Design Squad Summer ’13

It was the summer of “imagineering,” and students at M Station were keeping busy learning about famous scientists, engineers, and other topics of human ingenuity during their 8-week summer learning program. With the guidance of KLRU and as part of the Ready to Learn Transmedia Demonstration Station project, M Station’s teen program was also able to take part in some extra special activities with the help of the Design Squad challenge series.

Design Squad is WGBH’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning reality competition series that lets kids design and build their own creations. The Design Squad teams are challenged to transform raw materials into workable solutions for real-world clients. From creating flying remote-controlled football targets for Hasbro or dryland sleds for the Jamaican dogsled team, this group of kids really put their smarts to test!

Much like the kids of Design Squad, the kids at M Station were presented with a series of challenges once a week during the summer months. They built newspaper tables sturdy enough to carry heavy books, paddle boats powered by rubber bands, and even zip lines! These activities were just a few of many challenges found in the Design Squad challenge guides, which are currently available online for teachers, parents, you, your neighbors, your grandparents – everyone! For details about these challenges, and to try out some new projects for yourself, visit the Design Squad Guide page here!

KLRU Hosts Open House for RTL Demo Stations

Student reading the interactive e-book, “The Monster at the end of this Book”

As you may have read before, KLRU has been selected as one of five stations to partner with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS Kids to bring educational content throughnew mediato low-income communities. KLRU has also locally partnered with SafePlace, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and Foundation Communities M Station, which provide affordable housing and other services to low-income families.

Over the last few weeks, KLRU has been preparing to add new technology to both SafePlace and M Station’s already existing, modest computer labs. These new additions included 16 iPads, complete with protective cases, a Mac computer to power the iPads, a projector for large group activities/screening movies, a projection screen, speakers, iPad compatible printers, Bluetooth keyboards, and child-friendly headphones for the iPads.

The new equipment was unveiled to the children and staff at an open house event for both sites, where everyone was invited to explore the iPads and accompanying equipment. Though the children were a little disappointed to learn they wouldn’t be taking the iPads home, they were ecstatic to know that they are available to them and will be used for their upcoming PBS Kids summer learning programs on site.

All of the iPads are jam-packed with PBS Kids content, including videos, e-books, and 50+ apps designed to improve reading, math, science, and even art skills. They can also be set up much like a regular workstation with Bluetooth keyboards so that the students can easily type away school papers, or their own creative work.

Thanks to this Ready To Learn (RTL) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, both of these new Transmedia Demonstration Stations will provide great new learning tools to SafePlace and M Station, as well as provide valuable lessons for public media at large. Both sites are currently gearing up for official inauguration/summer program kick-off events in June, to share the completed Demo Stations with the children, their families, educators, key stakeholders of the organizations, and the community.