ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 24, 2007) – PBS TeacherLine, the Florida Digital Educator Program and the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Instruction and Innovation have partnered to provide online professional development courses to Master Digital Educators in the state. This joint effort is a part of a statewide program that aims to improve the integration of technology across the K-12 curricula for enhanced student learning.

"The partnership with PBS TeacherLine is an important part of our ongoing statewide initiatives to provide teachers with the tools and training they need to enhance student learning through technology integration, especially in math and science," said Kate Kemker, bureau chief of the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Instruction and Innovation. "PBS TeacherLine courses offer just-in-time professional development and align with the skills and programs that Florida´s digital educators need."

Through funding from the Florida Department of Education, PBS TeacherLine online professional development courses will be offered free-of-charge to a cohort of teachers in the Master Digital Educator Program, an extension of the Florida Digital Educator Program. A statewide professional development initiative, the Florida Digital Educator Program helps teachers use instructional technology in ways that support project-based learning and require students to use higher-order thinking skills necessary in today´s global economy.

The PBS TeacherLine courses to be made available to Florida´s digital educators are the ISTE Capstone Certificate Program as well as courses in instructional technology and instructional strategies, specifically designed to prepare teachers to facilitate online courses. The ISTE (International Society for Technology In Education) Capstone Certificate Program is a series of research-based, online professional development courses enabling teachers to demonstrate their mastery of ISTE´s National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETSoT). While participating in the PBS TeacherLine ISTE Capstone courses, teachers build a community of educators focused on technology integration, which becomes an important, lifelong resource for instructional support.

"We´ve established the Master Digital Educator Program as a peer-training tool that allows us to easily expand technology integration training across the state as well as to increase collaboration among educators and share best practices," explained Dr. Shannon White, program administrator for the Florida Digital Educator Program. "Master Digital Educators can enhance their skills and knowledge in technology integration in the areas of math and science with anytime, anywhere access to PBS TeacherLine´s high-quality professional development courses. Then, they can share what they´ve learned with their peers."

The courses will be offered locally by WLRN, PBS´ member station and PBS TeacherLine provider in Miami. Veteran teachers from Florida who have earned a master´s degree and have been trained in online course facilitation and community-building will lead participants through these courses.
The partnership and the Florida Digital Educator Program will be discussed in more detail at the Florida Educational Technology Conference during Kemker´s keynote presentation, "Florida Innovates: Empowering Students and Teachers to Achieve," on Thursday from 7:45-9:00 a.m. and during Dr. White´s presentation, "Florida Digital Educators," on Friday from 1:50-2:45 p.m.

For more information about PBS TeacherLine, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline. To learn more about the Florida Digital Educator Program, visit http://etc.usf.edu/fde.

About Florida Digital Educator Program

The Florida Digital Educator (FDE) Program supports integration of technology across the K-12 curricula through collaborative experiences with new technologies and digital tools. The program helps build a common vocabulary across the state of Florida among educators regarding technology integration and digital tools. Included in the program model is an action research and mentoring aspect to increase data-driven research from the classroom and educator perspective. The FDE program is a Florida Department of Education initiative administered by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). Based on professional development and instructional technology integration research, the FDE program was piloted in 2005 and field-tested in 2006. Ongoing research is used to examine and improve the Florida Digital Educator model. Visit http://etc.usf.edu/fde for more information.

About PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is committed to helping teachers acquire the skills they need to prepare students for a successful future. PBS TeacherLine provides high-quality, affordable professional development through facilitated, online courses, collaborative learning communities, and exemplary Internet-based resources. Currently, more than 90 courses across multiple subject areas are offered. Teachers can earn continuing education units, professional development points and graduate credits for course completion. The courses have been developed in conjunction with leading education organizations, including Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Education Development Center (EDC), Concord Consortium, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and International Society for Technology Education. Created in 2000, PBS TeacherLine is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for $6,046,811. This represents approximately 85 percent of the total program funding. The remaining 15 percent is funded through in-kind support from PBS and through program income. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.

About PBS

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS´ premier kids´ TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (www.pbskids.org), continue to be parents´ and teachers´ most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

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