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September 7, 2016

WNET Brings PBS KIDS ScratchJr App to Kids & Educators

This summer, WNET partnered with PBS KIDS to bring coding to children and teachers in NYC with the PBS KIDS ScratchJr tablet app.

PBS KIDS ScratchJr App_closeupThis developmentally appropriate creative coding app for children ages five through eight features characters from a number of PBS KIDS media properties including; WILD KRATTS, NATURE CAT, READY JET GO!, WORDGIRL, ARTHUR, PEG+CAT, ODD SQUAD, and KART KINGDOM.

In August, the Education Department conducted a five-day summer camp with Millennium Development – a nonprofit in Brooklyn which serves school aged children – with PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Over the course of the week, 21 second-grade students were challenged to create their own stories, games and collages by snapping together colorful programming blocks to make their favorite characters move, jump, dance, and sing.

Next, WNET partnered with P.S. 21 in Staten Island to conduct a professional development training for early elementary teachers. Throughout the session, teachers were introduced to coding and shown how computational thinking is a valuable skill for children to develop. To amplify the impact, the session was live steamed to educators in the NYC Schools Tech Facebook group.

PBS KIDS ScratchJr App_testingFeedback from both projects was extremely positive. One teacher remarked, “This workshop allowed me to better understand how to use coding to implement possible characters into my lesson. I would like to use it as an opening to reading and math lessons.” Another stated, “this workshop will help me to let kids be creative in the classroom.”

WNET was selected as one of 10 stations across the country to pilot this app in our local market. Feedback from this will help in the national launch of the app and accompanying materials.

In the coming weeks, WNET will conduct more coding professional development sessions with educators and librarians.

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