GV, PBS partner for education technology access

GVL / Emily Frye    
WGVU Development and Grand Valley State University team up for a photo-op with some of PBS most known characters on Sep. 15th.

GVL / Emily Frye WGVU Development and Grand Valley State University team up for a photo-op with some of PBS’ most known characters on Sep. 15th.

Rachel Huck

On Tuesday, students, faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University were invited to attend the first ever “PBS and Pizza” event, held in the Devos Center. Vice President of Education for PBS, Alicia Levi, was available to meet all attendees.

“This is a unique opportunity to talk with and meet Alicia and hear about the perspective of PBS and their role in education,” said Clayton Pelon, associate director for the Center for Educational Partnerships in the college of education. “This is a direct result of the GVSU college of education being the first college in the country to partner with a PBS station.”

GVSU was the first university to begin a partnership like this with any local station.

“(Levi) will be able to bring a great deal of insight into not only what Learning Media is, but how to use is most effectively,” said James Rademaker with WGVU TV. Learning Media is a program provided by PBS to equip educators with free digital content aimed at improving their teaching skills and student achievement.

The event opened with pizza in Lubbers Exhibition Hall and was followed by a formal presentation from Levi. After that, a moderated discussion allowed attendees a chance to ask questions and make comments.

“This partnership was facilitated by the work of WGVU as one of the first stations in the country to pilot the use of the (PBS) site,” said Pelon. “The college wanted to schedule an event during this week where students could learn more about this exciting initiative.”

The event provided a casual and comfortable atmosphere for attendees to ask any questions they might have about the partnership.

“It is a great way for students to gain exposure to a tool they will be learning much more about in their time here at GVSU,” said Rademaker. “They will also have the opportunity to hear and see why the GVSU college of education is so excited about the partnership and tool for their students to use.”

This event provided students, faculty and staff an opportunity to learn about PBS Learning Media, as well as the future of K-16 educational initiatives at PBS nationally as well as specifically in West Michigan.

“PBS has had a huge impact on many of the students attending GVSU through their children’s and educational programming,” Pelon said. “What they decide to do at PBS will impact and chart the course for educational programming for United States for years to come.”

Tuesday’s event also included visits from some favorite PBS characters including Cat in the Hat, Clifford, Super Why, WordGirl and Buddy the dinosaur.

“(The goal is) to inform students, faculty, and staff on the partnership effort and to highlight (the PBS website),” Pelon said. “This free to use site is a huge repository of PBS content with supporting materials for teachers and parents.”

PBS and Pizza allowed the GVSU community the chance to interact with a national leader in educational programming.

“Grand Valley has an opportunity to be an innovative part of the PBS system through the work of WGVU and the college of education,” Pelon said. “More importantly, our students in the college have access, through this partnership, to an enhanced version of the learning media site that has been met with rave reviews from our students.”

The event was hosted by the interim dean of the college of education, John Shinsky.

“Meeting the people making decisions and having a chance to interact with them is a great way to learn the ‘why’ behind trends,” Pelon said. “Also, you never know where networking at events like this will lead you.”