PBS is a well-known and well-respected broadcaster of educational programming. As the channel that has brought us Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and Barney, the station has carved itself a niche particularly in educational programming for children, always adding new programs that foster a love of education. Today, a host of television shows on the station teaches children the fundamentals of language and literacy, math, science, and health, among others, as well as promoting social and emotional growth. To further promote their educational line-up, PBS has created the PBS KIDS Video Player, an interactive means of allowing children to engage in their favorite shows on demand while learning valuable cross-curricular lessons. The video player is nominated for a South by Southwest Interactive Award in the Classic category.
In recent years, we seen an incredible surge in the ways in which technology is used to promote education. The PBS KIDS Video Player, aimed at 3-8 year olds, makes learning entertaining and enjoyable for young students. The programming provides material that nicely supplements a pre-school or kindergarten curriculum. Alternatively, parents can browse by show or educational goal in order to make sure their children are getting the most of their online education.
The full episodes and clips that appear online are available on demand and feature classics such as Arthur, Sesame Street, and Clifford, as well as newer shows. Each show has a specific educational goal in mind. Some examples include:
- Berenstain Bears teach children about family.
- Arthur promotes reading and writing.
- Curious George teaches math and science.
- Sesame Street promotes creative arts and health, as well as literacy and math.
- Martha Speaks teaches social and emotional growth.
And there are plenty more shows where those came from.
Perhaps most importantly, while students are interacting with their favorite television shows online, they’re building upon their technological skills — something that is sure to prove beneficial to them in the future.
Interface and Usability
While children at the younger end of the viewing spectrum might need some help navigating the site, its simple design makes it easy to use for older children and their parents. The navigation buttons are large and easy to read. The colors are fun — green, light blue, and yellow that make it visually pleasing but not overwhelming, so it won’t distract students. Furthermore, the site is pretty sparse, all things considered. There’s the viewing area, flanked on either side by video navigation used to choose programs and episodes. At the top are a few links for parents to click — to visit other parent resources, read about the show, share the clip, or visit the particular show’s website. Closed Captioning is also provided. The design is simple and clean and works well for its purpose.
Educating our children is crucial, and it’s never too early to start. PBS KIDS Video Player is not only a fun website for kids, but it’s also a wonderful educational resource.
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