LOS ANGELES, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — December 12, 2006 — Whyville.net, the leading edu-tainment virtual world for children and young teenagers (ages 8-15), has teamed up with Celestron, one of the largest telescope makers in the world, to offer kids an educational planetarium experience through the use of their SkyScout celestial viewing device. As part of the promotion, Whyville users can purchase a virtual SkyScout device for 25 clams (the Whyvillian currency). SkyScout is a handheld device that enables stargazers of all ages and experience levels to identify, locate, engage, and learn about over 6,000 celestial objects, using advanced, yet easy-to-use, GPS point and shoot technology. Equipped with a virtual SkyScout, Whyville users can visit the SkyScout Planetarium and take an educational tour of the solar system’s twelve core constellations. This activity supplements a wide range of educational games already available to users including learning about art, science, nutr! ition and archeology.
The partnership between Whyville and Celestron reflects Whyville’s focus on new relationships that benefit both brands and the site’s audience. Whyville offers kids top-notch educational games by way of “edu-tisement.” Edu-tisement effectively offers sponsors the opportunity to advertise products to users, but infuses the experience with a meaningful and fun educational component. In the case of SkyScout, users take a guided audio tour of the constellations and learn about the history of how the stars became part of the zodiac system.
“We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to partner with Celestron and offer kids a new and exciting edu-game in which they can virtually access the stars from Whyville and learn about their origins. It’s also a nice opportunity to actively demonstrate how the SkyScout product works, in a way that’s not a blatant sales pitch — it’s a tool. And importantly, the message is being delivered to the kids in the exact fashion that they demand. For many kids, it is their first exposure to maps of the night sky,” said Jay Goss, COO of Whyville.
With 1.9 million users and 50MM pages views a month, Whyville is the leading edu-tainment virtual world for kids and young teens (8 to 15). Created by Caltech scientists and based on the principles of interactivity and inquiry-based learning, the virtual community offers kids and teenagers a range of fun edu-games pertaining to math, science, technology, history, archeology, and more. Whyville also offers kids and teenagers a safe place to chat, socialize and recreate thanks to its various levels of built-in security. The activities inside Whyville are sponsored by world class entities such as NASA, Disney, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the JP Getty Trust (Getty Museum), University of Texas, Scion, Toyota Financial Services and the School Nutrition Association.
“We are proud to have partnered with Whyville to give hundreds of thousands of kids an entertaining way to learn about the night sky,” says Joe Lupica, the CEO of Celestron. “The SkyScout is revolutionizing the way people of all ages learn about astronomy, and Whyville is an ideal place for kids to virtually test it out.”
About the size of a camcorder and weighing less than 16 ounces, the Celestron SkyScout utilizes a consumer-friendly “point and shoot” GPS technology that enables stargazers to instantly identify and/or locate over 6,000 celestial objects in the sky with the press of a button and listen to commentary on the object and its history. The SkyScout also has a “locate” feature that allows users to select an object they wish to view (i.e. Mars) and the SkyScout, using illuminated arrows in the viewfinder, will point the user to the object. A totally unique, one-of-a-kind product, SkyScout utilizes patented technology that combines data from sensors measuring both the magnetic and gravitational fields of the Earth, along with internal GPS and a substantial celestial database to dramatically improve how people learn about astronomy, making it much easier and more entertaining.
Whyville (http://www.ipressroom.com/cmp.asp?c=220719O741O37O707O1038) is the leading educational virtual world for boys and girls, ages 8 to 15. For eight years, the site has successfully created an environment that engages children to learn while having fun. Inside Whyville, “citizens” learn & play, socialize & recreate, govern & earn, write & design, eat & dance, and much, much more. Numedeon, Inc., Whyville’s parent company, develops virtual worlds that promote learning through interactivity and engagement. Founded by Caltech scientists, Numedeon combines research expertise in neuroscience with education experience from the internationally recognized Caltech Pre-college Science Initiative to conceive of an innovative way to harness the power of the Internet for the purpose of engagement and education. In formal education parlance, the education in Whyville is designed to be hands-on, inquiry-based and constructivist, embedded within motivational settings among peers.
Founded in the 1950s, Celestron is a leading designer, manufacturer and importer of high-quality optical products including computerized and non-computerized telescopes and related accessories, binoculars, spotting scopes and microscopes. As the second largest telescope maker worldwide, Celestron is a leader in the sale of performance telescopes and enjoys brand-name recognition among serious amateur astronomers for superior optics, outstanding design, and innovative technology. Celestron sells and markets its products worldwide through a variety of specialty retail outlets and international distributors. Celestron is a privately held company with corporate offices and manufacturing facilities, in Torrance, CA. For more information about Celestron and the SkyScout product please visit, http://www.ipressroom.com/cmp.asp?c=220719O741O37O707O1110 and http://www.ipressroom.com/cmp.asp?c=220719O741O37O707O1110/skyscout.