Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

March 28, 2011

Create an educational kids video for Zoodles!

Contributed by Debbie Heimowitz

Learn how the Zoodles Education team screens their video content. Then, create videos of your own for a chance to be featured in Zoodles!

Behind the Scenes

When we started our quest to find the best YouTube videos for kids, our first results were…well… questionable. Finding great content is our team’s central mission, and it is also one of our biggest challenges. For every hundred videos we evaluate, it can be tough to find even one that’s worth adding. So why does this happen? And what do we look for?

The first reason it’s a challenge to find high-quality video content is that the content itself is scarce, and it’s also hidden amongst a ton of other content that’s not always appropriate. We run across an unbelievable number of videos that are supposedly for kids, but are inappropriately named, have foul language dubbed over them, feature bizarre characters, or are even so misleading that they connect to shady spam or porn sites.

The high-quality content we look for is harder to find, because less of it exists to begin with.  Educational kids content can be expensive to produce and design. When companies do produce children’s content, it tends to be in formats that are unusable to Zoodles, like thirty-minute television shows. So, when we do find great content in short formats, we definitely try to promote it and find other content from the same filmmakers.

Here’s what we look for:

yoga-for-kidsEntertainment: First, the videos must entertain us. We know that if it’s not fun, your kids won’t want to watch it. Specifically, we look for bright colors, high concepts, and ideally a strong production value. In our team discussions, questions like “Was this only funny to me?” get tossed around as part of our evaluation process.

The ElementsEducational Value: Secondly, we want to know what your children will learn from watching the videos. Will the video help reinforce concepts about the alphabet? Will the video bring your kids to another planet? Does it tie into the national standards for education?

We love when videos focus on specific learning standards, but we also value concepts that aren’t as obviously educational.  We place just as much importance, for instance, on videos that encourage physical and emotional wellness like this yoga video for kids or this video about cyberbullying.

If a video is able to meet our educational and entertainment standards, we know we’ve found something for our Zoodles families!

Now create your own!

Are you interested in creating your own educational videos and being featured in Zoodles? Here are some ideas to think about as you start your process:

  1. Pre-design the show. What is the “learning problem or learning need” you are solving? For example, do you notice your child struggling with spelling concepts that you’d like to teach in the video?
  2. Set learning objectives. What do you hope the audience will gain from watching your video? How will you measure these results?
  3. Think about what techniques you would like to add. Filmmakers use several tools to help reinforce educational concepts including: relatable fictional characters, the use of repetition and rhyme, music, dance etc.
  4. How long do you want the video to be? We will accept any videos less than 3 minutes in length.
  5. Have fun!

If you’ve created a video that you believe meets our standards, send us the link at feedback@zoodles.com!


Debbie Heimowitz is on the Education team at Zoodles. She is the co-creator of the Internet safety DVD series Adina’s Deck. Check out www.adinasdeck.com for Internet Safety tips and more high quality educational videos!

March 10, 2011

Zoodles makes the Top 25 Android Apps for Moms list!

Babble's Top 25 Android App Badge

In an effort to kickstart this blog back to life, we thought we’d share some great news.  We’ve been recognized by Babble as one of the top 25 Android Apps for Moms!  Reaching over 6 million moms a month, Babble is a parenting site for “a new generation of parents.”  Their editorial crew sifted through tons of apps and highlighted our Kid Mode app as the #2 app for “Best Family Fun.”  Awesome!

kid-mode

Here’s what they said about us:

When that 10-minute restaurant wait turns into 20 and the coloring book that you brought along just isn’t up to the task, what’s a mom to do? Hand your kid your Android phone, of course. But before your toddler starts e-mailing your boss or updating your Facebook status, be sure to install the Kid Mode app that protects your phone by locking the Home button and then provides your kids (ages 2 through 8) with a selection of fun, educational games and videos geared specifically to each child’s age.  See the full article.

Check out the other winning apps at http://www.babble.com/products/mom-products/25-best-android-apps-for-moms/

Big thanks to Babble for highlighting our hard work and putting us in some great company!  To all of our Zoodles families, we just can’t say it enough.  Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement – we would not be here without you!

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