Press Release

                                 

PBS KIDS SETS NEW BAR IN EDUCATIONAL GAMING SPACE WITH LAUNCH OF OVER 40 NEW SKILLS-BASED GAMES

Leading-Edge Game Technologies Help Kids Build Math Skills Across Platforms

ARLINGTON, VA, October 13, 2011 – PBS KIDS today launched over 40 new cross-platform games designed to help children ages 2-8 build critical math skills. They include PBS KIDS’ largest offering of interactive math content for preschoolers to date. The games comprise several suites, each of which is centered around a PBS KIDS media property – from CURIOUS GEORGE to THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!.  Available for free on the new PBS KIDS Lab website (PBSKIDS.org/lab), each suite links a set of games across platforms – accessible through computers, mobile devices and interactive whiteboards – so that kids engage with the same characters as they move from device to device. The content is also linked by a curricular framework, leveraging games on a variety of platforms to support key math skills.

The goal of these new gaming experiences is to help kids build the skills they need for school success, which are lacking among America’s children.  National assessments show that over 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels of math and reading by grade four1. However, research promisingly indicates that educational media, coupled with technologies already embraced by today’s children, is effective in engaging and teaching struggling students2.

“As the nation’s children continue to fall behind, we need to embrace new technology to help them learn,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “Our goal is to leverage the power of media to make anytime a learning time for kids. We’ve tapped the best children’s media producers and technology developers in the country to create this collection of math games that demonstrates the very best of what media can do.”

PBS partnered with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on this project, which is powered by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“For more than 40 years, public media has provided high-quality programming and content that is proven to help students succeed in school and in life,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of CPB.  “Through a long-standing commitment from the U.S. Department of Education, we continue to support PBS and public television stations throughout the country in developing innovative materials that entertain, engage and educate children in the classroom and beyond.”

To guide this new content, PBS developed a math framework, which maps out key building-block skills such as numbers and operations, shape attributes, and data collection and analysis, and ensured that all of the games featured on the PBS KIDS Lab align with the framework. The games – all of which have been tested in classrooms – put a variety of  new technologies to the test; webcams and microphones make use of body movement and sound to further engage children in learning. 

Four suites launched today from popular PBS KIDS series THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!, CURIOUS GEORGE, SID THE SCIENCE KID and FIZZY’S LUNCH LAB. The PBS KIDS Lab will continue to add new content – including literacy-based games from beloved PBS KIDS series SUPER WHY, as well as additional math-related content from series such as DINOSAUR TRAIN and FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN.  The content will be expanded to more platforms as well.

Examples from the new suites of games include:

  • CURIOUS GEORGE Monkey Jump (Flash, online with webcam): A kinesthetic learning game in which kids jump along with George to fill a toy store bin with bouncy balls (requires webcam) and count along as each ball is added. There is also an equally fun mouse-driven version of the game for kids who don't have webcams.
  • THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! Hermit Shell Game (HTML5, mobile-friendly): In this game about size and shape correspondence, players help the Cat, Nick, and Sally fit hermit crabs into shells that are just the right size and pattern. Playable on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
  • SID THE SCIENCE KID Super Fab Lab Science Fair, May's Sorting Box (Flash, online and interactive whiteboard): Players help May sort her rock collection by color and texture in this flash online game that can also be played on the interactive whiteboard.
  • FIZZY’S LUNCH LAB Carnival Count-off (Flash, interactive whiteboard): Kids face off against Fast Food Freddy in the Greasy World game booth where they practice estimation skills and counting by 5's and 10's in a set of carnival-themed challenges.

The new PBS KIDS Lab also offers a myriad of resources for parents and teachers.  PBSKIDS.org/lab aggregates games by age and skill area so that adults can search for the games that will be the best fit for their kids. Parents and teachers can also search the game library by familiar and trusted PBS KIDS series. Additionally, the site helps parents and teachers learn how the games support learning by providing details on the games’ curriculum-based content.

This new collection of games furthers PBS KIDS’ efforts to innovate across platforms to both educate and entertain America’s children.  PBS KIDS is increasingly serving children wherever they live, learn, and play – online, on mobile devices, on TV, and in the classroom.

About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for children, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs.  For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About CPB
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.  It helps support the operation of more than 1,300 locally-owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement.  It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness. 

The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
 
The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A100025, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

1National Assessment of Education Progress Report, 2009
2Neuman, S., Bus, A.G., eds. 2008. "Multimedia and Literacy Development: Improving Achievement for Young Learners"; Use the Science of What Works to Change the Odds for Children at Risk. Phi Delta Kappa International, v90 n8 pp. 582-587.

Contacts:
Caitlin Melnick, 360 Public Relations; 617.585.5775; cmelnick@360publicrelations.com
Carolyn Evert, 360 Public Relations, 617.585.5790; cevert@360publicrelations.com

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