NYPhilkids.org - what an educational website should be

I recently had the opportunity to meet one of the developers of NYPhilkids.org, a slick website devoted to musical education from the New York Philharmonic.

I recently had the opportunity to meet one of the developers of NYPhilkids.org, a slick website devoted to musical education from the New York Philharmonic. While the site is hardly meant to replace a Juilliard education (even though the site developer just happens to have a degree from the school), it is a nice way to get young kids engaged in music. NYPhilkids.org - Homepage For older students or college kids interested in web design, programming, marketing, etc., this site could certainly be a how-to of solid, purposeful, interactive site design. Kids can learn to make their own instruments from household items and listen to how they should sound. NYPhilkids.org - Homemade instruments

They can also play games that give Linerider a run for its money; I struggled to help Piccolo Pete collect all of the notes he needed to save the day, but I was impressed that the height of my jumps to grab the notes corresponded to their pitch. Similarly, the length of the notes (half, quarter, whole, etc.), played as I grabbed them and gave me a commensurate amount of "Piccolo Power." Sure, it's a little cheesy, but I could certainly see an elementary class in a computer lab reinforcing a music lesson with such a game. NYPhilkids.org - Can Piccolo Pete save the day?

My one niggle with the site is its use of Shockwave. Currently, Shockwave support on Linux is dismal at best and even on OS X requires one to open a browser in Rosetta emulation mode. There were a couple modules that didn't function correctly, despite running under Rosetta, although they worked fine in Windows Vista. This isn't a problem with the site so much as it a problem with Adobe; the use of Shockwave certainly provides a high degree of interactivity, but just isn't compatible across the board yet.

Update The developer of the site sent me an email this morning addressing their use of Shockwave:

Thanks so much for your review of the Kidzone site! We've been working on this site since 1999. And I have to agree with you the Shockwave stuff has gotten impossible. BTW, everything that still uses shockwave is probably 3-4 years old at least. Since the support for shockwave has tanked we've been building everything in flash and as budget and flash features allow, porting the old shockwave activities over. Cheers! Rebecca Krause-Hardie Executive Producer NYPHIL Kidzone