Educational Programming Both Over-the-Air and through Datacasting Will Help Bridge Digital Divide
Bethlehem, PA. – September 10, 2020 – As schools and families wrestle with how to learn while socially distancing this fall, PBS39 has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the six other Pennsylvania PBS stations in an effort to provide free resources for children and their families in our community: instructional programming that aligns with state standards broadcast over-the-air, and datacasting to bridge the digital divide.
Beyond an updated broadcast schedule, which brings Lehigh Valley families additional learning through PBS39, the Wolf Administration announced today that it is awarding Pennsylvania PBS stations $8 million in federal funding toward datacasting and $3 million toward datacasting devices. Datacasting uses over-the-air television signals to deliver educational content that can be used on computers without having to access the Internet.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our schools to rethink and rework how to provide instruction to students who are learning completely at home or in a hybrid model,” Gov. Wolf said. “As schools reopen this fall, students need Internet connectivity, computers and other technology, and access to remote-learning platforms. This funding will help our students as we enter the new school year.”
Specifically, the state funding will be used to strengthen public libraries to coordinate work with the Internet Disaster Recovery Center, create Open Educational Resources for students and educators, establish a statewide datacasting initiative with Pennsylvania PBS to connect students to learning content who don’t have access to the internet, and to distribute accessible and assistive technology. This is crucial for the continued success of our commonwealth.
“We already know that Lehigh Valley Learns was invaluable to families in the spring, providing equitable learning at the height of the statewide shutdown. Now, as families grapple with a new hybrid model of learning, we are fulfilling PBS39’s mission to provide students with the best opportunities available, through this generous state funding and the extension of Learning At Home resources,” said Tim Fallon, Chief Executive Officer of Lehigh Valley Public Media.
This initiative builds on the Department of Education’s efforts to support schools in implementing continuity of education plans during the 2019-20 academic year when schools closed unexpectedly as a result of COVID-19. Pennsylvania PBS stations are dedicated to bringing value to our communities as a trusted partner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“PDE is dedicated to creating equitable learning environments for students who must learn from home,” said Secretary of Education, Pedro A. Rivera. “Still too many do not have access to broadband internet. We are excited to work with Pennsylvania PBS to bring the classroom to these students at home through datacasting.”
For PBS39 Learning at Home broadcast schedule, visit PBS39.org/LearningAtHome.
About Lehigh Valley Public Media™
Lehigh Valley Public Media is home to PBS39, WLVR News, and various community initiatives. We are the regional leader in the publicly funded, non-profit media space and serve a vibrant and growing economic region through a dedication to local, unbiased journalism, primary and secondary education, workforce development and health and wellness. PBS39 broadcasts four additional channels of content: PBS39 Extra, WORLD, Create TV and France 24. Lehigh Valley Public Media is licensed in Allentown to the Lehigh Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation. For more information, visit PBS39.org.
Information provided to TVL by:
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Lehigh Valley Public Media