Fake Banner
    Kid's Science Zone needs Tumbleweeds
    By Alex "Sandy" Antunes | February 25th 2011 05:52 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Alex "Sandy"

    Read more about the strange modern world of a day laborer in astronomy, plus extra space science-y goodness....

    View Alex "Sandy"'s Profile
    I went to an old link to the Kids Science Zone ("Awesome Science for Kids"), kidssciencezone.com/astronomy.  It said "Nothing found!" Oh, wait, the top-level structure had changed, so I clicked on the "Space" link: kidssciencezone.com/category/space, empty.  kidssciencezone.com/category/space-travel, empty.  In fact, all the top-level sections were empty, even when their sublevels were populated.

    Which leads to the idea that we could simply add tumbleweeds, and make it like a ghost town.  Intentionally, I mean, not as it is now.

    But what really amused me were the entries that were on the site, at the http://kidssciencezone.com level.  "Model for managing asthma in preschoolers leads to dramatic drop in ER visits and hospitalizations" (full of stats, too.)  "Stress and tension do not stop fertility treatments from working."  Both were in the category 'Anthropology'.

    So while I'm not sure what's up, I do find it tremendously amusing but not very kid-centric.

    Which led me to thinking, what would it take to make a kick-ass kid's science site?  Besides from refraining from using the words "kick-ass", that is--  you'd be surprised what parents complain about.

    The answer is... an editor.  Something often missing in dialogs about Web2.0, new media, and transmedia.  That would be a fun job-- spend the day trolling Science20.com for stories relevant to K-12 kids, then write 1-paragraph lead-ins to improve access for the under-12 set, followed by the full stories as written.

    And, a pony.

    Alex

    Disclaimer: Kid's Science Zone is part of the Science20.com network, so I am risking ninja assassins coming and eliminating me for bringing this up.

    Comments

    Hank
    We had a crash and discovered that Patrick had not been backing it up - at all.  So we decided to start over and 'remake' it into a better interface.    It still won't be one of those "you need cartoon characters to reach kids sites" or a flashy graphics one but rather a site for really smart young people and parents.   So some of the content is for kids and some is about kids, like  "Model for managing asthma in preschoolers leads to dramatic drop in ER visits and hospitalizations".

    But we didn't restore the old database yet because, really, not many people read it so there is no rush.    I guess Discover Kids or Nat Geo Kids or something gets traffic but, aside from them, 100% of the kids sites are funded by taxpayer money so it makes no difference if no one reads them.   They get to claim they are doing outreach - but I spend real money developing stuff so if no one reads it,  I wasted money and helped no one.

    I don't think an editor will help because the old 'content is king' adage no longer applies in a world where crappy content farms and crappy Wikipedia get the glory, that being the top results on Google, where most people look.   
    I have been looking for a good kids science blog and I would be interested in seeing this one get a restart. I very recently started my own at http://supersmartcarbon.blogspot.com/ due to the lack of interesting material out there. I agree, kids don't need cartoons. People often don't give kids enough credit and think that content needs to be dumbed down for kids to engage. I am looking forward to hearing more from Science2.0!