Saturday, June 1, 2002

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

You've had almost two months now to feel your way around PeachStar's great new website. We hope you find it as useful as we do! While we're sure you've already discovered them, we wanted to take a moment to really explain two features we feel will be particularly helpful to you as teachers: the new Program Guide and Teacher Toolbox. These two resources will make the integration of PeachStar technology into the classroom a cinch!
Program Guide
When PeachStar staff sat down to begin planning for our new Program Guide, we asked Georgia teachers what would be most helpful to you and used your input to direct the design and functionality of the new guide. Some of what you told us you needed from an online program guide was

* a more dynamic search engine
* more information about program content
* detailed episode descriptions
* program provider information
* copyright information

Well, we've provided all of that and more! To recap from the April article, you can get to the Program Guide in just one step from any page on the PeachStar website. Links to the Program Guide are located on the main toolbar at the top of each page and also on the bottom toolbar of each page to make it easy for you to find the guide no matter where you are on the website. Once you've found the Program Guide main page, it's simpler than ever to locate all the information you ever wanted about the programs you're looking for. You can search for programs in two ways: by grade level and subject area or by keyword.

First let's look at the search wizard, which lets you search by grade level and subject area. This is a big improvement over our old program guide search, because it gives you the ability to run dynamic searches. That means that instead of having to choose to search by either grade level or subject area, you can search by both at the same time! For example, if you were searching for kindergarten math programs on the old website, you had to search for kindergarten programs or math programs because the search engine lacked the capability to look for both criteria at once. Never again! As a matter of fact, our new search wizard allows you to search by grade level and not only one, but two subject area categories, called the primary and secondary categories. Once you've selected the grade level, the search engine will present you with all of the primary and secondary categories that apply to that specific grade level. After you have selected your grade level and primary and secondary categories you are ready to search!

Searching by keyword is also a great way to find information because it allows you to really narrow the scope of your search. All you have to do is type in a word or phrase you would like to find information about and click GO!

Now that you know how to search, let's take a look at the kind of results you can expect. For every search you do, you will be given a list of the series and specific episodes that meet your criteria. In addition, you will be given a brief description of the series as well as grade levels, information about closed captioning, and relevant episode titles. For more detailed information, simply click on the series or specific episode title.

Let's look first at what information you will find on the series results page. For any given search, you will find

* primary subject, secondary subject, and grade range for the series
* episode duration
* broadcast rights information
* series provider information
* URLs to series websites and resources where available
* detailed description of the series
* a listing of all episode numbers and titles with descriptions and broadcast times for each episode

That's a lot of information! And to make it easier for you to use and catalog that information, we've put a special print icon on the screen. When you click on this icon, it launches a new window with all of the series information so that you can print a clean copy of it without also capturing the website graphics. Take advantage of this special feature and have important series information at your fingertips even when you're not online!

Once you decide which particular episode you're interested in, click on the episode title and that will bring up the episode results page. There you'll find even more helpful information.

* primary subject, secondary subject, and grade range for that particular episode
* series provider information
* episode description and broadcast dates
* segment titles, durations, and relevant QCC correlations where available

Teacher Toolbox
This feature may be one of the most helpful ones for Georgia teachers who are learning about PeachStar and the integration of technology into classroom teaching and learning. You can reach the Teacher Toolbox in two ways: from the homepage or under the News tab. To view all of the resources under the Teacher Toolbox in either of these locations, simply click on view all.

The Teacher Toolbox is organized into four main sections:

* Summer Workshop
* Featured
* Workshop In A Box
* Other

Each of these sections contains important information you need to stay on top of what PeachStar is doing for Georgia educators.

The Summer Workshop section contains detailed information about the 2002 Educator-In-Residence program as well as online applications for each of the workshops. In addition to this information, you may also find highlights from the 2001 Teacher-In-Residence program, including a description of the work accomplished in each workshop, participant photos, and brief bios of past participants.

Under the section entitled Featured you will find updated information each month about something new and exciting PeachStar has to share. For example, in April we featured special activities for Georgia educators to use in the classroom to celebrate Earth Day 2002. Look at this section each month to find out what's new at PeachStar!

You may already be familiar with Workshop In A Box, but if not, now is the time to get to know it! Under the Workshop In A Box section of the Teacher Toolbox you will find a link to the Workshop In A Box website, a guide for writing lesson plans, and a guide for developing PowerPoint presentations. Follow the link to the website to learn everything you ever wanted to know about PeachStar Education Services!

Under the Other section, we currently have an informative PowerPoint presentation about Bloom's taxonomy as well as the satellite reauthorization form for media specialists.

The Teacher Toolbox section contains valuable resources to help educators in the classroom. We will continue to update this area with additional tools as they become available, so be sure to check the Teacher Toolbox regularly for updates!

Well, there you have it: the all new Program Guide and Teacher Toolbox. We just know these new additions will make it easier for you to find what you need when you visit our new website! Log on today and start learning with PeachStar!