Arthur Love!

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ARTHUR gets a new facelift as he ages out of his teenage years (we’re into seasons 19-20 and counting). This bright and responsive design highlights new HTML games and features including our awesome interactive tool for gathering family histories, a new video player, and a clean new look.

Terrific work from Gentry, Jeff, Jolin and Tara ably supported by Carol, Deb and Vanessa.

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WGBH Kids Digital: Triple Threat

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The kids team picked up three Kidscreen Awards at the 2016 annual event in Miami.

Congratulations go to the digital team responsible for these fine works:

and to Exec Producer Marisa Wolsky who oversees these important science projects.

Congrats also go to our pals at PBS KIDS for yet another channel-of-the-year win and to Chris Bishop and his team at PBS KIDS for best design.

 

Behavioral Change & Traffic Safety

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Hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Bill presented Ruff’s distracted driving project at an event looking at innovation in road safety. The project’s 3 million+ video views and unusual approach seemed to resonate with many of the attendees – national, state and local folks in law enforcement, transport and public health.

Bill then also joined a lively panel with researchers, psychologists, a judge, doctors and public health specialists to dig into the challenges of reducing road deaths (currently 32,000 per year in the US, and rising).

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This comes on a day that NHTSA has also made steps towards driverless cars.

 

Programmed to Love

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One of our awesome designers, Stefan, spent the last week sculpting this big-hearted robot out of snow. This frosty event took place in the annual U.S National Snow Sculpture Competition in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. Himself and two other teammates turned a 9 1/2 foot cylinder (see below) into a 12 foot robot titled “Programmed to Love”

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4-Star Review for Plum’s Creaturizer App

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We just found another great Common Sense Media review for a Plum Landing app, this time for our Creaturizer app. We also join their list of inspirational outdoor apps.

This free app has seen over 100,000 downloads and is part of our larger Plum Landing project at PBS KIDS.

This year Plum and her friends will be kicking into high gear with animation and digital shenanigans aimed at getting families in urban settings to find and enjoy nature, even in the bustling-est of towns and cities. Meanwhile, here are some highlights from that review:

Leave it to PBS Kids to create a fun way to spark kids’ imaginations, encourage creative and critical thinking, and get them outside. Other apps let kids get creative putting together whimsical creatures, monsters, or robots, but this one extends that creative fun, letting kids create a narrative around their creature.

They’ll think critically about where their creature would sleep, raise babies, keep warm, and more — as prompted by the missions — and then they can get out and about, observing the world around them. The commands are easy for kids to complete, and each mission can be completed pretty quickly.

Without any explicit instruction or vocabulary, kids learn about animals and their habitats. They’ll think about the creature they’ve made and decide where it lives, what it eats, and what it does, even tying physical traits (what does it do with its saw teeth?) into the missions.

Other Plum Landing reviews at Common Sense Media can be found in their pages about the main Plum Landing project and our Photo Hunt app.

 

Ruff Goes to Hartford

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Ruff’s new Distracted Driving program got its official launch in Hartford with a museum event that included kids, federal and state safety officials, WGBHers, and kids playing games and taking a safe driving pledge. And Ruff was there too.

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“We understand that the proliferation of mobile devices means that this will be a difficult habit for people to break, which is why we are advocating for our best, and most vocal allies — our children — to speak up,” says Connecticut DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker.

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“Connecticut has been a national leader in the field of distracted driving prevention. This partnership with WGBH represents our state’s continued commitment to finding innovative ways to connect with the public and educate them that this behavior presents a real danger to them and their families. The integration of the popular character Ruff Ruffman represents another way to change behavior by encouraging non-driving age children to tell their parents not to text and drive. This is a terrific complement to our existing distracted driving programming.”

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