Sunday, December 5, 1999

Helpful Hints

These suggestions were submitted by David Taggart, a 5th grade teacher in Muscogee County, who has been using PeachStar video resources in his classroom for six years.

Teaching to the Tube

* Preview what you're going to show in the classroom. You need to see what is going to be shown. This allows you to plan what you need to emphasize and reinforce. And you know what your class is like. The PeachStar Program Guide is very good, but it is not perfect. A program listed as "Grades 2 to 5" may not really be suitable for a high-performing 4th grade class.
* Tape it; don't show it live. Teaching from a VCR allows you better control for instruction. You can stop the action on the television, go into discussion, and then return to the tube. Not to mention fast-forwarding through the boring parts.
* Get a wall-mount for the TV and the VCR. They only run a hundred bucks or so, and they put the action up high, where it can be seen across the classroom. Plus, mounting them that high allows you to roam the classroom and stand by your problem children, able to control the action with your remote control.

Thanks to David Taggart for taking the time to share his good ideas with colleagues across the state. Send your Helpful Hints to Wagers Chenault by phone at (404) 685-2588, or e-mail, or fax to (404) 685-2556, or mail to 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. Include your name, title (with grades and subjects taught, if you are a classroom teacher), your school and system, and a phone number or other contact information.

Sunday, November 7, 1999

PeachStar Partners with the Department of Juvenile Justice

In early June, Orlando Martinez , the new Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was in our facility taping Georgia Week in Review, one of GeorgiaPublic Television's popular public affairs programs. Alert PeachStar staff took advantage of that opportunity to acquaint the Commissioner with the potential of the PeachStar Satellite Network. All Youth Development Centers (YDCs), which areDJJ's facilities for incarcerated youth, are equipped with satellite dishes and are therefore ideally suited to take advantage of PeachStar's instructional programming.

Since that first meeting, PeachStar and DJJ staff have identified several ways the two organizations can work together. Activities will focus on training principals and faculties at YDCs to use PeachStar programs and services to meet the needs of incarcerated youth. Other professional development opportunities, including upgrading teacher certification, can also be delivered direct to DJJ faculty and staff via PeachStar. This will be a tremendous help to DJJ faculty whose students are with them year round.

PeachStar and DJJ see a tremendous potential for using distance learning to reach out and serve some of Georgia's students who are most in need of a quality education.

Tuesday, November 2, 1999

PeachStar Adds a New Channel

In the past, PeachStar's primary channel has been 410, and most of the 410 schedule has been dedicated to serving K-12 classrooms, with some staff development and postsecondary programming offered afternoons and evenings. Channel 430 has been an "occasional" use@ channel, which PeachStar has used from time to time to air blockfeeds and programming that wouldn't fit on Channel 410. Other parties, including commercial clients, also have used the 430 channel when it was available.

* As of now, both 410 and 430 will be used exclusively by PeachStar.
* PeachStar Channel 410 will continue to provide programming for early childhood education, grades Pre K - 12, and professional development for teachers, media specialists, and school administrators.
* PeachStar Channel 430 will be used to provide customized broadcast schedules through the very popular Video on Request service. Channel 430 will also air programming for postsecondary students attending colleges, universities and technical institutes as well as broadcasts aimed at adult learners including continuing education and adult literacy.

More Good News: Georgia Public Television (GPTV), which broadcasts programming to all Georgia homes, soon will expand its broadcast day to a full 24 hours, six days a week. The target date for this expansion of service is January 3, 2000. PeachStar's instructional programming will make up a significant portion of GPTV's overnight schedule. This will allow Georgians without special satellite receivers to take advantage of PeachStar's video resources.

With these changes in place, PeachStar can more fully realize its mission - "to broadcast quality programming to learners of all ages and support services to those who assist the learners"

Sunday, October 24, 1999

Georgia Stories Web Site Expands

Georgia Stories: History Online, a web site that supports and expands on many of the study topics of PeachStar's popular Georgia Stories I & II video history series, has added two new sections of interest to 8th grade social studies teachers.

"Colonial Georgia (1732-1776): Daily Life in Early Georgia - James Oglethorpe" corresponds to Program 4 in the Georgia Stories I video series.

"The First Century of Statehood: Pre-Civil War Georgia (1784-1860): The Trail of Tears" corresponds to Program 8 in Georgia Stories I.

Georgia Stories: History Online presents primary source materials, annotated web links, student study questions, and teacher-only information that provides background to questions and topics. Teachers should consult the password information section (from the Home page click on "Schools" and then "Gaining Password Access") to take full advantage of this educationally rich resource.

The site is a wealth of information and has been visited by scholars around the globe. (Tony-winning author Alfred Uhry used Georgia Stories: History Online when he researched the musical Parade, which tells the Leo Frank story.) When you visit the site, be sure to read and sign the "Guest Book."

As funding becomes available, more sections will be added to the site. It is hoped that eventually, every study topic in the Georgia Stories video series will be enhanced by Georgia Stories: History Online. The web site is a collaboration between PeachStar Education Services and Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).

Friday, October 8, 1999

Georgian Named Top Library Media Specialist in U.S.

Nancy Clark, until recently the library media specialist at Druid Hills High School in DeKalb County, is the 1999 School Library Media Specialist of the Year. Clark received the national recognition from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). This summer Clark accepted a new position as Instructional Technology Coordinator for DeKalb County Schools. She had served as media library specialist at Druid Hills High for 18 years and before that was a classroom teacher for seven years.

The AECT award is the latest of many honors that Clark has received in her career. In 1997 she was named Georgia Media Specialist of the Year by the Georgia Council of Media Organizations. Clark considers herself "first and always a teacher," and her students and colleagues agree. She was Druid Hills High's 1997 Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the Emory University Excellence in Teaching Award for 1987 and 1995.

Throughout her career Clark has served in many professional organizations, often in leadership capacities. She is a past president of the Georgia Library Media Association. Community activities include involvement with Habitat for Humanity, the Women's Resource Center, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Red Cross and Eglestons Children's Hospital.

Clark is a big fan of the PeachStar Satellite Network and reports that Druid Hills has used Georgia Stories, SALSA, GED, NASA programming and various programs on history, health and safety and staff development, including Technology in the Classroom and Multimedia in the Classroom.

"I think the resources that our satellites make available to unserved and underserved areas are especially valuable," Clark says. However, she expresses concern that many schools with limited resources may not be able to take full advantage of satellite and cable resources because they cannot afford technology such as descramblers and school-wide distribution systems. "We must continue to expand and improve the access to all students and teachers."

Nancy Clark is a tremendous asset to the students, faculty and staff of DeKalb County Schools, and she is an outstanding representative of all Georgia educators. Congratulations to Nancy Clark, 1999 School Library Media Specialist of the Year.

And if you're going to be at COMO ...

PeachStar will host a special reception honoring Nancy Clark at the Georgia Council of Media Organizations (COMO) conference on Jekyll Island. The reception will be in Room #8 ("Ocean View") of the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Thursday, October 21, from 7:15-8 p.m. Come by and say hello - and receive a free gift from PeachStar!