As the high school Class of 2020 sees the light at the end of the tunnel to a school year, it’s important to note some of the advances in technology that have changed many aspects of our daily lives over their lifetimes. In particular, the dependence upon broadband and the adoption of the internet into our homes have completely changed the way we communicate. We get connected to the world for information and entertainment, usually catered to our individual (and our family’s) needs.
For many of us, having available broadband is as important to having indoor plumbing in that we don’t think about it until there’s a problem with it. It’s something that can get taken for granted, as I learned last week when Panhandle PBS committed to At Home Learning, an important partnership with Texas PBS, Texas Education Agency, Amarillo Independent School District and Region 16 Education Service Center, with local support from the Mary E. Bivins Foundation and Education Credit Union.
Panhandle PBS is presenting special educational programming designed to supplement online learning now taking place in our area schools due to COVID-19. As part of our participation in the At Home Learning partnership, we’re airing content for PreK through 3rd Grade every weekday from 10 a.m. to noon. Viewers can watch over the air on channel 2.1 or on Suddenlink/Altice channel 3. Other educational content will air as part of our regular schedule, and you can find our program lineup at www.panhandlepbs.org
As much as my family and I depend on the internet, I was surprised to find the number of Amarillo households that don’t have it. U.S. Census Bureau 2014-2018 American Community Survey estimates for the city of Amarillo show that 17,228 households don’t have access to broadband. That number amounts to nearly 23 percent of households in Amarillo, and somewhere in there are school-age children. Those children can benefit from At Home Learning, which is available to anyone who can watch television. It’s crucial to make sure these children and their parents are aware of this resource.
In order to get word about At Home Learning to those without internet, posters have been printed with some of details. We’re fortunate to have great connections in our community to get this information out where it needs to go. But we know that the more people who help – as town criers – the better. If you can think of places where this poster could be seen, it’s available to print at https://www.dropbox.com/s/b65lx0uykoi9448/AHL_8x11_Poster_Sponsored.pdf?dl=0
“Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing ourselves.” — Paul Solarz
Considering how much time we’ve had to spend apart, it’s amazing how creative we’ve become in finding ways to collaborate on things that matter so much. Panhandle PBS is grateful for those who teach (faculty and parents) and the students who have found a way to get through the strangest school semester they could have ever imagined.
Panhandle PBS Content Producer