Children and Technology

In the early 1980s, Bank Street began pursuing wide-ranging projects with the vision of enabling a child-centered philosophy to thrive in an emerging era of home computers and educational media.

Among the first projects to be developed was the pioneering 1984 Voyage of the Mimi multimedia series (print, video, and computer software), developed by Bank Street educators and led by former Sesame Workshop producer Samuel Gibbon. The series followed an adventurous expedition to learn about humpback whales, through which young viewers learned about math, science, and computing. Before airing on nationwide PBS stations, with ancillary print and computer-based materials and videodiscs available for school use, the series and materials were piloted in Bank Street School for Children classrooms.

Bank Street was also at the forefront of an early wave of software development for home computers such as the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore, and other home devices. Faculty members helped design the Bank Street Writer, an accessible word processing program for elementary students, and led a research project investigating children’s learning with Logo programming in Bank Street classrooms.