FPBS Urges Legislature To Fund LearningMedia

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Stories about FPBS that appear in major media outlets

FPBS Urges Legislature To Fund LearningMedia

CapitalSoup.com / June 11, 2015

TALLAHASSEE – FPBS, the Association of Public Media in Florida, is urging the legislature to provide $1 million in funding for the continued of support the newly-enhanced Florida PBS LearningMedia.  Last year’s state funding allowed Florida to be the first in the nation to create an indexed and alignment of the extensive resources of PBS, including Sesame Street, Nova, and Ken Burns documentaries, to all Florida education standards.  These trusted and popular educational assets are organized and available online to everyone at http://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/

“We believe that all children in Florida regardless of where they go to school—public, private, homeschool, daycare—deserve access to this free and innovative educational resource developed to support curriculum-based teaching and learning from pre-K through college,” said FPBS Executive Director Janyth Righter.

After launching just last December, this repository of multi-platform resources houses more than 100,000 digital classroom-ready assets that are being used by more than 64,000 Florida teachers and parents.

“Florida PBS stations have always been partners in education. The customized Florida PBS LearningMedia was launched just in time to assist teachers and parents in finding resources aligned to Florida’s newly implemented educational standards. The service also helps schools meet the State’s mandate that half of classroom instruction be through digital resources by this Fall,” said Righter.

“We believe that learning takes place not only in the classroom, but on a park bench, in a car-seat, and with mentors helping students improve their academic performance,” said Righter.  Florida PBS LearningMedia provides teachers, parents, public, charter, private and home schools an easy to use, trusted tool at their fingertips.  “When the State is asking parents to get more involved in their children’s education, providing access to a resource like the LearningMedia boosts that engagement,” said Righter.

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Florida PBS Unveils Free Digital Learning Platform

By JENNIFER HARWOOD | Panama City News Herald Writer
Published: Thursday, December 4, 2014

TAMPA — One of America’s most trusted sources for high-quality educational programming has introduced a digital learning platform aimed at keeping up with the state’s revamped education standards.

Florida PBS Learning Media gave hands-on training to educators attending the Florida School Board Association and Florida Association of District School Superintendents conference in Tampa on Wednesday. Teachers learned how to use an interactive platform full of video, audio clips and lesson builders.

Districts statewide are making moves to comply with the state’s objectives to move learning online in Florida schools. This year, Florida PBS was awarded $1 million of the education budget for licensure and customization of digital learning content to meet Florida standards.

Janyth Righter, executive director of FPBS, said conversation started in 2006 about how Florida PBS television programming could be repurposed into digestible chunks of content for a digital learning platform. In 2010, the platform was launched.

To date, the platform has compiled over 87,000 learning objects from PBS’s nonprofit association of public radio and television stations into content that is searchable by grade level and topic. That number is expected to grow to over 100,000 by the end of the year.

Watson said Florida PBS Learning Media is a safe place for students to supplement learning online. For parents who are worried about their students getting homework help in risky corners of the Internet, Florida PBS makes premium content available on a safe platform that can be used anonymously.

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PBS Digital Learning Resources Are Customized For Florida Schools

Posted by Mary Riker 12/11/14  WSRE-TV

Pensacola, FL, December 10, 2014—Florida’s teachers, students and lifelong learners now have access to thousands of customized digital learning resources at no cost through Florida PBS stations, including WSRE, with support from the Florida Legislature.

Florida Public Broadcasting System was awarded $1 million in the 2014-2015 state budget to customize more than 85,000 digital learning materials from the national PBS LearningMedia library to meet Florida state standards. The customization is complete, and now Florida PBS LearningMedia provides access to free educational materials which meet the specific needs of Florida’s K-16 educators and students.

This classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted, multi-platform digital resource is aligned to the state’s core standards for classroom instruction and student achievement. Florida PBS LearningMedia is available to all Floridians, and signup is free at florida.pbslearningmedia.org.

The national Public Broadcasting Service is recognized for quality television programming that educates and engages both children and adults. Beyond television broadcast, the PBS LearningMedia digital platform provides interactive curriculum-based content that impacts teacher effectiveness and drives student success in the classroom.

Florida is the first state in the nation where the Legislature has made an investment in the enriched PBS LearningMedia custom service which now offers a solution for Florida schools and school districts to help deepen learning and measure engagement through enhanced content, tools and analytics, and the option to manage and add content that meets the needs of local classroom instruction. The service includes educational materials from PBS programs like “NOVA,” “Frontline,” an array of PBS KIDS programs, and the Ken Burns Collection of documentaries.

