The Loading Zone

WIPB—the public broadcasting station on Ball State University’s campus—has worked with the Digital Corps several times before. For this particular partnership, the two organizations teamed up to create a program dedicated to early childhood education. After discussing with WIPB and conducting extensive research, the Digital Corps realized that the best solution would be to create short animation spots to teach technology to young children between two and eight years old.

Solutions for a young audience

User experience researchers with the Digital Corps observed that young children often learn best when they’re able to connect with characters on screen. Therefore, the Digital Corps developed two loveable robots: Billy and Penelope. The program was dubbed, “The Loading Zone,” and premiered in 2018 on WIPB and IPBS stations across the state.

The two characters were fully designed, animated, and even voiced by Digital Corps students. But what did Billy and Penelope talk about? Before production on the characters and the show began, students and staff collaborated in divergent thinking brainstorming sessions, where topics concerning technology in transportation, communication, environmentalism and more were discussed.

Our creativity meets the public eye

Once topics were approved, the script-writing process began and the Corps eventually moved onto the production and post-production process. The entire process was especially challenging and exciting for the Corps as each video had to be exactly 60 seconds in order to fit broadcast specifications. The project offered a lot of opportunities for problem solving, as students were forced to rework scripts and adjust animations and voiceovers. Additionally, The Loading Zone targeted an unfamiliar audience that the Corps – very young viewers. This required a new style of writing and thinking – and encouraged the Corps to continually learn throughout the process.

The Loading Zone is an ongoing project and Digital Corps students continue to build animations for a targeted audience.

Join Billy and Penelope on Indiana PBS stations as they learn about technology on each episode of The Loading Zone.

In the end, the Digital Corps delivered: