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Hampered by its own bureaucracy and budget cuts, the FFFBI recruits kids from around the world to file Field Reports, decode messages, intercept documents and guide FFFBI Agents to success. FFFBI Field Agents assist in thwarting bad guys like C.R.U.S.T. (the Confederacy of Rascals and Unspeakably Suspicious Troublemakers) and the Cyber Tooth Tigers, a band of technovillains led by the charismatic Skip Intro. Field Agents must also beware the strangely named Sandwich-Faced Daddy's Boys. All while maintaining the Bureau's strained relations with the CIIIA, Scotland Barnyard and InterPoultry.
The FFFBI Agents are as unusual as the cases and bad guys they investigate. There's Agent Nelson, the 'Elephant of Surprise' you often hear about in successful operations. Computer Bug sisters, Glitch and Surge. Elbow and Wrist are our hamster/chicken duo. The Deputy-Director is a King Penguin who aspires to be an Emperor. There's also a mysterious mandrill, the Coffee Guy, and a hammerhead shark who is a master of disguise.
The site invites Field Agents to:
disguised original thinking games to get kids to solve mysteries and learn crucial skills along the
way, such as using the Internet for research and investigation, critical thinking, reading, and
writing. The project is also a seductively devious springboard to explore a wide range of subjects - from math and science to geography, genetics and history. Admittedly, it's also, as one kid wrote, "freaky weird."
The prototype FFFBI.com site, soft-launched in early 2002, proved to be popular with both kids and adults worldwide, drawing traffic from the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Europe and even the Middle East. Thanksgiving weekend saw visits to this small, underground site leap to a total over 200,000. According to e-mail feedback from field agents, the FFFBI not only "made me feel like a real detective on a real mission" but "kept me out of trouble with my little sister" and "is the greatest and funnest in the world."
The Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of
Investigation was created and written by Bill Shribman, with
Bill Shribman, Executive Producer for WGBH Interactive's Kids Group and his team also devised, designed, wrote and produced the Web sites for ZOOM, Arthur and Between the Lions. These three sites are among the largest and busiest at PBS.org which, according to Nielsen NetRatings, is the most-trafficked Dot Org in the world. Praise heaped upon the ZOOM, Arthur, and Between the Lions sites includes the first Prix Jeunesse given to a Web site, the first ever Japan Prize Silver, NewMedia Gold and Silver, MIMC Gold and a rare endorsement from The National Education Association.
Based in Boston, Peabody award-winner WGBH is the leading producer of PBS prime-time programs and Web content, and is a major producer for public radio. It's also a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies that make media accessible to people who have visual or hearing impairments.
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