Our Year in Review

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If you’ll allow us a quick breath for some reflection, a look back at our 2014 shows another banner year for the WGBH kids team.

We launched three major new kids’ sites including Plum Landing, a responsive, bilingual site for PEEP and the Big Wide World, and a new initiative around media literacy, Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius. Ruff launched with ten new animations about media and technology.

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This year we launched First 8 Studios at WGBH to help build the research base for understanding early learning with technology: after four years of research and development under the Next Generation Preschool Math project, the studio launched Early Math with Gracie & Friends, a first-of-its-kind mobile app series and math-focused preschool curriculum supplement.

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Besides the first five Gracie & Friends iPad apps we also launched new apps for ARTHUR and Plum Landing.

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Great press coverage helped spur interest in our work.

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Our ever-increasing push into HTML5 games production saw about 20 new games and digital features, spanning topics from global ecosystems to robots to the vocabulary of movement (as dogs hurdle, glide and tumble across a sea of floating steaks). We also have currently five HTML5 games in production for PBS KIDS’s forthcoming virtual world.

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These mobile-friendly features included creativity tools for Plum Landing which have already brought us over 200,000 digital drawings from kids.

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Our resource sites for adults grew with a brand new site with our Massachusetts partners, Resources for Early Learning and a major push into health education with a new Family Health Hub at the ARTHUR site as well as a new partnership with the Boston Medical Center to create interactive resources for children with diabetes. We further expanded the PBS KIDS Lab which we produce and run for PBS. Design Squad Nation expanded its rich array of projects for our growing collection of maker projects.

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The team’s portfolio of research projects grew also in 2014: we have a wide variety of academic partners looking at how games can improve preschool math and science instruction, fitness and nutrition, as well as tackle bullying and help kids understand qualities such as forgiveness and generosity.

And this year our producers took to social media and to museums and national conferences (such as DML, SXSWEdu and DxB) as well as to international conferences in Finland and the Czech Republic to evangelize our work.

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And if this all seems a tad bookish, we still keep appeal front and center and this year brought us another trip to the EMMY’s, more Parents Choice Awards, plaudits for several projects from Common Sense Media, and a not-so-shabby 690,000,000 page views.

Reflection over. Now we’re back to work to top this in 2015…

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