Sunday, July 27, 2014

Amplify the Learning with PBS LearningMedia

Why PBS Digital Innovators love teaching

Everyone loves summer - students and teachers alike. We can easily guess what students like to do with their summer, but what about teachers?  I, like many other teachers I know, actually spend a part of my summer planning for the next school year and working on professional development.

This past June I had an unique opportunity to take my learning to a new level when I was chosen as a Lead PBS Digital Innovator.  Earlier this year, PBS selected 100 educators from across the country to join their LearningMedia Digital Innovators program.  From this group, they then choose the top 16 educators to attend the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit in Washington, D.C.  We were also accompanied by our local PBS station representatives for two-days of professional development in our nation’s capitol.

While at the Digital Innovators Summit, I learned a wealth of information and connected with some of the most amazing educators in the country.  I discovered that PBS LearningMedia weaves all forms of media - texts, images, videos, and interactive games - into a dynamic learning experience for all students.  Some great resources shared were PBS NewsHour Extra, a site created to teach current events in the classroom with accompanying lesson plans for teachers to use.  Another was a self-paced lesson on the The Powers of the Government where students can work independently at the speed that is customizable to them.  For hands-on learning, I was impressed with the Nova Elements interactive which allows students to build their own atoms to reinforce their learning.  There are also adventure games like Mission U.S. where a student can role-play to learn about an important historical event.  Lastly, what English teacher wouldn’t appreciate having a go-to place when teaching Shakespeare?

Not only has PBS LearningMedia created and curated great resources for teachers to use in the classroom, they also provide professional development collections like Professional Development for the Common Core, a rich resource for teachers who want to learn how to adapt their lessons to these new standards.  For those who want to create a 21st Century classroom, they need to visit the Digital Tools webpage to enhance their curriculum with technology.  PBS LearningMedia is also constantly evolving and many great additions like Interactive Quiz and PuzzleMaker tools will be added this fall.

PBS LearningMedia is a treasure trove of primary sources, interactive content, and lesson ideas.  Teachers, if you haven’t delved into this online resource yet, you need to start today.  My brain has been churning with all that I learned from the Digital Innovators Summit, and I can’t wait to try them all out when school starts again for me in August.

If you already use PBS LearningMedia in your classroom, please share your favorite PBS resources below.

This post originally appeared on the PBS SoCal Education Blog on July 24, 2014.