First public demo of “Mission: Water”

“Mission: Water” – a Mixed Reality Experience for Middle School Classrooms.

Demo at SMASH 2018.

“Mission: Water” is a pair of linked Microsoft’s Mixed Reality apps offering middle school students a unique experience in the search for water in the solar system. Under development here at WGBH with teams from WGBH Children’s Media and Education and WGBH Digital Services, the project is at a prototyping stage ahead of classroom testing this fall and deployment early next year.

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Using beautiful 3D imagery this app creates an experience designed for the classroom.

The apps include a parallel experience to allow one player at a time to be the explorer (wearing the Mixed Reality head-mounted display) and other another student or students to act as “Mission Control” using desktop computers, guiding the explorer and reviewing data collected during the game.

Players work in tandem to collaborate and review data in order to discuss and decide the optimal places in the solar system to collect water in support of a fictionalized mission.

The apps will be available for free in 2019 through Microsoft’s app store. Supporting content will be available for free through PBS LearningMedia. Generous funding is provided by Microsoft.

Production Team: Dan Hart, Kennedy Bailey, Jeff Bartell, Sophie Calhoun, Elizabeth Walbridge, and Bill Shribman

PBS LearningMedia: Dr. Rachel Connolly, Jake Foster, Caitlin Steer and Pegeen Wright

External Advisor: Dr. Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director, Office of the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate 

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We’re hiring a Senior Digital Producer to make games and apps!

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Here’s where to apply.

Please note we are not looking for video producers or video editors, per se. This posting is for digital games and app production and so we’re looking for experience there.

More:

WGBH Children’s Media department is an international leader in creating compelling educational and engaging media for a wide variety of audiences. The group develops content for all major platforms and, please note, this position is focused on digital games development. The department’s work in digital reaches a huge online and mobile audience, in and out of homes and classrooms.

The work we produce is of the highest caliber and the team that makes these games and related content is proud of their reach, their demonstrated learning outcomes, and humbled by the many awards won. This vibrant digital work for kids keeps public media relevant in the 21st century and the collaborative, team-based approach to creating these products – and makes WGBH a dynamic, friendly and exciting place to work. The team also partners with learning scientists to build the research base for understanding early learning with interactive technology.

This position would be in the Children’s Media department, mostly supporting a variety of digital kids apps and game-based projects.

We are looking for a Senior Digital Producer to join our Children’s Media and Education team at WGBH. You will be producing educational games, rich-media interactive features and supporting content for two or more of our award-winning children’s properties. Our audiences are kids and adults, formal and informal educators, funders and partners, clients and distributors. We publish to desktop, mobile and many other interactive platforms. The senior producer’s task is to oversee the team, staffing, budgets, interns, grant deliverables, partners relationships and schedules and to bring these projects in on time and on budget and at an industry-leading level of quality.

Working with executive producers and staff in other departments within WGBH, you will produce and manage several projects in a senior leadership role. You will contribute to design, editorial and strategic planning processes but ultimately your job is not to design, write or code but to produce, managing editorial, design and technical staff as needed. You will be responsible for the budgeting, scheduling and management of resources needed and you will work with colleagues to assure your projects meet all appropriate deadlines.

With appropriate support from WGBH, you will be required to work in a way that is compliant with all Federal regulations relating both to budgetary compliance and to FTC and FCC rules about multimedia and children.

Senior Digital Producers may also manage user testing, write proposals, oversee vendor or freelance partners, manage junior staff and interns, report to funders, and direct photography, video or voice-over sessions. Typical duties for a digital producer will vary by project.

The Senior Digital Producer has a key role in creating and sustaining a vision for any digital product, whether it’s a web site, a web game or an app, especially in maintaining narrative and educational integrity amidst the many constraints and competing priorities of a typical project.

To see a range of the team’s recent work or learn more about the team please explore this blog and be prepared to discuss our work should you be selected for an interview.

ARTHUR’s Animal Home Builder

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ANIMAL HOME BUILDER, our latest ARTHUR game, is available now on pbskids.org and the PBS Kids Games App. Based on a DIY curriculum, ANIMAL HOME BUILDER lets players help George build cozy areas for the various cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds that his friends bring in. Players select and paint walls, cut out doors, hammer down roofs, and choose accessories to make these animals as happy as they can be. 

Creaturizer hits 500K in downloads

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Boosted by sunshine and a large number of school downloads, our award-winning app for Plum Landing, Plum’s Creaturizer just rolled over 500,000 on the downloads odometer.

This is one of three free apps for Plum Landing designed and built by our inhouse team. The common goal of each is to get kids and families outside to have fun and practice some scientific critical-thinking skills.

The Creaturizer is available for Apple and Android devices.

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.

We’re Live: All New Ruff!

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Everyone’s favorite canine returns this week to star in THE RUFF RUFFMAN SHOW, an all-new short-form animated PBS Kids multiplatform series designed to help kids ages 4-8 learn core science concepts through videos, a new website with digital games, a new photo app, and hands-on activities as part of the Ready to Learn grant program from the Department of Education.

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In each video, Ruff, along with his assistants Blossom and Chet, answers questions from real kids, takes on challenges, and learns the value of perseverance—all while modeling science inquiry skills. All 20 videos of the show are available on PBS Kids digital platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video App and pbskids.org.

The videos roll out on the PBS Kids YouTube channel has begun, and segments from the series are airing on the new PBS Kids 24/7 channel and live stream this fall.

The free app, Photo Stuff With Ruff, is available in the main app stores.

Resources for educators abound at PBS LearningMedia.

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Many were involved including Carol, Marcy, Jess, Nicole, Mia and Deb on the animation side with many more on the digital side: Bill, Melissa, Kit, Tara, Anessa, Elizabeth, Gentry, Louise, Jesse, Stefan, Sophie, Elles, Carlyn, Jolin, Kal, Colin, Kevin, Jay, Ken, Carl, Alan, Glen Berger, and Jim Conroy.

Plum’s Island Explorer: a Classroom App

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Our latest app for Plum Landing is a bit different.

Designed for classroom use and built in Unity, it features a navigable island in which players explore Land and Water (with a grade 2 curriculum.)

Journey around the island and pick up trash to unlock information about specific landforms and water bodies which includes videos and ground-level and aerial images. Students use the game and associated supports to observe, identify, and record characteristics of common landforms and water bodies as they navigate and represent the landscape from an aerial perspective on a map.

Support materials are at PBS LearningMedia where you can find a desktop version of the app that’s suitable for Chromebooks as well as a Background Essay, and Teaching Tips.

This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

App Team: Dan, Lizzy, Bill, Jeff, Sophie, Gentry, Alan, and Mariee with game design advice from Nicolas and tremendous support from Rachel, Laura and the rest of this project’s education team.

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The material contained in this product is based upon work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award No. NNX16AD71A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.