Archive for March, 2009

PBS KIDS GO! Pioneers In-Video Gaming on its Educational Broadband Service

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Kids Streaming More than

One Million Video Clips Per Week on pbskidsgo.org

As a media leader exploiting new technology for educational enrichment, PBS KIDS GO! announced today the expansion of its video player capabilities to include new in-video gaming on pbskidsgo.org (www.pbskids.org/go/video).  Embedded in PBS KIDS GO! popular curriculum-based series, the new games foster greater learning comprehension and enhance the digital experience for early elementary school children. Currently, the PBS KIDS GO! video player offers hundreds of video clips and dozens of full-length episodes, and is streaming more than one million clips each week.

 

The first series adding the game overlay to online videos include ARTHUR, FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN, CYBERCHASE and WORDGIRL. THE ELECTRIC COMPANY and other series will feature this new gaming option in the coming months.

 

“PBS is committed to raising the bar when it comes to developing kids interactive experiences that are fun and educational,” said Jason Seiken, SVP of PBS Interactive. “Kids are accessing and using media in myriad ways. As pioneers of this new technology, PBS KIDS GO! is creating an even more immersive and enriching experience for children to further their learning alongside their favorite characters.”

 

“We’ve combined two of the things that kids love most – great TV shows and cool games – and are thrilled to bring such incredible interactivity to kids whenever they want it,” added Sara DeWitt, Senior Director of PBS KIDS Interactive. “As the leader in educational media, PBS KIDS GO! will continue to reach out to this audience with content that will bring learning with media to a new level.”  

With full screen, closed captioning, Spanish audio, and sharing and voting features, the PBS KIDS GO! video player showcases full episodes, sneak previews and clip highlights from PBS KIDS GO! broadcast properties primarily serving children ages 6 to 8, an audience with limited age-appropriate media choices. With fresh content added weekly, properties include ANIMALIA, ARTHUR, CYBERCHASE, DESIGN SQUAD, DRAGONFLYTV, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN, MARTHA SPEAKS, MAYA & MIGUEL, POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER, WISHBONE, WORDGIRL and ZOOM.  Additionally, kids can browse by themes, such as “robots” and “Earth Day,” and enjoy Web-exclusive content from pbskidsgo.org series including THE GREENS, KRATTS’ CREATURES and KIDS WORLD SPORTS.

Available on both Macs and PCs, the PBS KIDS GO! video player is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and is available at www.pbskids.org/go/video. The video player is also available via Web sites of participating local PBS member stations.

PBS KIDS GO! is an educational multimedia destination specifically designed for early elementary school kids which debuted online at pbskidsgo.org and as an afternoon program block on PBS member stations in October 2004. PBS KIDS worked closely with early elementary school kids and industry experts to create this destination for an audience with limited choices for media content that is both fun and educational. With engaging, smart, age-appropriate content and a fun, quirky setting, PBS KIDS GO! empowers kids to discover themselves, define the diverse world around them, explore new relationships and embrace a love of learning.  Pbskidsgo.org hosts sites from all PBS KIDS GO! series alongside unique destinations such as “EekoWorld” – an environment where kids create their own creatures and monitor them in the wild, and “It’s My Life” – a forum for kids to delve into the daily issues of school, family and friends. The PBS KIDS GO! Web site is also home to several PBS primetime companion sites, such as HISTORY DETECTIVES FOR KIDS, JAZZ, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE’S WAYBACK.

 

PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and outreach programs. With positive character role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, PBS’s online and community resources – including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org), PBS KIDS Raising Readers and literacy events across the country – leverage the full spectrum of media, technology and community to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. Empowering children for success in school and in life, only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 356 public television stations, serving more than 115 million people on-air and online each month and reaching 99% of American homes. 

Barbie: Thumbelina Now Available

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

“Barbie Presents Thumbelina” is a brand new tale with a classic character. Meet a tiny girl named Thumbelina who lives in harmony with nature in the magical world of the Twillerbees, hidden among the wildflowers. At the whim of a spoiled young girl named Makena, Thumbelina and her two friends have their patch of wildflowers uprooted and are transported to a lavish apartment in the city.  Here they learn of construction plans that threaten to destroy the land of the Twillerbees! Harnessing the magic of nature, Thumbelina sets out to prove that even the smallest person can make a big difference.The KIDS FIRST! kid jurors who watched this were delighted with the animation and twist on the classic tale. They loved the friendship between the Twillerbees and Makena. “The dog was really funny,” laughed one young juror as he danced around the room pretending to fly like the Twillerbees. Adult jurors loved the messages of respecting the environment and remembering that little things can have big effects.Kids who love this DVD will also appreciate The official Barbie Thumbelina website, which  has games, posters and activity ideas that are fun for all ages.

