Wednesday, August 7, 2002

PeachStar 101: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Classroom a PeachStar Classroom

For those of you who are new to PeachStar and for those who just need to brush up on your PeachStar knowledge, we present the 2002-2003 school year kick-off PeachStar Overview issue of Pipeline Magazine. In this issue, you will find out everything you will ever need to know about PeachStar, including:

* Who We Are;
* Who We Serve;
* What Programming We Broadcast and How;
* What Services We Provide;
* How We Share Information; and
* How Technology Can Impact Your Classroom

If you are a teacher, media specialist, administrator, or policy maker who really wants to explore the possibilities of advancing education through technology, this issue of Pipeline Magazine is for you! READ ON, to learn more about how the PeachStar Education Services Division of Georgia Public Broadcasting can help you to make a real difference in the lives of Georgia learners!

What Is PeachStar and Where Did It Come From?

PeachStar Education Services was founded in 1993 by the Georgia Lottery for Education Act. Initially, the Act provided for the installation of more than 2,000 satellite dishes at educational facilities across the state, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, adult technical institutes, and regional libraries. The purpose of this infrastructure was to equalize resources available to all Georgia students by making cost-free educational programming available to every public school learner via satellite.

Once the satellite receiving equipment was in place, the monumental task of providing high quality educational resources remained; PeachStar Education Services was created to fulfill that task. Beginning as one satellite channel broadcasting ITV programming only a few hours a day, PeachStar has become the largest educational satellite network in the United States and the only all-digital, statewide educational broadcasting satellite network in the nation.

The mission of PeachStar Education Services is to provide high quality educational resources that Enrich, Inform, and Support the Georgia learning community. We do that first, by purchasing only the programming that meets our rigorous selection criteria such as compatibility with the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum and high standards of content and production. Second, we broadcast our programming via multiple media including satellite, open-air television, video, Internet, and CD-ROM in order to accommodate the varying levels of technological proficiency of learners throughout the state. Third, we provide resources that supplement our programming in the form of print and online teacher's guides, lesson plans, and training to assist educators with the implementation of PeachStar programming in the classroom.

As new technologies emerge, PeachStar will continue to be on the cutting edge, providing Georgia learners with the highest quality of educational content through the most effective media available.

Who Does PeachStar Serve?

PeachStar is committed to the lifelong education of the Georgia learning community. That means that we address the needs of the youngest preschoolers, K-12 public school children, college and technical school students, adult learners seeking their GED or job skills, parents who want to learn about raising children, professional learners seeking continuing education, and the members of the general public who want to enhance their lives with lifelong learning. PeachStar even has special programming designed to meet the needs of learners who:

* Speak English as a Second Language;
* Have Learning Disabilities;
* Are At-Risk; or
* Are Involved in Alternative Education

Our records show that PeachStar currently reaches 1,955 K-12 schools in Georgia; that's more than 1,400,000 students between the ages of 5-18! The students in 35 technical colleges, 4 research universities, 2 regional universities, 13 state universities, 2 state colleges, and 13 two-year colleges benefit from PeachStar programming each day throughout the school year. Numerous professional organizations including the Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the Georgia Department of Education make use of PeachStar's teleconferencing capabilities for continuing education purposes. Add to that all of the communities served by 64 regional libraries throughout the state and every learner that takes advantage of PeachStar programming aired on GPTV, and you'll see that PeachStar is responsible for a whole lot of learning in Georgia!

PeachStar Programming Résumé

Programming is one of the central components of the PeachStar mission, so we take it very seriously! In order to provide Georgia learners with the absolute best in quality educational programming, PeachStar both produces original programming in-house and acquires programming from vendors nationwide. To date, PeachStar has produced as many as seven original series for use in the K-12 classroom:

* Count On It! - An elementary math series that teaches children to find math in their everyday lives
* Georgia Stories I&II - A middle school social studies series that examines Georgia history in a magazine format
* Irasshai - A high school and adult Japanese telecourse that may be used for foreign language credit
* Irasshai Explorer - A middle school introduction to Japanese language and culture
* Salsa - An elementary Spanish language series that even non-Spanish-speaking teachers can use
* SmARTistic - A middle school video designed to encourage the integration of art across the academic curriculum
* Transitions - A high school series designed to help seniors make the transition to college or technical school

