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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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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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