Young Writers Program in April

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The Young Writers Program is a fun, free writing adventure for both teacher-led student groups and young solo scribes. On the YWP site at http://ywp.scriptfrenzy.org, these brave young writers will find all the resources they need for an unforgettable month of scriptwriting and creative exploration.The Young Writers Program website is completely separate from the Script Frenzy main site. YWP participants get to set their own page-count goals for April’s festival of scripts, and have the opportunity to make friends with other young writers around the world through our safe, private online message boards.The Script Frenzy Young Writers Program is broken into two phases. In March, they impart the basics of screenwriting and playwriting through weekly online lessons and exercises. It’s like an online scriptwriting boot camp (without the screaming drill sergeants): After only four weeks, participants will have written a three-minute play, movie, or TV show, learned about conflict and story arc, and become familiar with the arcane art of script formatting.Then on April 1, the Frenzy begins. Young writers will put their imaginations to the test by writing a script of their choosing in just 30 days. They can write with a partner or tackle the challenge by themselves. Either way, they’ll be encouraged throughout the month by the Young Writers Program staff and the group of scriptwriting experts who will stop by the site to offer their insights and advice in our Cameo section.At the end of the event, all participants will get a certificate for giving it a go. And those who reach their word-count goals will receive a special winner’s certificate and web icon. Not to mention the satisfaction of having spent an exhilarating month tackling an imagination-expanding, literacy-building creative challenge.Adult leaders will have access to a private Teachers Lounge on the site, where they can swap lesson plans and writing ideas. And all schools and libraries taking part will receive a free progress chart, and “Lights, Camera, Frenzy!” buttons.If you’re a kid or teen and would like to sign up, head on over to the Young Writers Program site!If you’re a parent, librarian, or teacher looking for something to get kids excited about reading and writing this spring, you’ve found it! In 2008, over 600 classrooms took part in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program for our sister event, National Novel Writing Month. Kids and teens who had once seen writing as a detestable chore came away from the event with a newfound love of books and writing. They invite you to explore our Script Frenzy Young Writers Program site, and feel free to drop them a line with any questions!

Script Frenzy in April

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or “best” scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact.Even those who fall short of the word goal will be applauded for making a heroic attempt. Really, you have nothing to lose—except that nagging feeling that there’s a script inside you that may never get out.Who: You and everyone you know. No experience required.What: 100 pages of original scripted material in 30 days. (Screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels are all welcome.)When: April 1 – 30. Every year. Mark your calendars.Where: Online and in person (if you want!). Hang out in the forums, join your fellow participants at write-ins, and make friends by adding writing buddies online.Why: Because you have a story to tell. Because you want a creative challenge. Because you’ll be disappointed if you missed out on the adventure. Because you need to make time for you.How: Sign up. Tell everyone that you are in the Frenzy. Clear your calendar. (US participants: Get your taxes done now!) Start some wrist exercises. Have fun!The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy

    1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.
    2) You may write individually or with a partner. Writing teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.
    3) Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.
    4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.
    5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

The Dragon Land Gang Are Making New Friends!

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

DRAGON TALES:  OUR AMAZING PETS! Debuts on DVD on March 17, 2009.It includes fun and educational episodes that teach children the importance of caring for their special pet friends.  Whether an orange furball, a leaping frog, a baby rhyming bird or a fuzzy pet caterpoozle, Dragon Land is full of many unique animals – each of which has its own set of special needs to discover!  The DVD also includes a fun Dragon Tales song, “Come On, Let’s Blow,” which parents and kids can enjoy singing together DRAGON TALES:  OUR AMAZING PETS! represents the 17th SPHE release of the popular brand.  Like all other titles OUR AMAZING PETS! also contains Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s unique “Quick-Start” auto-play feature.Episodes Include:Wheezie’s HairballEmmy and Max are greeted in Dragon Land by a strange orange fur ball, Zak and Wheezie’s new pet, Slurpy.  They’re learning how to take care of him, and it isn’t easy!  Since he can’t talk, Slurpy tries to communicate by bouncing twice and spinning around.Frog PrintsWhen Quetzal takes the gang on a ride through Dragon Lagoon, Max finds a new friend.  He immediately loves “Hoppy,” a little uni-croaker frog, and decides to take him home to keep as a pet.  But Quetzal gently explains that’s not possible.Bye Bye BirdieWhen Emmy finds a baby rhyming bird left behind by its family, she wants to keep it for a pet.  She names it Cutie Pie and becomes attached to the little bird.  Her friends and Quetzal help her realize she must return the baby bird to its parents.  Emmy feels very sad knowing she’ll have to say goodbye to Cutie Pie, so her friends show her support, making the journey with her to find the bird’s family.Goodbye Little CaterpoozleEveryone loves to play with Cassie’s fuzzy pet caterpoozle, especially Cassie.  When Cassie discovers a transparent cocoon in the cage, they all believe that Poozie has died.  To help Cassie feel better, the friends share favorite memories of Poozie and offer tohelp find another pet.  None will do, until a caterpoozle a lot like Poozie crawls up Cassie’s arm, nuzzles her neck and smiles at her.Green ThumbsWhen the group finds a lost baby plant, they have to figure out how to care for her properly on their long journey to return her to her family and home.

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