Search It Up! – Prototype Media


WGBH seeks funding to produce Search It Up!, a new digital game for young kids and their families. Extending a prototypical video series launched at PBS KIDS July 2020, the project is being developed by WGBH, a national leader in learning games, with humanities scholars and media literacy experts at the Stanford History Education Group, Project Information Literacy, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

It is available for free, national distribution through public media channels. With dynamic gameplay and special emphasis on digital humanities content and its core skills this project will engage young audiences and their families in a contemporary video-rich game about the internet’s pitfalls and potential.

Prototype Video Examples:

Here are all nine videos that we produced in our pilot phase:

They launched at PBS KIDS July 24 2020 and are also available on YouTube.

In their first ten days they were streamed over one million times across PBS KIDS platforms. They include:

Episode: Searching It Up


Link to Searching it Up on PBS KIDS

Link to Searching It Up on Google Drive

Episode: It’s the Internet


Link to It’s the Internet on PBS KIDS

Link to It’s the Internet on Google Drive

Episode: Ask an Expert


Link to Ask an Expert on PBS KIDS

Link to Ask an Expert on Google Drive

Episode: Buy Things Now


Link to Buy Things Now on PBS KIDS

Link to Buy Things Now on Google Drive

Video: Search Example from Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius

Here is one of the 25 videos we produced for this earlier project and which have helped inform this new one, Search It Up!

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 6.04.40 AM

Link to Searching video on PBS KIDS website

Prototype Game Examples:

The following examples show how we can make linear video interactive and how we can create a playful avatar of our cast to allow us to use them as engaging puppets for programmatically served in-game audio.

Game: Linear Demo of Fake/Real Quiz (as if in Interactive Format)

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 5.50.45 AM

Link to Fake/Real demo on Google Drive

Game: Test Animation for In-Game Programmatic Video

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 5.57.45 AM

Link to Test Animation on Google Drive

Game: Quiz Game Example from Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius

Here we show how we can transform a basic quiz format into an age-appropriate and fun review opportunity as well as provide an opportunity for transferable skills. Each of our initial videos was supported in this way.


Link to Searching Quiz game on PBS KIDS website

Graphic Design

Logo, Line Art, and Typography Examples

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.28.26 AM



Prototype Extension Materials:

Depending on resources we create complementary material for families and for educators. These are available in a wide variety of formats, from in-app pages to webpages, to messages shared on social media. Here are examples from the Ruff project:

For Parents

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 6.27.23 AM

Link to Parent Materials at PBS KIDS website

For Educators

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 6.46.38 AM

Link to Educator Materials at PBS Learning Media website

As described in the Design Document, rapid prototyping helps isolate and solve UI and UX questions without committing extensive resources. Search It Up! has evolved in two main prototype iterations:

Prototype One: The first was our development and distribution of PBS KIDS’s first substantial media literacy project, Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius.

Prototype Two: Lessons learned carried into our second prototype, a series pilot for Search It Up! (below) funded by the Internet Essentials group at Comcast. Here we developed an innovative improvisational style in working in largely unscripted ways with real kids, not actors.

As described in more detail in the proposal’s Design Document, players can watch each of the project’s proposed twenty short videos and extend their experiences with a game environment. The game will be created in a portable HTML5 format, wrapped in SpringRoll, a javascript ecosystem for building educational, accessible HTML5 games which WGBH and PBS KIDS uses for all digital games. Search It Up!

           Search It Up! Wireframe:

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 6.17.42 AM