SUPER TEACHERS NAMED IN WQED/AIU3 PARTNERSHIP
SUPER TEACHERS NAMED IN WQED/AIU3 PARTNERSHIP
PITTSBURGH- WQED has named 16 educators to its first “Super Teacher” panel for early learning. This group will advise the organization on best practices for incorporating public media’s educational assets into the lives of children leading up to and in Kindergarten. Teachers from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, all pre-K specialists, will spend a year delving into and implementing the educational assets provided by WQED in the areas of science, numeracy, literacy, and social and emotional wellness. In particular, the panel – comprised of educators, in-home counselors, Head Start thought-leaders, and DART program specialists (who serve children with special needs or developmental delays) – will focus on and explore a holistic approach to education, mirroring the “Anytime is Learning Time” pedagogy of PBS.
“WQED’s partnership with the early childhood community has been an essential part of our work for 57 years. What’s new and needed is a fresh and innovative look at how education technology and media, mixed with a child’s creativity, can increase his or her capacity to read, write, solve problems, and succeed in the social constructs of Kindergarten,” says Jennifer Stancil, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships at WQED.
Teachers from all over the region are participating, including teachers from Elizabeth Forward, McKeesport, East Allegheny, and West Mifflin, just to name a few. The “Super Teachers” will afford WQED the opportunity to address research in the area of early childhood education, and to better understand educators’ and children’s use of technology inside and outside the classroom. To complement these efforts, the Super Teachers panel – particularly participants who are home-based educators and counselors – will dedicate substantial resources to support parents’ engagement in children’s growth and development.
“It is an honor and a privilege to partner with WQED on this exciting opportunity. Research clearly indicates that early childhood education is vital to academic success. As such, it is imperative that our teachers utilize the most current technology and media resources available,” said Dr. Barbara Minzenberg, Director of Early Childhood, Family & Community Services at the AIU.
WQED’s investment in the Super Teacher panel stems in part from robust feedback received from early-childhood educators via preliminary research conducted during Fall 2010. WQED surveyed early-childhood educators on their use of and familiarity with media and technology in the classroom, identifying important trends, needs, and opportunities in this region. While 64 percent of teachers responded that they currently use technology resources (Internet, computer, online resources, online social networks) in instruction every day, nearly half never teach media literacy – defined as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create messages using a variety of media and technologies – when using mass media in instruction. Most teachers surveyed do not use any kind of technology or media to assess student learning (60%) and are unfamiliar with any academic standards related to these two topics (67%).
Teachers cited lack of training (54%) and lack of time (53%) as the two major barriers to using media and technology in the classroom, but were eager to utilize free digital/online resources, take-home materials for parents, and professional development opportunities to combat those challenges. WQED is uniquely positioned to provide each of these types of enrichment content to help teachers effectively and critically use media and technology as learning tools, even for very young learners. Numerous studies have shown that children who watch PBS’s educational programs learn important academic and social skills more effectively than their peers who aren’t exposed to such shows – even when controlling for socio-economic status, race, and gender. Evaluations of programs like Between the Lions and Super Why! have shown those shows to be effective and improving children’s reading skills, key predictors of school preparedness and graduation success.
WQED offers professional development opportunities to educators related to such programs and others focused on science, technology, and engineering; the organization is committed to equipping teachers with the tools and resources they need to integrate PBS’s high-quality, standards-aligned programming in the classroom, in afterschool settings, and in other formal and informal learning environments. Stancil reflects, “We’re fortunate to have amazing educational resources here at WQED that help children realize their learning potential. Our relationship with educators from the AIU makes the use of these educational materials, both on and off the screen, a key tool for Allegheny County’s young learners and their families.”
About WQED Multimedia
WQED Pittsburgh, honored with the 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award for Station Excellence, was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. The people of WQED create, produce and distribute quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within their community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.
About the AIU
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is a branch of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and provides specialized education services to 42 suburban public school districts, serves approximately 5,000 preschoolers through programs such as Head Start, Preschool Early Intervention, and Pre-K Counts, operates 12 family centers, and manages three schools for exceptional children. The AIU oversees nearly 150 programs for learners of all ages throughout Allegheny County.
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