KET’s Opioid Initiative investigates opioid epidemic with programs, new website

Friday, May 6th, 2016 by Tom Martin

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America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Drug overdoses from both illegal drugs and prescription painkillers now account for more accidental deaths than motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more deaths due to opioid overdoses than any other time in history, killing 78 people every day. Those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 1999. In Kentucky, overdoses from opioids kill more than 1,000 people every year.

Inside Opioid Addiction, a new ongoing KET initiative, serves as an in-depth source of information about the epidemic via programming and online resources.

The initiative’s website, KET.org/opioids, will include archived KET and national programs addressing America’s growing opioid problem. These include a series of One to One with Bill Goodman programs premiering this month that feature interviews recorded at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, organized by U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and Kentucky-based Operation UNITE. In these interviews, local and national drug policy experts, scientists, and leaders – including Rep. Rogers, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy; and Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – discuss ways to curb the alarming addiction statistics.

Throughout the year, KET’s Kentucky HealthConnections with Renee ShawKentucky TonightComment on Kentucky and Legislative Update will all address opioid addiction and related legislation, in addition to national series that tackle the issue, such as FRONTLINE. After airing, these programs will be available for online streaming via the initiative’s website.

The initiative also includes plans for a KET documentary about Kentucky’s battle against the opioid epidemic, which is scheduled to premiere in early 2017.

KET’s Inside Opioid Addiction is funded in part by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and facebook.com/KET and at KET.org.

Eighteen Kentucky teachers named 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 by Tom Martin

PBSLM Digital InnovatorsEighteen Kentucky teachers have been selected to participate in the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program. The program, which is in its fourth year, honors tech-savvy K-12 educators from across the country who serve as leaders in the use of educational technology and incorporation of digital media into their classrooms.

Educators were selected based on submission of videos and written essays that addressed how they are creatively using digital technology and tools in the classroom to drive student achievement.

Kentucky’s 2016 PBS LearningMedia Lead Digital Innovator is:
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James Wampler, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville

“Digital Innovation is important in today’s classrooms because students need exposure to proper utilization of technology to connect them in relevant, engaging and information-rich ways to the real world that they live in,” said Wampler, who teaches eighth grade science. “I’m really looking forward to meeting representatives from other states to see how they are using technology as a tool for student engagement and growth.”

Additionally, seventeen Kentucky educators were identified as Local PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators:

Jamie Chenault, Lakewood Elementary School, Cecilia

Sara Byron, Kentucky Country Day School, Louisville

Lori Corbin, Webster County High School, Dixon

Savannah Denning, Lincoln Elementary School, Franklin

Kristie Ennis, Waggener High School, Louisville

Nicole Glover, Louisville Collegiate School, Louisville

Carrie Gupton, Meade County High School, Brandenburg

Stephanie Hagan, Saint Athanasius School, Louisville

Willa Johnson, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, McRoberts

Justin Kirby, Adairville School, Adairville

Amy Madsen, George Rogers Clark High School, Winchester

Melissa Metcalf, Foley Middle School, Berea

Sam Northern, Simpson Elementary School, Franklin

Jessica Pass, Boone County High School, Florence

Sarah Shartzer, Kentucky Country Day School, Louisville

Jennie Watkins, Corbin Intermediate School, Corbin

Denise Webb, Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Louisville

The 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive year-long professional development opportunities, a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course, networking opportunities and more. Kentucky’s PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will also receive ongoing support in their communities from KET.

In addition, the 52 Lead Digital Innovators will receive an all-expense paid trip to Denver, Colorado, to participate in the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

“KET congratulates these talented Kentucky teachers for their use of digital media – like the instructional resources KET produces – to engage students and make a real difference in the classroom,” said Nancy Carpenter, KET’s senior director for education. “They will represent KET and the entire state as they continue to enhance their skills with these one-of-a-kind resources, tools and training from PBS LearningMedia.”

The full list of 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators is available here.

New study finds first-graders’ math knowledge increases with PBS KIDS’ Odd Squad

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 by Tom Martin

PBS Kids Odd Squad A new study by WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development and service agency, confirms the positive educational impact of the PBS KIDS series Odd Squad. The series, for children ages 5-8, airs at 4:30/3:30 pm Monday-Friday on KET and weekdays at 6:30/5:30 am and Saturdays at 10/9 am on KET2. The series is also available on demand through the PBS KIDS app.

First-graders’ knowledge of algebraic thinking, as well as of numbers and operations, increased significantly during the study in which the children, their families and their teachers used digital and hands-on resources from the series Odd Squad. Materials used in the classroom by teachers and participating children, and at home by children and their families, included television episodes, online games, video clips and hands-on activities.

Teachers used episodes and related resources from Odd Squad in their classroom instruction. At home, parents were encouraged to watch an Odd Squad episode with their child, then discuss it and do an activity together about the math content in the episode.

Key Findings

  • Over the course of the study, students’ overall knowledge of mathematics in the domains of numbers and operations and algebraic thinking increased significantly
  • In sub-categories of mathematical knowledge, students showed significant and positive pre- and post-changes on their knowledge of skip counting, pattern recognition, and simple addition and subtraction
  • Children who were exposed to the PBS KIDS transmedia resources outscored their comparison group peers
  • Parents’ awareness of their children’s mathematics development significantly increased over the course of the intervention.

The study, “Odd Squad: Learning Math with PBS KIDS Transmedia Content at School and Home,” was conducted on behalf of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the PBS Ready To Learn initiative. More information is available at CPB.org.

This research study is the sixth WestEd study that has analyzed and found positive effects on early learning from PBS KIDS’ television, hands-on activities and interactive content. Previous studies have demonstrated the learning impact of other PBS KIDS series, specifically, Peg + Cat, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Sid the Science Kid and Curious George.


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