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AAAS's "Kinetic City" Staff Wins Award for Innovative Software

Bob Hirshon

Kinetic City, the web-based after-school science game produced by AAAS, has won a 2004 Codie Award for being the best education technology program for curriculum and content geared to students from kindergarten up to 6th grade.

The award was announced 18 May 2004 at a black-tie ceremony held by the Software & Information Industry Association in San Francisco. It places the Kinetic City Super Crew and their Mission to Vearth—along with the AAAS staffers who create them—in an elite group that includes the most innovative software developers in the world.

"We are very honored to win the Codie, especially with such worthy competitors," said Bob Hirshon, Kinetic City Executive Producer. "We have a fantastic team of people creating our story lines, our learning activities, our art and our programming. It's great to see their hard work recognized."

"While the overall focus of this work is to try to provide quality supplemental education, it's always a thrill when you realize that it comes up to a standard that gains industry-wide recognition," said Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources for AAAS. "First with a Peabody Award in 1996, and now with a Codie, this indicates that not only are we providing quality science content, but doing it in a way that reflects excellence—and on a very tight budget."

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Kinetic City was conceived as an after-school science club for students aged 8 through 11. Kids log on at, where they join the Super Crew—Keisha, Curtis, Megan and Max—in a battle to save planet Vearth from a relentless virus known as Deep Delete. The virus has 60 strains, and each attacks a different area of science. Students on Earth watch a brief animation, then undertake a series of activities to re-learn the lost science. Finally they blast off for Vearth, where they use their knowledge to battle Deep Delete.

The Software & Information Industry Association received over 800 nominations for the Codie Award this year. Kinetic City was chosen the winner among six finalists in the K-6th grade education category.

The Codie Awards were established in 1986 as a way for pioneers in the emerging software industry to honor the most creative and path-breaking work done by their peers. The Software and Information Industry Association says the award "remains the standard bearer for celebrating outstanding achievement and vision in our industry."

The name of the award is derived from a crucial word in the software industry: code.

Kinetic City began as a weekly radio show, and in 1996 won a Peabody Award, one of broadcasting's highest honors, for its "ability to bring science to a new level of imagination." It has won a Bessie Award, which is given annually to the best educational software. It was finalist for the Codie Award in 2003.