Interactive Media for Children
Markle provided funding to Nearlife to support the first phase of development of Robot Garage, a digital property that enabled children to create robot friends who could be sent on educational missions. The goals of this project were to develop a marketable product for learning, promote creative problem solving through interaction, illustrate the viability of an interactive multi-platform approach, and create a platform that could grow while continually engaging children.
Markle partnered with the Discovery Channel to plan a commercial, interactive media business that was founded on developmental research and examined the impact of interactive technologies on children. This partnership resulted in the distribution of engaging, educational, interactive multi-media services through the television and Internet platforms of Ready-Set-Learn for preschool children, and Discovery Kids for children aged 6 to 12.
Markle and PBS collaborated to develop a multi-media strategy to explore the potential of interactive programming at PBS and the future of interactive children’s media. This plan, called One Mission, Many Screens, had six key focus areas: content creation and programming, operation and content delivery platforms, presence within local communities, business models and partnerships, marketing and promotion strategies, and evaluation strategy and dissemination plan.
Markle supported the development of a broad research agenda to help address the crucial issues in children’s use of interactive technologies. This project was led by Dr. Ellen Wartella and involved a review of related academic literature and an expert’s conference. As a result of Dr. Wartella’s research, a compendium report was released in May 2000, followed by an update released in 2002.
Learning Adventures in Citizenship was an interactive, curriculum-based Internet project created as a tie-in to Ric Burns’ PBS documentary New York. The goal of this project was to teach middle school students about responsibility in the community, and to help those students become more aware of their own communities.
Markle’s Forum on Children and Media offered a place to learn from the successes and challenges in the children’s industry. It provided both process- and project-specific information to a diverse group of industry leaders, including Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc., Nick Jr., and Sim City. The Forum was co-directed by Richard Chase, MD and Stephen Gass, each founders of the independent children’s media companies Learning Pathways and The Gass Company, respectively.