BOSTON, July 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Design Squad Global (DSG), created by public media leader WGBH Boston, reports a successful inaugural year for its innovative kids engineering initiative and burgeoning worldwide afterschool club program, with rave reviews from participating children and educators alike. The Emmy® Award-winning PBS KIDS website Design Squad launched its afterschool club program worldwide in 2016 to connect U.S. kids ages eight to 13 with their peers in other countries. The educator-led clubs enable kids to solve global engineering problems and broaden their cross-cultural understanding and global competency.
Design Squad Global is also announcing online registration is open for sign-up for Fall 2017 Clubs.
Since its launch, 4,092 children have participated in 426 Design Squad Global Clubs in 31 countries on six continents: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. In the U.S., 1,968 kids have participated in clubs in 105 cities and 35 states and internationally, 3,144 kids have participated in 262 clubs in 30 countries. The countries with the highest number of DSG Clubs to date are the U.S., Jordan, South Africa, Vietnam, and Malawi—but DSG Clubs have also been launched in Botswana, Swaziland, Costa Rica, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Liberia, Haiti, Cambodia, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Ukraine, Peru, Canada, Germany, Bolivia, Paraguay, France, South Korea, Bulgaria and Romania.
In its first year, the program has also received critical acclaim—winning the Engaging Young Scientists Award at the 2016 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival's Science Media Awards. Club leaders are enthusiastic about the positive impact of DSG Clubs as an effective educational tool, and DSG Clubs are getting a resounding thumbs up from kids. "With the help of DSG, we taught children to be more patient, to think more globally and to see unusual [solutions]," says a Club coordinator in the Ukraine.
Kids agree: "I have enjoyed DSG because you get to team up with countries around the world and learn about how their lives are different to ours," says a 10-year-old from the UK. "My favorite DSG project is the emergency shelters because they are fun to make and they are important to help the refugees."
And from students at the Richard J. Murphy K-8 School in Dorchester, MA: "I love learning about kids from other parts of the world FROM kids!" "The hand grabber was so cool; I felt like I made something useful that could help people."
DSG clubs are designed to develop critical thinking and technical skills and to expand cross-cultural engagement for kids ages eight to 13. Kids in participating clubs are given opportunities to tackle invention challenges of varying difficulties using real-world engineering skills and a chance to collaborate with kids from other countries, encouraging them to communicate and learn firsthand about cultures, perspectives and concerns in other parts of the world.
"Kids from Botswana to Brazil to Israel to Haiti have shared and gained rewarding, fun educational experiences from Design Squad Global Clubs," says WGBH Executive Producer Marisa Wolsky. "It's so rewarding to be able to support kids in real-world problem solving and to help them learn about cultures and traditions as far as away as the other side of the globe."
Online registration is currently open to sign up for the Fall 2017 Clubs. Engineering and invention challenges in the 6-week and 12-week programs of Design Squad Global range from designing devices and gadgets to building prototypes for real-world projects that could help communities. The Clubs collaborate with partner Clubs to share engineering projects and information about their cultures and lives via videoconferencing and other communication platforms.
DSG Club resources can be found on PBS LearningMedia, which includes teacher support materials and a Club leader training guide. Games and videos for kids are available on the Design Squad Global website, including a new interactive game, Feed the Fidgets, which challenges kids to build an aquaponics farm. Engaging videos feature DSG hosts and role models Deysi Melgar and Nate Ball and other activities for kids like creating a prototype for a motion-sensing recycling bin.
DSG is made possible with support from the National Science Foundation and The Lemelson Foundation. Clubs are disseminated through a coalition of strategic partners, including FHI 360 (which also provided training and technical assistance to pilot Clubs in Southern Africa), Girl Scouts USA, YMCA of the USA and Global Centers of Excellence, DiscoverE, Sister Cities International, National Girls Collaborative Project, Society of Women Engineers, and Every Hour Counts.
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children's series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.
About FHI 360
A nonprofit organization with a rigorous evidence based approach, FHI 360 is dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways, through cutting-edge research, locally-driven solutions, and projects that range from health and nutrition to education, economic development, environment, and civil society. With 4,000 staff, FHI 360 serves more than 60 countries via work that is reinforced by partnerships and focused on strengthening the capacity of individuals, local organizations, and national governments. A commitment to local ownership, capacity, and sustainability underpins each of FHI 360's projects.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital platforms and community-based programs. Kidscreen and Webby award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS also offers mobile apps to help support young children's learning. The PBS KIDS Video App is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.