An added benefit to local school districts is the analytics and reporting tools that track and measure student engagement, providing reports that Florida educators are required to produce. This reporting can allow for more teacher work hours dedicated to instruction with less time required for administrative tasks.

“Florida PBS LearningMedia offers a very wide range of trusted content that will inspire, stimulate and motivate students,” said Jill Hubbs, WSRE Educational Services director.  “Teachers will find literally thousands of educational resources at their fingertips for creating lessons and to enhance instruction, and they can be accessed instantly and at no cost.”

Hubbs said that approximately 1,500 teachers from the WSRE service area of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties already have signed up and are using Florida PBS LearningMedia.

To view the complete article go to: http://www.wsre.org/blogs/press-room-blog/pbs-digital-learning-resources-are-customized-for-florida-schools/

Florida PBS Launches Free Learning Website

By Leslie Postal / Orlando Sentinel / February 16, 2015

A new PBS website aims to give Florida teachers, parents and students an easy way to find videos, documents and interactive tools to “help bring learning to life.” The Florida PBS LearningMedia site launched in December, with more than 100,000 “assets” that can be searched by grade, subject and even by the state’s academic standards.

The items on the site include clips from PBS shows, documents from the Library of Congress, and pictures from the Smithsonian, among others.

The subjects covered are the school basics — arts, health, reading, math, science, social studies and world languages, for students in pre-K to 12th grade as well as some adult-education topics.

The project is an enhanced, Florida-based version of a national site created by PBS several years ago, one that took station content and turned it into “bite-size chunks” that could be used in class lessons, said Michele Watson, director of education services for Florida Public Broadcasting.

The Florida Legislature last year earmarked $1 million to take the national site and make it searchable by Florida’s academic standards. The project fit with lawmakers’ push for more online learning in Florida’s public schools, Watson said.

The Florida site has about 40,000 registered users, and Florida PBS hopes that grows as more people learn about the free resource.

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Florida Legislature Cuts Funding For PBS LearningMedia


Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a state budget last week that did not include a renewal of $1 million in funding for the state’s customized PBS LearningMedia platform.

Florida’s Association of Public Media (FPBS), an alliance of the state’s 26 public broadcasters, introduced LearningMedia to the state in 2012. The digital platform gives students and teachers access to over 100,000 online resources, including elements of popular PBS programs such as Nova and Ken Burns’ films. The material is organized by grade, subject and Common Core education standards.

Florida has rejected national education standards in favor of its own standards, and FPBS began customizing its LearningMedia platform last year to reflect the change. The legislature provided $1 million to support that work. The newly customized system, launched in December 2014, has grown to reach some 64,000 users throughout the state.

An additional $1 million in funding in the coming fiscal year would have helped FPBS maintain resources aligned with state standards and customize the resources PBS adds to the service. But the Senate’s chief budget writer, Republican Don Gaetz, removed the project from the $78.7 billion budget.  The legislature did approve continued funding for equipment and operating costs among TV and radio stations.

FPBS will explore ways to continue tailoring LearningMedia to Florida’s educational standards, potentially with support from foundations. It has no plans to drop the service, but it may no longer be able to fit LearningMedia to state education standards. Educators might stop using the service if that work ends, said Michele Watson, FPBS’s director of education services.

Charging school districts, as Gaetz suggested, would have cost schools almost $3 million if every district paid separately for the service, and it would have limited access just to public school teachers, Watson said. PBS now offers the system to parents, educational nonprofits and home, charter and private schools as well as public schools in Florida.

Watson said she thinks the legislature rejected a second appropriation mainly because FPBS lacked enough time to demonstrate the importance of a customized LearningMedia as an educational tool.

“I think that we were just beginning to get a real momentum going, and our legislators maybe haven’t heard from some of their [school] districts,” added Janyth Righter, FPBS executive director. “That may be part of the reason it was cut despite growing numbers of users,” Righter said.

The lack of funding will be a big loss for teachers and students, according to Brian Lassiter, a fourth-grade teacher at Astoria Park Elementary in Tallahassee who was named 2015 Florida History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

“PBS LearningMedia has a lot of quality content, and you just want to have something you can trust,” said Lassiter, who has used the service extensively. “When you hear that something you’ve worked with and that benefits students not only in my classroom but across the state [is being cut], it’s disappointing.”

FPBS executives believe digital tools such as LearningMedia are particularly important as children increasingly learn online. A recent Florida mandate requires delivering half of classroom instruction through digital materials by the beginning of the 2015–2016 school year.

Go to http://current.org/2015/06/florida-legislature-cuts-funding-for-pbs-learningmedia/ to read the full story by Henry Schneider.

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