Digital Ed. Docs and Documentaries from PBS

By Ian Quillen — February 03, 2011 1 min read
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The Public Broadcasting Service is spending plenty of time in the ed-tech headlines this week between a new study and an upcoming documentary.

The study, a collaboration with research firm Grunwald Associates, finds the frequency of classroom use of streaming Internet video rivals that of DVDs and far surpasses that of live television.

“Deepening Connections: Teachers Increasingly Rely on Media and Technology,” the eighth annual such survey of media and technology use, also found that more than three in five K-12 teachers use digital media frequently, and that nearly a quarter use it every day, but that more than half encounter technical difficulties such as slow connection speed when streaming video.

While it’s theoretically possible PBS is attempting a Shakespearean self-sabotage of its DVD and TV content, perhaps it’s more likely to be attempting to make sense of the new medium, much in the same way it explored television before creating shows like Sesame Street (1969-present), Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-1976, 1978-2001), and The Electric Company (1971-1977). They’ve begun some of that work on their PBS Kids online platform.

The study found 78 percent of teachers who use DVDs as educational tools, compared with 76 percent who use online videos and only 25 percent who use live television.

Considering that, it’s no surprise PBS is playing up its online video portal for the documentary “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century,” which premieres Feb. 13. The one-hour film will how instructors use digital media to boost students’ curiosity, civic engagement, and collaborative ability.

No word on whether the documentary will also be available via DVD. You know, to cover all the bases.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.