The Electric Company
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this companion site to the television show is a stimulating place for grade-schoolers to learn reading skills such as letter sounds, spelling, and grammar. Guided by the friendly faces from the TV show, the site offers educational games, vignettes from the show and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the people behind the characters. Kids will need basic reading skills to enjoy the site.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- solving puzzles
- applying information
- personal growth
- conveying messages effectively
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids will enjoy choosing a show character to represent them as they play interactive games. Zany sounds, narration, and other elements make activities interesting. Kids can also register to save videos and other items.
Kids will identify sounds in words and understand how words and sentences are formed as they play games. Video mash-up creation and other activities encourage creativity.
Teachers can access more than 35 lesson plan and activity ideas, listed by grade level and skill. The show sometimes also hosts community outreach events, which are listed on the site. Activities based on various episodes are also available.
What's it about?
Like the TV show, the website uses animation and real characters as guides. By completing various reading and spelling games, kids collect “volts” to mark their progress. Through game play and engaging graphics, kids put together compound words, add silent vowels, play with prefixes and suffixes, and explore sounds that letters make. Characters from the television show offer instruction and encouragement, and since kids choose which character they're collecting volts for, there's an added competitive element.
Is it any good?
Parents may fondly recall The Electric Company television show from their youth. The updated version is just as upbeat, educational, and kid-friendly as the 1970’s version, but is far more visually appealing and engaging thanks to modern-day animation, CGI, and effects. Like the TV show, the Web site features colorfully cute animation, photo-and-illustration montages and four real characters who guide users through the various areas of the site. With the help of the on-screen actors and simple, easy-to-follow audio instructions, visitors can view a variety of sketches from the television show, get glimpses into what happens behind the scenes and play assorted word games that help build vocabulary and teach language skills. The site is upbeat, encouraging and full of fun characters and activities that will keep kids so interested they may not realize they’re learning at the same time. Even parents will get a charge out what this new Electric Company offers.
Online interaction: Although users create profiles and can view the profiles of other users, there's no personal information revealed in any of the profiles and there's no user interaction.
Families can talk about...
How online games can help reinforce some of the language lessons kids learn in school and through educational television programming. How does this help you learn better?
Why it’s so much fun to have a competitive element to online games and learning, such as the point system on this site. How does collecting “volts” add to the experience of learning and playing games? How can you ensure you’re not spending too much time playing these games?
Why it’s important to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to online entertainment -- even when you’re spending time with positive media such as educational television programs and online learning games.