Thursday, December 4, 2003

The JASON Project Takes Georgia Students to the Rainforest

The JASON Project is currently engaging students in exciting science, math, geography and reading lessons with JASON XV: Rainforests at the Crossroads. This year's curriculum takes students and teachers on an exciting journey of discovery to explore the Isthmus of Panama region and its fascinating tropical rainforests. The broadcasts will examine such topics as:

* Human history of the Isthmus of Panama
* Tropical rainforest ecosystems of Panama
* Tools and methods of scientific research
* Geology and geologic history
* Watershed and Terrestrial studies
* Interrelationships of local, regional, and global systems
* Management and monitoring of natural resources
* Comparative forest studies

Again this year, PeachStar will assist JASON teachers in sharing with their students the onsite broadcasts with scientists, student Argonauts, and the Project's founder, Dr. Robert Ballard. Rainforests at the Crossroads will air live at the National Science Center at Fort Discovery in Augusta from Tuesday, January 27th until Monday, February 9th. PeachStar will rebroadcast the live feeds from Panama one day later for those classes unable to make the trip to Augusta. Two different, hour-long JASON Project feeds will air at 10 AM and at 1 PM.

If you are not currently using the JASON Project in your classroom and would like to learn more about it, visit for information about training and materials for Georgia JASON Project teachers. You can also learn more about the project by visiting

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

PeachStar's Digital Delivery Makes Learning Available Anytime - Anywhere

As technology trends continue to wax digital, PeachStar remains on the cutting edge by expanding our online delivery system to include greater amounts of high quality programming, including professional development webcasts tailor-made for Georgia educators. Now, more than ever, is the time for teachers and media specialists to begin taking advantage of this alternative delivery system.

PeachStar first made video streaming available in September 2001, allowing students and teachers across the state of Georgia to access educational video clips over the Internet without the use of a VCR. Two years later, our video streaming repository now houses more than 20,000 video clips from more than 5,000 different programs, including many of PeachStar's originally-produced programs. Unlike satellite-delivered programming, video streaming allows teachers and students to search for video assets on-demand by grade, subject area, or keyword. Each of the videos has also been correlated to the appropriate Georgia Quality Core Curriculum Standards; teachers may also search for clips using QCC Standard as a criterion.

PeachStar's video streaming allows educators to utilize video resources in an entirely new way than ever before: through segments. 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.

Just like the programming PeachStar airs via satellite, the videos available via video streaming are subject to copyright limitations. In order to protect the distribution of these resources and ensure their continued availability to Georgia educators, the streaming website is password protected. Each school gets its own username and password, which allows educators from the school to stream and download video resources and ancillary materials. This feature also allows PeachStar to collect information about who is getting the most benefit out of the streaming service as well as those schools who may require additional training and support. The top users of the video streaming service have logged between 30,000 to 47,000 views since the site's inception. The PeachStar team applauds these users for being pioneers with this new educational technology!

Since the site launched, PeachStar has recorded 526,095 successful transactions. This means that 526,095 of video clips have been either downloaded or streamed live for use in Georgia classrooms. Use of video streaming continues to grow as more and more educators take advantage of PeachStar's training opportunities and become familiar with the use of the technology in the classroom. If you would like to learn more about how video streaming can impact your classroom, download the user guide on the PeachStar website at and call (404) 685-2550 to schedule an onsite training.

PeachStar Gets a New Home on AMC-3

When the Telstar 4 Satellite failed on September 19, Georgia Public Broadcasting began working tirelessly to secure space on an alternative satellite so that we could restore service as quickly as possible to the schools we serve across Georgia. We were pleased to announce on October 15 that we found a new home on the AMC-3 satellite, which is located just next to Telstar 4, at 87 West longitude. Once we had secured a new satellite, though, great deal of work remained before service could be restored to each of our receiver sites.

Moving to a new satellite meant that each of the more than 2,400 satellite receiving sites we serve statewide had to be repointed - this was no small task. Working with Convergent Media Systems, the company that provides satellite help desk services to our users, we generated a call list of schools that had contacted PeachStar or the help desk over the last two years. E-lerts and web postings encouraged additional schools to contact PeachStar to ensure they got on the call list as well. Between October 15 and November 5 Convergent called each of the schools on the list and attempted to assist media specialists onsite to repoint the satellite receiving equipment over the telephone. Beginning in late October, Convergent dispatched technicians to those sites whose receivers could not be successfully repointed via phone. They will continue to make site visits until all of our users' receiving equipment has been repointed and their signals restored.

During this period while PeachStar and Convergent are working to restore satellite service we will not be airing our regular schedule. Instead, we will broadcast programs that educators have requested through our Video On Request service, which may be accessed via telephone at 404-685-2580. We will resume broadcasting our regularly scheduled programming in early January, once the work of repointing has been completed.

If you have not yet been contacted by Convergent and still need to have your satellite receiving equipment repointed, please call them at 800-877-7805 or call PeachStar at 888-501-8960 and a technician will be happy to assist you with restoring PeachStar service to your classroom.