GVSU teams with PBS to enrich student experience

Austin Phillips

Since its beginning, PBS has played a role in shaping our community, from television to education. Just over four years ago, they launched a program called LearningMedia, an online educational tool with various forms of state and national level content in order to further their mission of informing the public. 

Since the launch of this program, 300 million students have had access to LearningMedia and over 87,000 digital interactive programs. Earlier this month, PBS announced its first partnership with a higher learning institution, Grand Valley State University’s College of Education, in hopes of taking LearningMedia to the next level and one step closer to their goal.

With content tailored for all grades, subjects and educational standards, there is a wide variety of information available. 

“I think what it does do is sort of break up the educational experience,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Children are surrounded by media, and it gives every classroom access to the same content so you’re not navigating through the budget of a school district in order to have access to this array of content. The content is current all the time, which is quite powerful. And actually, it’s heavily used by homeschoolers too, so it’s not just used in a traditional school setting.”

As technology continues to advance, so does educational standards and styles of learning. PBS is continuing to make changes with the goal of revolutionizing their material for the shifting demands of the world. Kerger says they are constantly looking at new technologies as they evolve to try to meet the demands of the ever-changing world.

“A lot of apps have been developed around this idea of having to really push the envelope to what the technology can really achieve and then using it for its best possible purpose and not necessarily just commercial ones,” Kerger said.

Kerger explained that PBS is constantly looking at technology to see how it can be used for educational purposes. She said there is a group of people dedicated to making sure that the content available on the website is up-to-date and correct. They are also looking at the usability of this website for both teachers and students when updating the website.

“I think that the real power is in getting teachers to use this technology, because the way we will evolve the product is by getting feedback from teachers and also things that they would like to see coming out of the product. That’s how we will make changes to it when we move forward,” Kerger said. “My goal is that every teacher in the country has access to LearningMedia, and that it is part of the curriculum of every college education.”

The goal of the technology is to give students the ability to prepare for standardized tests in advance, practice a particularly challenging subject or explore various facets of content allowing them to gain a more liberal education. GVSU’s College of Education staff hopes that by getting involved, students will recognize this opportunity to allow them to have an even more liberal education, in turn giving them the opportunity to get a more holistic educational experience.

[email protected]