PeachStar only purchases programming that lines up with Georgia's Quality Core Curriculum. In order to make sure that we chose programs that would really make a difference in Georgia classrooms, we asked the experts: Georgia teachers! During spring 2001, PeachStar devoted several weeks to the Programming Acquisition Project. More than 500 Georgia teachers came to the Georgia Public Broadcasting facility in Atlanta to take part in this initiative, where every potential programming offering for the 2001-2002 school year was evaluated according to a preset rubric to determine if it met the standards of quality needed to be selected for broadcast in Georgia classrooms.

Thanks to the help of these teachers and dedicated PeachStar staff, PeachStar now boasts a repository of more than 300 programs and series for a total of 1,268 hours and 11 minutes of high quality educational programming. Below is a breakdown of PeachStar programming by content area:

Content Area Number of Hours
Adult Literacy 30+ Hours
Academic Assistance 10+ Hours
Art 20+ Hours
Character Education 10+ Hours
Foreign Language 160+ Hours
Guidance 15+ Hours
Health 15+ Hours
Language Arts 150+ Hours
Mathematics 50+ Hours
Music 20 + Hours
Professional Development 400+ Hours
Science 190+ Hours
Substance Abuse 10+ Hours

Just think! Because of PeachStar's commitment to serving the Georgia learning community through multiple media, this amazing library of educational video is available to nearly every learner in Georgia in one format or another.

PeachStar currently broadcasts 18 hours of programming per day on each of four satellite channels:

* 400
* 410
* 420
* 430

With four channels worth of programming, PeachStar is able to meet the needs of every population within the Georgia learning community including pre-K, K-12, college level students; adult learners; and professionals seeking continuing education.

In addition to programming delivered via satellite, PeachStar delivers educational resources in a variety of other formats. Every weeknight, as part of the GPTV Overnight schedule, PeachStar airs instructional programming geared towards parents and adult learners. That way, learners who don't have access to a satellite can still benefit from PeachStar programming. PeachStar's video streaming effort now allows Georgia students and teachers to access educational video clips via the Internet without the use of a television or VCR. Like PeachStar's satellite and open-air video resources, video streaming is a free resource for Georgia schools.

PeachStar has developed a CD-ROM-based curriculum for educators seeking add-on certification in interrelated special education, as well as additional CD-ROMs dealing with foreign language and cultural learning and the use of PeachStar in the classroom. In addition to these resources, PeachStar has VHS sets of original programs available for purchase.

So you see, PeachStar is committed to getting our educational resources into Georgia classrooms no matter what route we have to take video, satellite, Internet, television, or CD-ROM!

How We Can Serve YOU!

PeachStar supplements our programming with a number of services designed to enhance the use of PeachStar resources in the classroom. Each of these services, tailored to meet the needs of all Georgia educators and learners, is available to Georgia schools at no cost.

PeachStar's award-winning Video On Request (VOR) service is a satellite re-broadcasting service that allows teachers and media specialists to request special feeds of certain shows you would like to use in the classroom. If you miss a broadcast of a specific program, or if we do not currently have the program of your choice scheduled, just call (404) 685-2580 or visit to request that we air it. Teachers and media specialists who take advantage of the VOR service can expect to hear back from us with the date and time for your re-broadcast within 48 hours of placing your request!

PeachStar's teleconferencing capabilities allow groups to share important information across Georgia and across the nation. Professional organizations like the Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers use the PeachStar satellite network to broadcast seminars so that offsite members can receive continuing education credit from remote locations. Educational organizations like the Office of School Readiness and the Georgia Department of Education's Leadership Academy, also use PeachStar's teleconferencing infrastructure to reach interested viewers across the state.

