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Arizona educators get lesson in classroom resources

October 02, 2010

More than 200 Arizona educators descended on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus today for a full-day educator institute conducted by Eight Educational Outreach-ASSET. The sessions focused on the proven classroom resources from PBS KIDS, PBS Teachers and PBS Parents and attendees were given opportunities to test the latest in technologies from mobile apps and widgets to interactive whiteboards.

The four curriculum strands included: S.T.E.M, the Arts, Social Studies and literacy with materials featuring the much-loved PBS KIDS characters Elmo, Sid the Science Kid, Curious George and Electric Company (plus, the latest Cat in the Hat) for younger learners and NOVA, Mission US, and NASA in the classroom for the older students.

The NASA in the Classroom session was presented by Colleen Howard, Arizona’s PBS Innovative Educator of the Year. Dolores Letendre-Salisz, fifth-grade educator from the Paradise Valley school district, was very impressed with the depth of the curriculum.

“I can’t wait to get my hands on the materials,” she said. “Any child would enjoy it, but characteristically it is perfect for the gifted child.”

Donovan Goode from PBS Education explained that by year’s end PBS will offer free professional development modules built in conjunction with NASA on global climate change.

The team from Mission US unveiled their video game for middle school students. The multimedia project allows players to take on the identity of a printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston.

“Unlike previous education video games that were used as an extra to history curriculum or ‘if there was time,’”  Christopher Czajka said. “Mission US is designed to encourage students to think like a historian. The follow-up activities and hands-on experiences are incorporated into the lesson. The game is the lesson.”

Dr. Eduardo Pagán, the newest co-host of the PBS national series History Detectives and an ASU professor of history, was guest speaker for the luncheon session and offered ideas for using History Detectives in the classroom. Pagan also shared fascinating insights into a recent segment featuring a rare Navajo rug that was found on eBay.

Bonnie Feather, a technology trainer for Coconino and Mohave counties and a presenter for the educator institute, spoke of the effectiveness of PBS resources.

“The materials that are available enrich the student’s experience,” she said. “They bring the rest of the world into the classroom.”

PBS Interactive’s Jennifer Rodriguez, presenter for PBS 2.0 for the Classroom session, gave the audience the unique perspective of a content developer.

“We at PBS are humbled by the work teachers do. We love teachers,” said Rodriguez. “And the second thing we love is technology. Technology can enhance what educators have to offer.” She also pointed out research that indicates the newer touch screen technologies are much more intuitive as learning tools for younger children.”

Finally, PBS Education’s Donovan Goode previewed the litany of new professional development tools for educators, including the PBS Digital Learning Library with content from PBS signature shows, PBS stations, and other national organizations.

Exhibits were also provided by: American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Arizona Community Action Association, Bear Essential News for Kids, Communities in Schools of Arizona, Discover Science 4 Kids Science, First Things First, Heifer International, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems,  ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Office of Health Promotion and Education – Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Science is Fun, Sprouting New Beginnings, Treasures for Teachers, and Valley Metro.

About Eight's Educational Outreach

Arizona Pre K-12 students benefit from outreach programs and educator professional development distributed statewide by Eight Educational Outreach-ASSET. For more information visit

About Eight, Arizona PBS

Eight, Arizona PBS specializes in the education of children, in-depth news and public affairs, lifelong learning, and the celebration of arts and culture — utilizing the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach services, and community-based initiatives. The PBS station began broadcasting from the campus of Arizona State University on January 30, 1961.  Now more than 80 percent of Arizonans receive the signal through a network of translators, cable and satellite systems.  With more than 1 million viewers each week, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country.  Arizonans provide more than 60 percent of the station’s annual budget. For more information, visit Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.