Embracing Technology for Education

Posted by Tom Axtell on
Tom Axtell
Tom Axtell, General Manager

Educational television has evolved dramatically since our first days as a local broadcaster. Channel 10 began broadcasting in March 1968, offering only three hours a day of evening programming. In September of that year, Channel 10 added six hours a day of weekday educational classes and four hours of high school completion courses for adults on the weekends. Since our inception, part of our mission has been to use technology to deliver education.

Forty-six years ago, the Vegas PBS educational recipe used only black and white television, a classroom teacher, and printed worksheets to educate children and adults. Today we use television, cable, DVDs, Internet games and even mobile phones in our unique role as a public service broadcaster chartered to use technology to deliver education. We still transmit video-based instruction and we still target students needing special help, but our “ingredients” have changed and our partners have expanded.

For example, this month Vegas PBS and the Las Vegas – Clark County Library District will launch a grant-funded effort to assist adults in our community who do not have a high school diploma. The program employs direct instruction and tutoring by library staff, extended access to library computers, and Vegas PBS online courses. Graduates will complete the program with a high school diploma and workforce certificates qualifying them for careers in child care, transportation, building security, food service or office management.

Additionally, Vegas PBS was involved in a program to provide vocational training to juvenile prisoners in North Las Vegas to reduce recidivism. Using funds from employment training programs, Vegas PBS staff worked with the Hospitality International Training (HIT) Line Cook program and prison professionals to design a procedure for online certification exams – a first for Nevada’s prisons. Vegas PBS was able to use technology to deliver education in order to achieve life-changing basic and workforce education for these children.

Also this month, we will air seven hours of high school dropout prevention information programming as part of American Graduate Day. During this national event, we will be one of four stations selected to present a live studio remote. Our seven-minute segment will focus on successful collaboration between the Clark County School District, Communities In Schools, and other non-profit organizations to combat the dropout crisis in Southern Nevada.

When you support Vegas PBS, your membership gifts fund programs like Masterpiece, NOVA and FRONTLINE. Vegas PBS also secures grants to help create a better educated local workforce. A well-educated population strengthens our community, helps our country maintain a higher standard of living, and supports the democratic necessity of an informed electorate. Thank you for your investments in educational “television.”

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