WGBH’s EMMY-winning Design Squad Nation website has picked up a clean, new design. Kids as young as eight years old can find games, videos, challenges and tools to inspire and grow engineering skills.
The DESIGN SQUAD NATION website is an online community that grew out of the DESIGN SQUAD television series that aired on PBS KIDS. The goal of Design Squad is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life.
Senior Producer Melissa Carlson says, “Extensive user testing conducted this spring helped us identify some exciting ways to make the site easier to use, and more mobile accessible.” And Executive Producer Marisa Wolsky notes, “I just want to add how impressed I was with the design process of the redesign. This shouldn’t be surprising since we are, after all, engineering educators! Melissa lead the change: identifying a need, conducting great user testing, and being really strategic about what to redesign.”
The site extensively features designs from kids and offers the ability for them to add to each other’s designs as well as sticker ones they like. New HTML5 games are in production including one that will let kids design and build a flood-resistant city for its adorable but hard-working mascots, the Fidgits.
For Design Squad, an engineer isn’t a lab coated nerd. She is a creative problem solver, an innovative thinker and a team player. The project’s own redesign paves the way for DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL, a massive undertaking just ramping up with partners in southern Africa. The global project will put kids together from all over the world to solve common problems and build a global understanding of each others’ lives, supported by boots-on-the-ground mentoring programs to connect classrooms.
The redesign team included Melissa, Kal, Caz, Tara, Stefan, Li Wei and Sylvia.
Full team listing here.
Launching this week in both English and Spanish is our latest HTML5 game for PEEP. Supporting our curriculum about thee way things move, this game uses combination of ramps, springs, and bouncy tires to let kids design a system that delivers a berry from Chirp to a very hungry Quack.
With a never ending supply of berries, children are able to modify and test different systems as many times as they want, even if they have already successfully completed the level. As players become more familiar with how objects move and interact with one another in the game, they may discover multiple ways to maneuver a berry to Quack.
The PEEP digital team has been led by Laura and includes many more.
Bill is now blogging at the Smarter Schools Project about WGBH’s media literacy work.
For details visit Cynposis.
“Digital Shenanigans”: A Day with WGBH Boston’s Digital Kids Teams
The app has been out for just over a week and we’re up to a perky 53,000 downloads of our Creaturizer app.
Go on a nature adventure with Plum’s Creaturizer! Kids and families can build wild creatures, then head outdoors to photograph them right in their own backyard. It’s part of PLUM LANDING, a PBS KIDS project that helps kids develop a love for this amazing, beautiful, and dramatic planet we call home.
Get if for free at iTunes!
Get if for free at Google Play!
The app provides opportunities for kids and their families to interact with nature in a thoughtful way and have fun exploring together.
- Build a billion (really!) unique creatures using over a hundred body parts based on real animals.
- Customize each creature’s body, head, legs, eyes, tail, wings, ears, horns, and skin.
- Take photos of your creature outdoors, “photobombing” them into the scene.
- Complete missions for each creature in which you consider its needs (habitat, diet, and adaptations).
- Answer questions to get you thinking about how your creatures might live – how they hunt, eat, look for water, make homes, defend themselves, or raise their young.
- Watch a slideshow featuring a day in the life of your creature.
- Visit the gallery, displaying all your creatures, and add to, review, or edit your photos. Photos are saved to the in-app Gallery and your device’s camera roll.
Major funding for PLUM LANDING is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Kendeda Fund. Additional funding is provided by the Northern Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
All grown-up and hipster-fied. C/o Buzzfeed.
Ahoy! Fun and games hit the high seas when teams from WGBH descended on Imajine That in Lawrence MA to demo all the great work done by WGBH and our colleagues in the PBS system as part of Ready to Learn. Kids, families and local politicians played with web games and apps from Curious George, Peg+Cat, Dinosaur Train and more…