Cyberchase: Multimedia educational programming

Cyberchase: Multimedia educational programming

Donlevy, Jim

INTRODUCTION

Thirteen/WNET has a proud history of employing technology for educational purposes. With the recent debut of Cyberchase, Thirteen/WNET again demonstrates its ability to provide innovative and effective educational programming to viewers. This article describes the series, a multimedia initiative designed for young people and suggests benefits to be gained by students, teachers and parents.

CYBERCHASE

Cyberchase is a multimedia project designed for young viewers ages 8-11. Airing daily, the program is an animated adventure series about a group of young people on daring missions in cyberspace. It focuses on math and critical thinking to solve real problems posed to the show’s characters in a variety of situations. Confronted with interesting challenges, the group solves pressing problems by working together.

Although the show’s characters are not exceptionally talented or gifted in mathematics, as “regular” students, they demonstrate that through reasoning and application of their knowledge and skills, solutions to problems can be found.

Cyberchase shows students how math is all around us in everyday life and demonstrates how knowledge of it can be useful in a variety of situations. The shows have a lively, high-interest format appealing to young viewers and deliver sound educational content in a thought-provoking style.

Lesson plans integrating technology are available for teachers to help them make profitable use of the program series. These lessons follow in the tradition of the National Teacher Training Institute pioneered by Thirteen and may be accessed online (www.thirteen.ore).

Parents, too, will enjoy watching Cyberchase and will be able to participate in a variety of activities with their children in support of learning objectives in mathematics.

Additional activities and suggestions for further exploration are found at the Cyberchase web site (www.pbskids.org/cyberchase).

THE CYBERCHASE WEB SITE

A Cyberchase web site has been developed and launched as part of the multimedia project (www.pbskids.org/cyberchase). The web site is organized to provide current information about the series, additional math activities as reinforcements to learning and opportunities for further exploration of the series topics.

The web site provides new information on a regular basis as well as certain consistent content for those accessing the site. Calculator programs, screensavers and other items may be downloaded from the site and students are able to provide feedback on a variety of questions through regular polls conducted online.

The Cyberchase web site complements the broadcast series and extends student learning through a coordinated multimedia format. Students and teachers will benefit from multiple approaches to key math concepts under consideration and parents will find stimulating ideas for further homework applications using technology.

CONCLUSION

With its Cyberchase initiative, Thirteen/WNET continues its proud tradition of delivering innovative educational programming. The series offers high-interest curriculum content involving the creative use of technology with multiple applications for students, teachers and parents. As teachers look for increasingly sophisticated classroom materials and activities, Thirteen/WNET’s Cyberchase offers sound opportunities for enhancing and increasing student learning.

Direct Reprint Requests to:

Jim Donlevy, Ed.D., Superintendent Greenburgh-North Castle UFSD 71 S. Broadway Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522

E-Mail:jdonle@aol.com

Copyright Dr. Phillip J. Sleeman 2002

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