By May 2003, all television stations in the United States must replace their analog broadcasts with digital television (DTV) technology. The enhanced capabilities of DTV will provide educators with new opportunities to use quality programming as part of their curricula. Public television in particular will become a stronger partner of educators in bringing educational content to the classroom.

The key for educators is to understand that digital TV is not merely television with a sharper picture. Here are some ways public television and educators can work together in the digital era to enhance their current productive partnerships:

  • Quality classroom programming. Public television provides quality programming that teachers often use in the classroom. DTV likely will encourage new experimentation with content and will spur new programming.
  • Interactivity. DTV allows broadcasters to add data files on the broadcast signal for download on individual computers and the capability to provide on-screen links in real time to a web site. The most likely first use of DTV’s interactive capabilities in education will be through the estimated 150 public TV stations that provide professional development courses in the use of computers in the K-12 classroom..
  • Intellectual property. Public television supports broad use of content on behalf of teachers and students, and it will seek to expand these protections in the digital era.
  • Distance learning. Information technology, from print to today’s web technology, has enabled new public and private players to offer education and instruction. Public television will seek to work with educational institutes to develop new educational structures that meet students’ needs.