Curves – Learning While Flattening
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By now, you’ve probably seen or shared a social media post about the challenges of navigating the landscape of learning that has been so drastically changed since we’ve adjusted to following social distancing protocols brought on by COVID-19. Institutional adjustments have been made at all levels of public and private education in the interest of assisting students as they complete courses and/or earn degrees. One of the difficulties for educators, and by extension parents acting as in-home educators, has been to translate what has been taught in the classroom and make it both accessible and understandable to students now learning in isolation.

As the parent of two students in Canyon Independent School District, I’m amazed but not surprised at how effective teachers have been in both connecting to our kids and reassuring their parents in how they have adapted their educational content. I’m hearing the same thing from friends with kids in Amarillo Independent School District. As an employee of Amarillo College, I had no doubts that a) our faculty could adapt courses to a tech-support learning environment and b) that our students would respond to it in a positive way.

Seeking an example of how educators of elementary, secondary and post-secondary students have adapted their content to the current situation, I didn’t have to look far to find a great example. For years, PBS Learning Media has served as an excellent resource for educators and parents, providing content to complement what viewers as young as age 2 enjoy as part of the regular program schedule of stations like Panhandle PBS.

To detail all of what PBS Learning Media provides as content for parents, educators and students might be overwhelming. In addition to a regular broadcast schedule on Panhandle PBS and PBSKids 24/7, the list includes apps and games in addition to webinars in which broadcast stations can participate to better serve our viewers. I thought it would more useful to show you what’s available in shorter posts. However, if at any point you want to go and see what’s out there, head to www.pbslearningmedia.org. So here we go…

Do you still have questions or are your kids still asking questions about COVID-19, including why it’s so important to practice good hygiene and social distancing right now? National, state and local leaders are doing their best to explain things to us. I enjoyed Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson’s recent Facebook live session where she answered letters from local children. This gave our kids a local face they recognize who provided answers and reassurance they need. Mayor Nelson also deferred to experts when answering questions related to the facts about the virus.

Using recognizable figures to provide important information is also how PBS Learning Media is teaching us about COVID-19. Shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Curious George and others in the Panhandle PBS lineup have episodes which address the importance of practicing good hygiene. PBS Learning Media goes a step further, and by entering “coronavirus” in the search window you can find content which can be filtered according to age or user-specific needs. That content provides everything from science-based information for older students to “Meet The Helpers” segments which empower younger viewers to join in and be part of the heroic movement of washing hands and maintaining social distancing.

Panhandle PBS is proud to partner with many organizations to make PBS Learning Media more effective for so many in the Texas Panhandle. If you’re someone who has used it, as an educator or a parent, we would love to hear from you. Please send an email to panhandlepbs@actx.edu with “PBS Learning Media” in the title. We want to share any information we can to help those who are doing so much to educate our children.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Depending on where you look, Benjamin Franklin, Confucius and others are all credited with these words. Who said it really doesn’t matter, what does matter is that it seems really important that we do involve our learners. Like you, the Panhandle PBS staff is grateful for all working so hard for them right now.

Brian Frank

Panhandle PBS Content Producer

Program Supporter