PBS and member stations launching digital education service


Assembled for their annual meeting in Orlando, PBS and its member stations announced plans to launch PBS LearningMedia. The plan is to have the new public media education platform available to every teacher and student across the country in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

Bringing together the best available high-quality media from 1,500 public media producers and more than 350 local PBS stations, PBS LearningMedia is described as a next-generation digital media platform for PreK-16 classrooms to help re-imagine classroom learning, transform teaching, and more creatively engage students.

PBS stations already claim to be the number one source of educational media for students and teachers, at home and in schools, from coast to coast. Distributed by PBS member stations in every school district, the new digital media platform will deliver classroom-ready, high-quality content tied to curriculum standards, professional development courses, a robust content delivery system, and a flexible infrastructure designed for customization and seamless integration into existing services.

“It takes commitment from the entire nation to help build the classroom of tomorrow, and our member stations stand at the ready to partner in every community,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO. “Digital media content – so pervasive in the lives of children – has the potential to dramatically change the way students learn and participate in a global society.”

Over 60% of K-12 teachers frequently use digital media in the classroom and are increasing their reliance on free resources due to school budget cuts, the announcement stated.

“Public television stations are assisting teachers with free access to carefully produced high-quality content,” added Jon Abbott, president and CEO of WGBH, Boston. “We are maximizing the capacity of broadband technology to deliver a cost-effective education service for school districts and states that will increase student achievement.”

PBS LearningMedia will be available in two tiers from local PBS member stations: a free version available to every teacher and a premium service developed and distributed in partnership with state education departments or local school districts. Premium service options will include additional features such as bulk registrations, detailed analytics, integration with assessments, and credit-bearing professional development courses that will enhance the free content.

Including content from over 55 member stations, independent producers and public institution partners, the first phase of development for the new education platform will combine existing infrastructure models from the PBS Digital Learning Library with local services from WGBH’s Teachers’ Domain and its partners, WNET/New York and Kentucky Educational Television (KET).