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‘Lyla in the Loop’ to Feature PBS Kids’ First Interactive Episodes With AI-Assisted Conversation (Exclusive)


PBS Children’s Series lyla in the loop will debut in early 2024, with the Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios-produced series addressing the use of real-world AI tools and releasing digital episodes incorporating AI-assisted conversations.

Coming from Mighty Picnic founder and Emmy-winning producer Dave Peth (odd squad, peg + jack, doodles and ink, Designer Team), the animated series will premiere on February 5, 2024 in both English and Spanish. Funded with grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the US Department of Education as part of their Ready To Learn initiative, the series will follow the adventures of a 7-year-old girl named Lyla Loops (voiced by Liyou Abere). , who lives in Philadelphia with his best friend, family, and “awesome” roommate Stu (Izzy Woodbury).

“Lyla is curious and resourceful, and when it comes to finding solutions to everyday problems, she doesn’t give up, even when it takes multiple tries to get it right,” Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. , she says. “We know audiences will quickly be drawn to Lyla’s determination and can-do attitude, and we’re excited to bring this warm, funny and intelligent series to our viewers.”

Those viewers can expect to see Lyla taking on challenges like building homemade carnival games out of repurposed materials; lending a hand on the neighborhood’s garbage and recycling route; and put on a puppet show recreating a Jamaican folktale, anansi and goat. But the series will also see her navigate more timely topics like the ethics of AI. As Lyla and one of her sisters prepare to create an art project with Stu’s help, an age-appropriate story from her will address current questions about using real-world AI tools.

Next to lyla in the loopIn the linear release on PBS, the producers plan to simultaneously release interactive episodes incorporating AI-assisted conversations between the audience and the show’s titular character in the future. It’s a new use of algorithms for PBS Kids, which has Previously used responsive AI to help design games focused on improving children’s learning outcomes and to help parents and educators identify the best approaches for children to learn and develop skills through media.

Still in their research phase with partners at the University of California-Irvine and the University of Michigan, these AI-assisted interactive episodes have yet to be released, but are part of a conversational video project that also includes episodes of Elinor wonders why.. According to PBS Kids, during the episodes, Lyla will ask the viewer questions, and using responsive AI to understand what the young viewer is saying, she will answer. Episodes will undergo efficacy research to assess children’s learning and engagement before being released to the public at a later date.

Episodes will require access to a microphone device in order to interact with their content, and will be packed more lyla in the loop accessible digital content for children, families and teachers and focuses on reinforcing the central messages of the series, encourages creative expression and supports play and experimentation with computational thinking skills.

“The children who watch lyla in the loop They’ll be inspired by Lyla’s creativity, encouraged by her willingness to try new things (even if they don’t come easy to her), and entertained by all the hilarious messes she gets into and out of with her friend Stu. says story editor Monique D. Hall.

lyla in the loop It also stars the titular character’s friend Everett Phan (Isaac Ng), siblings Liana, Louisa and Luke (voiced by Eden Cupid, Shechinah Mpumlwana and Elijah Lindo), as well as their parents and Lydia (Morrissa Nicole) and Louis (the owners of Loops Lunch restaurant). Jose Motiki). With them, she works with the “relatable and quirky characters” of her community to solve everyday problems using critical thinking skills and creative self-expression.

“Children are natural creative problem solvers, experimenting and investigating the world around them with playful curiosity,” says series creator and showrunner Peth. “lyla in the loop celebrates and encourages the children and adults in their lives to recognize those innate abilities and see them as a powerful tool to help others, express themselves and solve all kinds of problems in everyday life.

Aimed at a wide range of students ages four to eight and modeling flexible approaches to finding and designing solutions, the series will explore the fundamental concepts of computational thinking, resulting in comic disasters and creative solutions. First announced in January, the series is inspired in part by Peth’s hometown of Philadelphia and will feature the voices of students from the Philadelphia Public School District on the series’ theme song, which was composed and performed by Divinity. Roxx, Grammy nominated. .

“Finding stories and issues that our audiences can relate to is paramount to creating the relatable world of Lyla Loops. When viewers can connect and identify with the characters, they are more likely to absorb and retain the curriculum,” says Fracaswell Hyman, executive producer and head writer of the series. “Working with a diverse group of writers who share authentic stories and interrelationships that ring true is where we find inspiration, humor, and candid moments that can spark new ways of looking at ourselves and our friends.”

Pipeline Studios, which is behind the hits for children Elinor wonders why., soul path and bubble guppies, is animating the series directed by Huy Tran. Laurie Rabin is serving as Supervising Producer, Trina Sanyal as Associate Producer, Joon Chung as Script Coordinator, and Nneka Bolden as Digital Producer.

Consultants for the series include senior adviser Nermeen Dashoush, PhD, clinical assistant professor, early childhood education, Boston University; the series’ Curriculum Director, Amon Millner, PhD, associate professor of computing and innovation in the Olin College of Engineering, and directs the Extending Access to STEM Empowerment (EASE) lab.

Other consultants include universal design for learning consultant Yendá Prado, PhD, educational researcher, University of California, Irvine; V. Scott Solberg, PhD, professor in the Department of Counseling and Applied Human Development at Boston University; and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Consultant Cosette Strong of Strong Consulting Group.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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