August 15th, 2011 - July 31st, 2012 | PROJECT

SPYHOUNDS is a new transmedia learning experience for 6- to10-year old children. SPYHOUNDS represents an effort to extend the value of the successful TV series FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman by moving to a new media platform and revamping the storyline. The popular character Ruff Ruffman becomes a super spy through top-secret missions. Ruff needs help (both on and offline) from kids at home, who become the spyhounds. Each mission is designed to have kids watch new animation, complete online activities designed to promote STEM exploration, and participate in offline activities that require kids to investigate real world phenomena. This Pathways grant provides development support to fund a pilot phase of the project. The STEM content in the pilot phase will focus on physical science. Deliverables will include 3 x 60-second mini animated episodes, 3 interactive games rolling out over a 6-week period, 6 x 60-second audio updates from Ruff, daily in-character blog updates as Ruff plays out the mission, offline decoding activities supported by video clips, daily social media updates through Facebook and Twitter, editorial staff reviewing/posting user generated content, and Web-based survey data. WGBH and Concord Evaluation Group will conduct formative and summative evaluation using a wide array of success metric and analytics. While the project design is rooted in an evidence-based curriculum and lessons learned from prior work, the Spyhounds concept offers a new educational media model. The pilot phase supported by this grant will help inform the future development of a year-long effort. The project's goal is help audience members develop understanding of science and math concepts, enhance problem-solving skills, and expand their understanding of how science and math are used in the real world. Spyhounds has potential to contribute to theory development, especially as it evaluates how young audiences take information learned online and apply it in the real world.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Spyhounds Pilot: Evaluation Report
Poster - Spy Hounds

Team Members

Kate Taylor, Principal Investigator, WGBH
Christine Paulsen, Evaluator, Concord Evaluation Group


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1114690
Funding Amount: 253963


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Mathematics | Nature of science | Physics
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media