updated 09:45 pm EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
Revives educational mission with curated stories
LeVar Burton, best known to television audiences for his roles on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and his producer and host role for "Reading Rainbow" for PBS, is bringing his passion for getting children "hooked on books" as a core methodology for life-long learning to the iPad, through his own company, RRKidz. Burton plans to launch a subscription-based iPad app that will function as an ever-expanding encyclopedia, continually adding voiced-over children's books, other apps and games.
The first app, a "reading eco-system" for the iPad, will feature stories personally selected by Burton (who serves as "Curator in Chief," according to Fast Company) that feature voices, simple animation and game actions to augment the PDF-based learning content. Children can pick an area of interest -- for example, space -- and see videos of Burton in real-life places such as NASA launch sites as well as voice-over-enhanced books.
RRKidz has just scored a first round of funding and aims to help parents navigate and select high-quality digital educational choices for their children. Burton says the company is "going to where kids are today; the devices that they love to spend time on" in creating his first app for the iPad.
He adds that he has a "streamlined" production process that will allow the company to enhance content fast enough to add around 35 books to the ever-growing library shortly after launch. A set date for the arrival of the app has not yet been announced.