PBS Kids – Transmedia and Gamification Enhanced Edutainment

PBS Kids The Electric Company is a TV show, an online destination and a community outreach experience that offers 6-9 year old children a hip portal into the world of literacy. Each episode ends  with a call-out for the website where gamification rules with 12 multilevel quests, 60 minigames, an avatar-creator, a magazine and a rewards system to encourage repeat play.

The Electric Company aims to entertain children between the ages of 6 and 9 while simultaneously teaching four crucial areas of literacy that are challenging for struggling readers:

  • Decoding: Children will increase their ability to manipulate sounds in spoken words and map those words to print.
  • Vocabulary: Children will expand the amount of words (vocabulary) that they use and understand.
  • Comprehension of Connected Text: Children will learn strategies that good readers use to understand connected text (phrases and sentences).
  • Motivation: Children will be motivated to read connected text and express themselves using text.

“Our goal for the campaign was to create a truly immersive experience and we took great pains to ensure this was an engaging experience versus a passive one.  We developed a system where the animated show leads viewers to the online game which directs kids back to the show and the print magazine supports both experiences; basically a very dynamic feedback loop of engagement for the audience,” said Doug Grimmett, Primal Screen’s chief creative officer.

According to the site, “The analytics over the first few days after the site’s launch are staggering. The average time on the site is 19 minutes, a 371% rise over the two to three minutes kids spent there before our site launched. The number of visits rose from 20,000 to 120,000. Visitors who found the site through a banner ad registered 13 minutes of engagement.”

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