WPSU joins PBS and Pa. Dept. of Education to bring media to classrooms

March 23, 2010

WPSU and PBS’ Digital Learning Library to be incorporated into the
Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System to Support Student Achievement

Arlington, Va. – On March 23, WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting and PBS partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help teachers increase student engagement with instructional media content. Nationally and locally created preK-12 classroom-based content from PBS and its member stations, producers and public media partners, accessed through the new Digital Learning Library (DLL), will be incorporated into the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Standards Aligned System (SAS) statewide by the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Education has built a dynamic, interactive Web site to assist educators in using our Standards Aligned System to its fullest potential, and including carefully aligned media from the PBS Digital Learning Library will provide an even greater benefit to our students, teachers and schools,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak.

“Digital media has a special capacity to engage today’s students, helping good teachers be great teachers and working toward the goal that all students reach their fullest potential in the 21st century,” said PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger. “This partnership showcases the natural synergy of public education and public media working in an innovative state like Pennsylvania to support changing classrooms and prepare tomorrow’s workforce. We believe that this is a model that can work across the nation.”

“The joint partnership allows Pennsylvania teachers to directly benefit from customized digital learning objects designed to meet their classroom needs and tied to state academic standards, while districts save money by not having to produce or purchase high-quality content,” said Ted Krichels, associate vice president for public engagement and general manager of Penn State Public Broadcasting. “WPSU has access to some of the world's leading faculty and the latest discoveries in a variety of fields. We translate their work into relevant, applicable materials for the K-12 classroom that captures students’ attention and inspires learning by partnering with practicing classroom teachers who understand kids, the curriculum, and the academic standards.”

Today's joint announcement comes on the heels of recent research demonstrating the importance of digital content in the classroom. According to “Digitally Inclined,” a 2009 research report compiled by Grunwald Associates, teachers increasingly value and use digital media. The Grunwald research also showed digital media is most effective when used to support specific curriculum objectives and assessment.

PBS introduced the Digital Learning Library in 2009 to support public broadcasting stations pioneering the use of media in education, improve student performance, and help close the achievement gap. Alongside PBS’ online professional development and other teacher resources, the DLL aims to maximize the benefits of broadband technology by delivering an innovative product that will educate our nation’s children and ensure that all children have an opportunity to access educational media that help them reach their full potential. This goal is one of the top priorities of the FCC National Broadband Plan released last week. In addition, integration of the DLL into school systems can foster innovation in the classroom, one of the goals of the Obama administration’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania became one of 15 states to advance as a finalist in the national competition for Race to the Top funding.

The PBS Digital Learning Library (pbs.org/teachers/dll) is catalogued by type, grade level, and subject area; state curriculum standards; and an extensive taxonomy of appropriate keywords. Teachers can easily find the content they need when they need it to bring their lesson plans to life. Additionally, the Library platform will deliver a suite of applications to foster teacher effectiveness and support richer integrations into daily classroom teaching. For more information about PBS Teachers, go to pbs.org/teachers.

The SAS, launched in 2009, provides a comprehensive approach to support student achievement across the Commonwealth, helping educators create a 21st century learning environment in which every student succeeds. The SAS is a collaborative product of research and best practices that identifies six distinct elements, which, if utilized together, provide schools and districts with a common framework for continuous school and district improvement. The six elements are clear standards, fair assessments, curriculum framework, instruction, materials and resources, and interventions.

About PBS
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 110 million people through television and nearly 19 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

Last Updated March 25, 2010