Map Adventures – Our Latest App

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Thanks to the generous funding support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, EDC, SRI, and WGBH team up once again to explore family engagement around preschool mathematics! This time around we’ve focused on the math concepts of spatial thinking and navigation.

Introducing: Gracie & Friends Map Adventures!

In Gracie & Friends Map Adventures, two players navigate maps and visit landmarks together! Take your pictures and explore the excitement of the farm and city. Dress up with cows, put together dinosaur bones, dig in the sandbox, and dance with disco chickens. Try not to scare the goats in the Goat Challenge!

This app is full of games and activities that support parents and their preschoolers playing together. The app also contains a Family Fun Guide that shares a bunch of activity ideas for at-home and on-the-go fun and learning. You can find more information at First8Studios.org.

Many thanks to the families and preschool classrooms that partnered with us to bring to life the new spatial thinking and navigation resources and the Gracie & Friends Map Adventures app! 

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Izz Green Grows Up

The inspiration for  — and voice of — Izz Green of our environmental project Meet the Greens is just completing her real-life degree in Marine Science.

In this new interview, you can read about how the real Izz Green traveled across the world to help understand and conserve mangrove trees.

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For more mangrove fun check out Plum Landing:

Mangroovin’ game

Water Safari game

Make a Mangrove game

Mangrove videos

Mangrove activities

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Children, Adolescents, and Media – The future of research and action

Bill has written a chapter for this weighty tome.

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Other chapters include ones from our friends at PBS, CPB, EDC, SRI and Boston Children’s Hospital.

About the Book

Bringing together the leading researchers on children, adolescents, and the media, this books offers their cutting-edge, ‘big picture’ ideas for the future of research and scholarship in the field. Individual chapters focus on topics such as the role of big data in media research, digital literacy, parenting in the era of mobile media, media diversity in the digital age, the impact of media on child development, children’s digital rights, the implications of ‘intelligent’ characters and parasocial relationships, and the effectiveness of transmedia for informal education. Several chapters also explore the theoretical and methodological challenges facing children’s media researchers. Offering new directions for research, the contributors consider the implications of the changing media landscape for parents, educators, advocates, and producers. Leading scholars from North America, Europe and Asia, grounded in different theoretical and methodological traditions, join forces to discuss the impact of growing up in a media- saturated world, and to stimulate thinking about the field of children and media in unexpected ways. This book was originally published as two special issues of the Journal of Children and Media.

Moral Education!

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Our very own Gentry and Cyrisse, along with Lacey Hilliard from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, showed off our latest collaborative work for ARTHUR at the 42nd Association for Moral Education Annual Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

This presentation showed the creation, implementation, and evaluation of a supplemental elementary school curriculum designed to promote character and civic engagement through interactive media and cross-age buddy pairs.

The project has five interactive games and comics based on characters and storylines from the television series Arthur and focused on promoting empathy, honesty, forgiveness, generosity, and learning from others, validated with an evaluation in a nine-school comparative and longitudinal research study.

The content will be published very soon at PBS LearningMedia and is led at GBH by Mary Haggerty, Director of Media Engagement.

Hackathon!

The First 8 Years: A Public Media Hackathon

On November 18-19, First 8 Labs at WGBH hosted its first hackathon! Parents, preschool teachers, and health professionals spent the first part of the event brainstorming everyday challenges that they face in supporting children’s development. From getting kids to eat healthier to strengthening the relationship between parents and pediatricians, attendees had many ideas to contribute. Then, designers and developers spent the evening and next day creating digital prototypes to solve these problems. At the end of the event, early childhood experts judged the prototype and selected a winner.

For more about the process please check out the First 8 blog.

This project is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Photos by Anna Fort 

WGBH @ The White House

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The White House, in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and Invest in US, will host an event today (4/21/16) to highlight the importance of promoting active science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning for our youngest children and to celebrate a broad range of public- and private-sector leaders committed to promoting STEM learning across the country.

The White House received over 200 submissions of innovative STEM work from leaders across the country, representing state and local entities, foundations, non-profits, media organizations, technology companies, research institutions, and museums. Collectively, the commitments of these leaders have the potential to bring new active STEM content for our youngest children to millions of households across the nation.

WGBH is well-represented in these current initiatives as part of Ready to Learn and also independently, including (quoting from the White House press release):

  • New Research on the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn Program: This month, grantees from ED’s Ready to Learn program will be featured in reports that share findings and lessons learned about utilizing television and digital media to support math learning for young children. The reports include six papers by grantees and evaluators that will appear in a special section of an issue of The Journal of Children and Media, and a new report entitled “The Ready to Learn Program: 2010–2015 Policy Brief” released by the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and local PBS stations will increase the availability of STEM learning tools for young children through content and community engagement. By 2020, a series of new, engaging, and evidence-based media experiences across multiple platforms will be available for free to aid families and educators in helping children develop early STEM skills. These will include resources ranging from new episodes of STEM television programs, to parent apps and classroom-ready, curriculum-aligned STEM resources that supplement instruction in preschool through third grade classrooms. CPB and PBS will also support a network of 30 STEM-focused community collaboratives that will elevate early STEM learning across the country, enhance community-wide efforts to engage underserved children, and help formal and informal caregivers become more confident and competent in supporting their children’s STEM learning.
  • WGBH Boston will produce additional apps and hands-on activities for parents and their preschool children, targeted to early math, science and computational learning, as well as work with parents and Head Start teachers through a series of hackathons to determine how to effectively build the home-school connection around STEM learning.