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Broadcast Design/Update: From Pumping Up TV Nets to Pumping Up Math Skills

Jun 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Billy Pittard used to make networks look good. Now he’s trying to make algebra fun.

A former partner the defunct design shop Pittard Sullivan, Mr. Pittard is producing and creating interactive, educational DVDs, including a 99-episode series on algebra designed to be taught in the classroom. He directed the two-year-long creation of the DVD, called “Algebra’scool,” published by BestQuest and produced by Comchoice, where Mr. Pittard works as a consultant. The math series was released last year.

The DVD includes animation, live action, original music and sound effects. “A teacher teaching algebra with a piece of chalk isn’t going to cut it anymore. This is like having another teacher, an assistant in the room. It gives them that tool that helps them reach the students,” he said.

When the company shut its doors in 2001 Mr. Pittard decided not to stay in the design business. “I was ready for something else,” he said. “I love to learn and help other people learn.”

DVDs are an underutilized platform for interactivity, he said. “DVD is this amazing sleeping giant. It’s an amazingly interactive media in almost everyone’s home.”

“Algebra’scool” received an award from the Association of Educational Publishers for the best instructional materials of 2004. Mr. Pittard has also filed a number of patents recently for special DVD hardware and a line of interactive, educational DVDs for children.

In addition, he’s writing a book called “Design for the Screen,” on design for TV and film. It’s slated to be published by Pearson Publishing Group, he said.