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What You Missed at the PBS Digital Innovators Summit

The group of lead innovators gather for a photo at the PBS DI Summit
On June 19, sixteen teachers from across the country converged upon PBS LearningMedia headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the much-anticipated PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit. Members of the PBS Digital Innovator program, these tech-savvy educators comprised a team of Lead Digital Innovators invited to share in two fun-filled, inspiring days of learning about the latest PBS LearningMedia digital resources and instructional technologies. As a lucky member of this group, I can tell you first hand that PBS LearningMedia really knows how to roll out the red carpet for educators eager to collaborate and learn!

On Thursday, the Summit kicked off with an enthusiastic welcome from Alicia Levi, VP of Education for PBS LearningMedia. Sessions to follow included topics such as learning to integrate digital media in curriculum and using PBS LearningMedia to flip classes. Snapping selfies with Mr. Rogers and Big Bird was also a popular activity! A magical evening cruise along the Potomac provided everyone with the wonderful opportunity to unwind as they kept the conversations going.

Lesley MClendon, Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator
The next day, content producers were on hand to take attendees on a deep dive into LearningMedia’s videos, interactives, and digital tools. Wow! With PBS LearningMedia tools, students will be able to play interactive vocabulary games, create posters, build molecules, and tweet out science facts! Alan Gershenfeld, Founder & President, E-Line Media, showed us all how to transform traditional learning methods with the use of gaming! Finally, tech guru Leslie Fisher rocked the Summit with her high-energy presentation of awesome augmented reality apps to use in the classroom.

Since returning from the Summit, my mind is still reeling with all of the amazing ideas I learned. Like everyone else, I am now rewriting lesson plans for the fall and feel inspired to identify new ways that I can use PBS digital tools to engage my students and introduce project-based learning in my classroom. I hope to keep the spirited collaboration going via Twitter, and I’m already looking forward to meeting with fellow Innovators at ISTE 2014.

PBS Digital Innovator, Rob Culp
An especially meaningful aspect of the Summit for me was the camaraderie I enjoyed with my Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) station reps, Ms. Rosemary Jean-Louis and Ms. Victoria Bostic. This dynamic duo was unfailing in their enthusiastic efforts to make sure that I had a great time at the conference, and they kept me laughing the entire time. Rosemary and Victoria warned me that I would feel like a “Ms. America” during the Summit, and they weren’t joking – if you’ve never been followed around by a film crew documenting your every move, I can tell you that it is a unique experience!


Happily, this collaboration with GPB is continuing even beyond my Summit experience, as I am partnering with Rosemary to write a series of posts for GPB’s Passion for Learning blog. Throughout the summer, I’ll be writing about the adventures of my summer students as they experience a variety of fun-filled field trips and explore the use of new technologies. My students are already excited to have read about themselves online and are more engaged in their learning than ever! I can’t wait to learn where this journey with PBS LearningMedia will take us next!

By Lesley McClendon | Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator & Special Education/Language Arts Teacher | Shiloh Middle School, Snellville GA
PBS Station: Georgia Public Broadcasting

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Also, check out PBS LearningMedia’s Storfy recap of the 2014 PBS Digital Innovators Summit and keep up with our entire Class of 2014 PBS Digital Innovators using #PBSDigitalInnovator on Twitter!
—Michael Hammerstrom