PBS At Home Learning

The Challenge

The At Home Learning Classroom Connection came about as a result of the COVID pandemic, where students around the world were suddenly unable to go to school in person for risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Schools across the country began quickly finding ways to teach students in alternative ways, primarily online through a variety of learning management systems. This required student learners to have access to the internet in their home. For many students, home internet access was either not available or the service was so slow they were simply unable to participate in their online classes. 

PBS North Carolina partnered with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to develop short lessons in literacy and math that could be broadcast through public television. You see, most children have access to a television in their home, even if they don’t have internet access. PBS and NCDPI worked together over several months to write and plan the lessons with teachers selected by NCDPI. Then, beginning in January 2021 a PBS video team led by David Huppert, met with teachers over the course of three months to shoot 192 10-15 minute lessons. But the lessons would only be the teachers talking about literacy or math with only the benefit of a few props they brought with them to help demonstrate concepts. Huppert felt more was needed to help explain complicated concepts and support what the teacher was saying. 

The Solution

David Huppert, Director of the Media Innovation Lab at PBS NC, hired The Farthest Pixel to add animated elements and graphics to the videos they produced for At Home Learning. Videos were developed for Pre-K – K, 1st and 2nd grades, 3rd grade, and 4th and 5th grades. The Farthest Pixel first created a branding approach and moodboard that would adopt the fonts and colors for the NCDPI/At Home/PBS NC project so as to appeal to primary school students. We then developed animated characters for each age group to entertain and engage students as they watched the videos. These characters would assert themselves into the videos as learners themselves, watching the teacher, nodding along, zipping in and out when appropriate. Then for each video we added support visual and animated content. This content helped explain concepts the teacher was talking about at the time. These animated videos were broadcast across North Carolina as well as in other locations in the United States. 

Animation Examples

 

Cat mascot - animated gif

Project Details

Team:

David Huppert
Nicole Eure
Amanda Robertson
Lori Catlin Garcia
Margo Jordan
Micaelah Scott Peterson
Téa Blumer
Tracy MacLauchlan
Kirby Culberston
Bethany Minervino
Paige Kotalik

Solution:
Animation
Illustration

Client:
PBS North Carolina with NC Department of Public Instruction