PBS KIDS has announced the release of some new apps for iOS devices: Fetch! Lunch Rush and SUPER WHY Alpha Boost!
Fetch! Lunch Rush is PBS KID's first step into using augmented reality technology. In case you’re not familiar, augmented reality uses the camera on an iOS device to overlay computer-generated graphics on top of the physical, real world environment.
"Augmented reality is becoming a popular marketing tool and a compelling feature for gamers, but no one has fully explored what this could mean for educating children," said Jason Seiken, Senior Vice President, Interactive, Product Development and Innovation, PBS.
In this multi-player app, Ruff Ruffman has to collect the lunch order for his studio crew. The challenge is keeping track of how many pieces of sushi everyone wants using augmented reality "markers" (printable handouts) that prompt activity within the app. The app uses 3-D imagery to reinforce the early algebraic concepts, helping kids to make the connection between real objects and corresponding numeric symbols.
"TheFETCH! Lunch Rush App is designed as a 3-D game that helps kids visualize the math problems they are trying to solve," added Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS.
Adding to the line up of children's educational apps, PBS KIDS has released SUPER WHY Alpha Boost! a paid app for the iPhone and iPod touch, which helps kids build critical literacy skills through immersive and entertaining storybook adventures. Like the television series, the app focuses on key literacy building skills like letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and using letters to form words.
"SUPER WHY’s first two apps have been incredibly well-received so far; the award-winning original SUPER WHY App was named one of the best iPhone/iPad apps for kids by Parenting.com," said Jason Seiken.
In SUPER WHY Alpha Boost!, children can play as their choice of character – Super Why, Princess Presto, Wonder Red or Alpha Pig, and Alpha Boost! to a party high above Storybrook Village. With over 100 "party-themed" words and five kinds of parties, Alpha Boost! reinforces letter recognition and letter sounds. Players search the skies for "super letters" needed to complete the party words and travel to the celebration. By tilting the iPhone or iPod touch left and right, players catch floating letters to form the words (or for fun, they can pop balloons to fuel up and boost higher into the sky).
Both of these games serve a "trans-media" approach that ties with the goals of the PBS KIDS Lab. The theory is that kids will make more connections in their learning when surrounded by educational media both at home and in the classroom using several forms of technology from a television broadcast, to a computer, to a mobile device. "At PBS KIDS our goal is to use media to nurture kids' natural curiosity and inspire them to explore the world around them. We can’t wait to see what these new apps will mean for furthering that exploration," concluded Rotenberg.