PBS launches new Cyberchase app, and more news in pubmedia programming

By Dru Sefton

PBS's app was developed with .....

PBS’s app offers three games for kids ages 6-9. (Image: PBS)

PBS has created its latest augmented-reality app, this one based on the television math series Cyberchase.

The development of Cyberchase Shape Quest was funded with a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The free app, announced Jan. 9 and offering three games, uses a tablet’s camera to combine real-world images with digital content. Users follow characters Buzz and Delete through various environments, applying spatial memory, visualization and modeling skills to solve problems by taking apart and putting together two- and three-dimensional shapes. It’s aimed kids ages 6–9.

The app launched exclusively for iPads and should be available for Android devices within the next month.

Cyberchase is a co-production of New York’s WNET, PBS Kids and Idaho-based Curious Media, an interactive production agency.

Connecticut Public Television launched a short news-update segment, Connecticut First, featuring stories from WNPR News, its public radio sister station.

“For the first time,” said Jim Cutie, content director for the state network, “the WNPR and CPTV news teams are working together to provide a firsthand look at the news and information impacting the state and its residents.”

The segments air each weeknight at 6:56 p.m., following the Nightly Business Report and preceding PBS NewsHour. Connecticut First is hosted by Teri McCready, who most recently reported for WSHU public radio in Fairfield, Conn., and began running Jan. 6.

To mark the 20th anniversary of its weeknightly public affairs show North Carolina Now, UNC-TV is creating a 20-week series drawing on the program’s extensive archives.

North Carolina Then and Now premieres Thursday, providing a look back at important people and events in the state over the past two decades. The program covers the environment, politics and government, education, farming, and coastal and rural development issues.

Producer Bobby Dobbs, who won an Emmy last year for his work on another UNC-TV show, North Carolina People, will oversee the series.

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