PeachStar reaches Georgia's preschool community through Public Broadcasting's Ready To Learn service, an initiative designed to help all children get prepared for school before they begin! In order to provide the best service to Georgia's young children, two of Georgia Public Broadcasting's divisions have joined forces. Together, GPTV and PeachStar are committed to the education of Georgia's preschool-aged children, and we show it by providing:

* A daily lineup of children's programming specially designed to meet the needs of preschool and school-aged children;
* Educational messages between programs that urge children to be creative, curious, cooperative, and responsible learners;
* Supplementary educational materials for children and adults;
* A strong literacy component including a family magazine and First Book, a program to distribute free books to children who would otherwise go without them; and
* Training sessions and workshops for families, teachers, and caregivers to teach them important skills like helping children to read and develop healthy TV viewing habits.

The newest service PeachStar has brought into Georgia classrooms is our video streaming service, which has literally transformed the way students and teachers use video in the classroom. Segmented video resources give educators the flexibility to select only those clips that apply directly to the standards they intend to teach rather than using valuable class time showing an entire full-length video. Every media specialist at every school in the state was contacted last school year and given a username and password that allows teachers at their school to access PeachStar's video streaming website. Once you're logged in, teachers, media specialists, and students can search for video clips by grade, subject area, keyword, or Georgia Quality Core Curriculum standard. Video clips may either be streamed live or downloaded and saved on your classroom computer for later use.

Perhaps one of the most important services PeachStar provides to Georgia educators is onsite training. Any school in the state with a substantial number of interested teachers can request a training and PeachStar staff will come to you and give you an extensive training covering all facets of PeachStar programming and services. Simply call PeachStar at (404) 685-2406 and we will schedule it!

Information Sources

PeachStar wants to make sure that you have access to all the information you need about what we have to offer, so we've provided several ways for you to learn more about what we're up to.

We asked teachers and media specialists what their number one way of finding out information about PeachStar and you said Pipeline! We sure are glad to hear it! Each month we send this magazine to over 80,000 educators in the state to keep you up-to-date on our broadcast schedule and latest projects. In January of last school year, we brought you "How To Use Your Pipeline Magazine: A Primer," and we feel like it shared some pretty important information. Since we're starting off a brand new school year, we've decided to reprint it for you to make sure everybody is familiar with how to find what you need to know in Pipeline. Check it out on page INSERT for more information!

Another great source of information is PeachStar's website. In addition to providing links to Georgia Public Television and Georgia Public Radio, PeachStar's website offers the latest news about PeachStar events and programs as well as information about the following: broadcast schedule, program information, original programming, services, Pipeline Magazine, and partners. Teachers and media specialists can search for broadcast dates and times or request special feeds of programs you would like to use in the classroom. You can also find PeachStar programs through searches by keyword, grade and subject area, or QCC standard.

The Workshop In A Box site is a special component of the PeachStar website that offers Georgia educators a complete introduction to PeachStar Education Services. The site is broken down into four main sections: About GPB, About PeachStar, Teacher Toolbox, and Sample Lessons. Under the section entitled About PeachStar, you will find an exhaustive description of PeachStar programs and services, special projects, and technical requirements. Under the Teacher Toolbox section, you'll find helpful PowerPoint presentations about Bloom's Taxonomy and a how-to for creating multimedia PowerPoint presentations for classroom use, plus a template for creating lesson plans. The section called Lesson Plans offers model lesson plans covering a variety of topics and grade levels. You can't find a better source for information about PeachStar than this!

Why You Should Bring PeachStar Into Your Classroom

Well now that you know a little bit more about what PeachStar has to offer, let's look at how it can impact your classroom. You can never have too many resources to supplement teaching and learning, and what's great about PeachStar is we're right there in your classroom any time you need us! Just think of all the ways PeachStar and video in the classroom can make a difference! Video can

* Invigorate the classroom
* Motivate your students by example
* Model exceptional practice
* Effectively demonstrate concepts
* Appeal to different learning styles
* Bring technology into the learning experience
* Globalize your students' learning by bringing the world into the classroom

And don't forget, now that PeachStar offers segmented resources through video streaming, you can pinpoint the specific concepts you want to teach and show only those clips that directly address them. This will not only save valuable class time, but will also offer you a ready resource for illustrating each concept you need to cover.

With everything we can offer you as an educator, the real question is why wouldn't you use PeachStar in the classroom?