Students across the USA who are digitally handicapped have got the benefit of an apt solution. Education institutions and teachers’ unions have joined hands with local television stations to deliver educational classes through TV screens.
A Bright Idea for Teaching
Timings of the educational shows vary between weekends and after-school hours. The program is aired on weekdays on a public television channel in New York. This channel is part of a PBS channels network collaborating with school districts.
The idea of teaching students through TV is the brainchild of Melinda Spaulding Chevalier, a Houston resident and former TV news anchor. She had first floated the idea to her superior, D’artagnan Bebel, the general manager of Houston’s Fox Station. Bebel was impressed and decided to move forward with the plan.
Within two weeks local teachers were in their first broadcasts, taking compressed school lessons. The teaching drive quickly spread to other Fox stations in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. Local school districts and teacher unions came together to set up school lessons on TV.
Several educators gathered up their resources to feature on TV. They set up tripods, assembled makeshift props and sent in footage. Eric Young, a high school social studies teacher in Chicago, stressed the significance of reviving the school environment.
Issues to Address
Many students remain deprived of adequate digital resources to continue their studies at home. According to a Common Sense Media report, 15-16 million students lacked devices and reliable internet connection at home in 2018.
The school shutdown has amplified the digital disparity among families. As of October, thousands of students could not join online classes owing to lack of access to laptops. Yet on the other hand, 96% of Americans have been estimated to possess a working TV set.
Miss Spaulding Chevalier highlighted the importance of addressing the issue right away. “There are a lot of plans to address the digital divide, but they have four-year rollout plans,” she said. “So what are you doing for the student today, right now, who’s just not getting educational content?”
Educators have claimed that a good connection has been established with students via TV. Children find it difficult to cope up with remote learning. But Ms. Spaulding noted that students are more attracted to teachers on television screens rather than laptops.
Levi is San Francisco resident Latoya Pitcher’s 4-year old son. He is hooked to singing the daily goodbye song with Vincent Matthews, the school district’s superintendent. 9-year old Connor’s mother Chiara Grey is a Montrose resident and cannot afford internet. The PBS classes have greatly boosted Connor’s pace of learning.
Araceli Vivar is a high school student in New York who ensures her brother Valentin’s studies while keeping up her own assignments. The PBS program on TV has made it easier for Valentin to study and for Araceli to focus on her own work.