exists already some separate software and Apps that lets you "compile" a string of still photos into a motion video, in a simple way:
Some software and some phones also allow instant upload to youtube or other existing forums. We could create a new forum devoted to only this Natural Growth-project, or collaborate with forums like KhanAcademy, or Howstuffworks.com or other similar?
Or just make automatic tagging of these time-lapse and stop-motion video clips so that they are traceable whatever forum they appear on
Combine all of these functions on the new platform that lets the users design and set up all types of individual, regional, international "challenges, competitions and other events" around the fact that they can show an entire years growth season in a short video clip.
Each user could set up a challenge for kids in other cities on how fast corn or sunflowers grew during the summer break and then measure the maximum height of them to compare online.
They can bring their videoclips to "show-and-tell" in school in autumn or make a science fair project around it.
Potential to make connection with kids in other nations and discover plants that only grow there.
On the platform you could give advice about seeds and beans, peas, cress, that suit well for sprouting and growing fast in your kitchen window. You could even have a webshop to sell some equipment and seed-kits there. See for instance "Herbie-the-hairy" in the right margin. And potential to give advice on how to do the next step to grow something outside, in the flower beds.
— This concept is combining gaming, DIY-video-clips, micro-gardening and subliminal learning on many levels, utilizing many senses like sight, smell, taste and fun! —
Makes children more interested in farming, biology, ecology, science... and maybe art videos and film.
Perhaps some children will convince their family to grow plants in their back garden just to be able to make more videoexperiments?
Perhaps this can result in some future "Richard Attenborough's" or "Jane Goodall's" or "Jacques Cousteau's" ???
Perhaps some local film festival, with only plant-videos? perhaps as a drive-in-movie with projected film on the side wall of a huge barn at a farm? or on the county fair?
Or sell the films to the local farm so they can use it in their advertising campaigns?
My sources of inspiration:
I take a lot of inspiration from Susans comment at the bottom of "FARM + KITCHEN for each community" ( /open/localfood/concepting/community-farm-kitchen-for-each-community./ ), Susan wrote something about getting kids off their iphones and Nintendos for a while...
I received a comment from Meena about a game-designer : Jane McGonical ( http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/373360/february-03-2011/jane-mcgonigal )
I have also been doing some stop-motion-animations and other low-budget experimental film techniques for years ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlPHhyUnzYI )
I have started a TV-program on a local-TV-station that shows animated short films of all kinds of techniques. and I would love to show experimental "growth-videos" from this project on my tv-program.
Some other concepts here propose webcams and Skype-connections to the plants, but those are a bit boring and follows the slow growth progress in real-time. That seems to be interesting only for adults. Kids can be able to experience the whole years process in 60-90 seconds!!! (to get their attention and make them interested and from there give opportunity to study further in-depth and advance with other methods in their future as film-makers or gardeners)
Since the target group is school children there must be methods to keep their identities hidden, so noone can abuse this network. Teach the kids safety at the same time with only letting them use an Avatar, and nickname, and only make their age and nationality visible. (this works pretty well on some forums, but Facebook have become too transparant and traceable)