WGBH's Emmy® Award-winning Design Squad Nation is introducing a revamped website to inspire the next generation of engineers. The online community is fueling kids' spirit of inventiveness, providing a destination where they can discover firsthand that engineering isn't something done by boring grownups in hidden labs: it's solving problems in creative ways...everyday, and all around you. Full press release below.
PBS KIDS' Design Squad Nation® Introduces Revamped Site
To Inspire Community of Creative Kids
-- Emmy® Award-winning Team behind Design Squad Launches Extensive Updates and New Features to Inspire Next Generation of Engineers --
(Boston, MA, Tuesday, October 2, 2012) - WGBH announced the official launch of the revamped Design Squad Nation®, an online community that provides kids with a forum to express their adventurous, do-it-yourself spirit and share their creative ideas with other like-minded kids. Hot on the heels of a renewed DIY movement, the PBS KIDS Design Squad Nation website is the latest iteration of a franchise that includes a four-season run of the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning TV shows Design Squad and Design Squad Nation. Design Squad Nation can be found at http://pbskids.org/designsquad/.
Why it's important
By nature, every young kid is a budding engineer: building contraptions with glue and Popsicle sticks or sketching an idea for an automatic pet feeder. But as kids get older, they have fewer moments in their daily lives where they can develop those critical thinking skills. Design Squad Nation fuels kids' spirit of inventiveness, providing a destination where they can discover firsthand that engineering isn't something done by boring grownups in hidden labs: it's solving problems in creative ways...everyday, and all around you.
How it works
Kids can join Design Squad Nation for free; earn points by contributing ideas, sketches, and photos of the projects they dream up; and keep track of all the things they have made in their own profile pages. As users contribute more to the site, they earn more points and move up in rank from "Newbie" to "Phenom." The goal is to frame the design process as a game, encouraging a virtuous cycle that gets kids to continue sharing their own ideas while cheering on others to do the same.
Kids ask great questions that deserve great answers! On Design Squad Nation, engineer-hosts Nate Ball and Deysi Melgar respond to questions in a series of short videos posted online. One week, Nate will add his own ideas to kids' sketches of waterpark rides. The next, Deysi will share what's so amazing about NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. As mentors and guides, Nate and Deysi show kids how engineers see things through a creative lens, inspiring kids to do the same.
Video made for the YouTube Generation
Into fashion? We've got a video about how engineering connects to it. How about cooking, sports, camping, or dancing? We've got those, too, and we're rolling out more videos all the time-from cool stunts to how-tos. We know that kids have many interests, and that their favorites shift from one thing to the next. No matter what they are into, Design Squad Nation has a video, project, or inspiring example of how engineering can further their interests.
The team behind the site
A passionate team of educators, Emmy® Award-winning producers, and website engineers at WGBH created Design Squad (the TV show) and Design Squad Nation. And that team is constantly looking for new ways to share the power of engineering and inspire kids to dream big. Their efforts are garnering wide acclaim. Design Squad Nation just earned a 2012 Emmy Award in the category of New Approaches-Daytime Children's.
"More than a website, Design Squad Nation is a growing community built around the belief that through creative problem-solving and engineering, any kid can make a difference," says executive producer Marisa Wolsky. "We currently are hard at work to make this community bigger and stronger, inspiring a new generation of engineers to dream big and change the world."
Design Squad Nation invites the next generation of great thinkers to get involved at pbskids.org/designsquadnation. Viewers also can follow Design Squad Nation on Facebook and on Twitter.