The following Q&A is a discussion between TechDecisions staff and Sara Schapiro, Vice President of PBS Education, about TeacherLine, EdTech, and more:
TD: Can you provide me with a quick overview of TeacherLine?
SS: PBS TeacherLine is a core part of PBS’ strategy to deeply support all teachers PreK-12 across the country, and offers both facilitated and self-paced courses. Our facilitated courses offer teachers online professional learning with the guidance of an experienced facilitator and a small cohort of committed, inspiring teachers. Our courses are designed to help teachers acquire innovative strategies, content knowledge, and practical tools that can be immediately implemented in the classroom through a flexible, online environment.
Each facilitated course from PBS TeacherLine has been designed to offer a best-in-class learning experience.
TD: How is TeacherLine different from other online PD offerings?
SS: PBS has been working with teachers on their professional learning for decades. We created PBS TeacherLine to offer a unique opportunity to learn with the guidance of an experienced facilitator and the community of a small cohort of committed, inspiring teachers — built on the foundation of trusted PBS media content. PBS TeacherLine courses are designed to help teachers acquire innovative teaching strategies, content knowledge, and practical tools that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. Our model includes one-on-one feedback from a course facilitator and peer-to-peer collaboration with other teachers taking the course. Because of this unique approach, our courses have a ~93% completion rate, which is almost unheard of in online professional learning, and 90% of teachers are likely to recommend these courses to colleagues.
TD: As a media company, does PBS offer media literacy courses through TeacherLine?
SS: Yes! We partnered with KQED, the PBS station serving the San Francisco Bay Area, to offer PreK-12 teachers free certification in media literacy. The PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification by KQED recognizes educators who excel in creating and implementing instruction with media, and provides support to help all teachers accelerate these skills.
PBS and KQED offer a pathway to certification through a portfolio submission process. For educators who need support in building the competencies, free media literacy courses are available on KQED Teach to help teachers improve their skills in specific areas.
The KQED media literacy courses help educators develop competencies, including the ability to create original content using multiple media production techniques, share original media on a variety of online platforms designed to reach specific audiences, implement lessons that help students foster media skills, and more.
Teachers who complete the certification program will be connected to their local PBS station and receive a certificate and a digital badge signifying their status as a PBS Media Literacy Educator.
*For more information, you can visit: http://www.kqed.org/certification.
TD: More broadly, how do you see technology being used in the classroom, and how will PD programs like TeacherLine help teachers maximize its potential?
SS: Just like Mister Rogers used television as a tool for learning, we too use technology in all its forms as just that — a critical tool. Technology can be a fantastic resource in helping students thrive and continuously learn in an ever-changing world and – most importantly – can be a powerful jumping-off point for the great teachers, parents, and caregivers in their lives to facilitate that learning.
But we also know that teachers need support from programs like PBS TeacherLine in order to improve their practice and effectively use technology and media in the classroom. PBS recently conducted a survey with educators, in partnership with DreamBox Learning and the Education Week Research Center, on whether or not educational technology can be an effective tool to improve student outcomes. While educators overwhelmingly agreed that technology was an important tool, more than two-thirds of teachers and administrators say teachers could use more training in using technology tools. Sixty-two percent say they need professional development in pedagogy and instructional methods, which is where PBS TeacherLine comes in to help support teachers in improving their practice.