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MEDIA: Television
MARKET: National Cable
DATE: 08/12/02
SHOW: CNN Headline News
SUBJECT: Hotwired Educational Site,

Sofia, Anchor:
There's a question that's puzzled educators for years.

Steven, Anchor:
How to make learning fun. Now, has that mystery been solved? Renee San Miguel might be able to tell us.

Renee San Miguel, Reporter:
Well Dr. Seuss had Whoville and we're going to be talking about Whyville. In both cases kids are learning. It's back to school for kids in some parts of the U.S. but as the saying goes, learning can take place everywhere and one website knows that better than most. Since launching just more than three years ago, has registered two hundred fifty-thousand users and sixty-seven percent of those users are girls with an average age of eighteen, thirteen rather. All of them signed on without the site spending a dime on advertising, all of this has grown through word of mouth.'s objective is to teach kids, boys and girls alike everything from business management to newspaper writing to math skills and its formula has been so successful it's received backing from NASA and it's caught the attention of the National Science Foundation. There's been a push as we told you here on Hotwire to get more girls involved in science and technology and while this site isn't designed particularly for them, Dr. James Bower, the CEO of Numedeon which owns told us that girls have really taken to it. He says girls of this age group in general have reached a greater stage of intellectual ability than boys, thus they're more attracted to a site like this than boys who might be outside you know, playing with frogs or chemistry sets or something. Bower has spent the better part of seventeen years researching ways to get kids to interact with computers in a fun learning environment and what he's discovered is it's best to engage kids in learning through activity rather than having them read web page after web page about it.

For example, passing legislation. If Whyville's users don't like something on the Whyville site, they can go to the Whyville town hall and put up a petition for change. If that petition gets enough sponsors, Whyville's tech staff will make that change. Learning political science becomes a lot more fun when you've got a vested interest in making something happen. Bower tells us is a free site, its users spend sixty minutes on average per session online and its reach extends around the world. If you are interested in checking out the site for yourself just head to and that is Hotwired for this hour. Steven and Sofia, back to you.

Boy, I can tell I'm going to get my homework done this year.

That is so cool.

San Miguel:
Don't you wish this kind of stuff was around when we were in school? I mean, this would have made a big difference between a D and a C or a C and a B or whatever.

An hour online, wow…

San Miguel:
That's right, e-commerce sites would kill for that.

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