BBC Children’s and BBC Learning are releasing a slew of kid’s programs that will make you wish you were young again. That is, if you aren’t already young or don’t already wish you were young again. To inspire children to get into computing and coding, the networks will be producing new educational resources, TV series, games and competitions as a part of the BBC’s coding and digital creativity initiative for 2015. As part of the high-tech educational content, the BBC will even introduce their young viewers to the technology of 3D printing.
As England launches a new computing curriculum, the BBC has added a computer science focus to their free online study support resource, Bitesize, with new guides geared to teach tech with rich animation, graphics, videos, and games. On top of the online curriculum, the channel will be airing several programs that emphasize computer education. Appsolute Genius on CBBC will feature Dick and Dom, who will challenge viewers to design and build their own video game app. Technobabble is another show that will air on CBBC, in which Frankie Vu and Clara Amfu will direct viewers’ attentions to tech applications in the real world, including 3D printing and virtual reality.
Younger audiences will be exposed to Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital on CBeebies, in which Nina will explore the country with her team of young experimenters. Over the course of five episodes, Nina and the kids find out how the Internet works, witness driverless cars, and, most importantly for us, visit 3D print studios where they get their hands on the technology.
Acting Head of BBC Learning, Sinéad Rocks, discussed the new programming, saying, “We know that many children are genuinely interested in technology and we want to play our part in inspiring and empowering them to pursue their passions and to find out even more. Our new education resources are designed to give a hands on approach through a range of great animation, video and interactive games that we hope will really engage and entertain whilst also enabling our audiences to develop key digital skills. This combined with great television and online output from CBBC and CBeebies means that the BBC can inspire children to get creative digitally both within the formal setting of the classroom and at home through television, games and competitions.”
Director of BBC Children’s, Joe Godwin, added, “It’s really important that BBC Children’s is at the forefront of digital creativity, because for millions of children CBeebies and CBBC are their first port of call for facts, information and inspiration. And with Dick and Dom and Nina and her Neurons leading the charge, we are sure it will be huge with our audiences.”
In some ways, the BBC’s new programs represent a Sesame Street for the digital era. At the same time, it’s still hard to beat good ol’ fashioned, Sesame Street, which still manages to keep up with the times. For instance, did you catch their segment on children with incarcerated parents? I hope that, while updating their technological content, the BBC doesn’t forget to cover all of the modern lessons that kids of today need to learn.