AETN, Arkansas Department of Education, PBS TeacherLine(R) Help Teachers Advance Knowledge, Skills

Arkansas IDEAS Launched to Provide State's Educators With Comprehensive

Online Professional Development Courses and Teaching Resources

Sep 06, 2006, 01:00 ET from Arkansas Educational Television Network from ,PBS TeacherLine

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arkansas Educational
 Television Network (AETN), Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and PBS
 TeacherLine(R) today launched Arkansas IDEAS, an online professional
 development resource for Arkansas educators designed to enhance teachers'
 content knowledge and instructional skills.
     IDEAS - Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools - will be
 accessible to teachers throughout the state 24 hours a day, seven days a
 week. Recent Arkansas legislation requires that all certified employees of
 public schools complete 60 hours of approved professional development each
 year. Educators can count courses completed through IDEAS toward these
 requirements, and Arkansas Department of Education funding allows AETN to
 offer IDEAS to every school district free of charge.
     "Arkansas teachers are shaping the future prosperity of our state and
 our nation through their impact on our students," AETN Executive Director
 Allen Weatherly said. "We are excited to have the opportunity to address
 the needs of teachers in the state through Arkansas IDEAS.
     "This program is a culmination of the commitment to education from all
 those involved in making it possible following years of planning and
     Act 2318 of 2005 created the Arkansas Online Professional Development
 Initiative, a collaborative effort among AETN, Arkansas Department of
 Education and PBS TeacherLine to offer online programs, workshops and
 courses to preK-12 educators in the state. The goal of the initiative is to
 improve teacher quality as a means to increase student achievement.
     Among those on hand to officially unveil the program today during a
 special event at the Arkansas Department of Education were: Arkansas
 Assistant Commissioner of Education Diana Julian, PBS Vice President of
 Education Mary Kadera, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Betty Pickett, Sen. Jim
 Argue and Sen. Shane Broadway.
     "[Teachers] not only teach as the experts in their core subjects, but
 also must design lessons to incorporate the ever-changing technological
 advances being made in our world today," Gov. Huckabee said. "It is
 imperative that we help teachers succeed in this challenge by redesigning
 professional development.
     "I am excited about the opportunities the Arkansas Online Professional
 Development Initiative will provide for teachers. Having access to high
 quality professional development virtually anywhere, anytime will assist
 teachers in meeting the challenges ahead."
     For the 2006-2007 school year, 4,000 course enrollments will be open
 beginning in October. Courses are scheduled for a manageable amount of
 time, typically six weeks, and have a specified start and end date,
 allowing educators to plan for and complete the courses. "Arkansas IDEAS
 offers a comprehensive suite of programs to meet many professional training
 needs and to help educators be successful in their classrooms and in their
 careers," AETN Education Director Kathleen Branton said.
     AETN will offer more than 70 PBS TeacherLine courses as part of
 Arkansas IDEAS. These courses are based on research-supported teaching
 strategies and are aligned with the Arkansas curriculum framework as well
 as national standards. Courses will be available in core curriculum areas,
 educational technology and classroom management. Veteran teachers from
 Arkansas who have earned a master's degree and have been trained in online
 course facilitation and community-building will lead participants through
 these courses. To date, AETN and PBS TeacherLine have trained 35 course
     "Because teachers have a tremendous passion for what they do, they
 continuously seek out ways to enhance their skill set and gain new
 knowledge," Kadera said. "Educators turn to PBS TeacherLine as a trusted
 name in education to provide them with high-quality content.
     "We applaud the efforts of Arkansas legislators and state education
 officials to expand the training opportunities available to educators,
 providing them with the flexibility to choose professional development
 resources that suit their needs."
      Arkansas IDEAS also includes:
      -- Videostreaming, featuring more than 4,000 full-length videos,
         40,000 video clips, 7,000 images, as well as writing prompts, teacher
         resources and clip art. Videostreaming allows educators to build
         lesson plans and classroom presentations.
      -- Arkansas Technology Institute Online, the Web-based partner to the
         traditional workshop sessions offered each summer at the AETN
         headquarters in Conway. ATI Online provides parallel training in
         computers, digital photography, editing, PowerPoint and Web design and
         is easily accessible from any computer terminal with Internet
      -- AETN Scholar Channel, the first statewide television channel that
         delivers programming for the specific educational needs of school-age
         and adult learners. The service is available from any digital
      -- Communication networks, providing Arkansas educators access to message
         boards and the opportunity to share best practices. Educators across
         the state are able to communicate, share project ideas and help
         resolve classroom and professional issues.
     "Our students' future depends on our investment in teacher professional
 development as an integral part of state education initiatives," said
 Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Ken James. "Arkansas
 IDEAS opens the door to increased teacher quality and satisfaction and
 improved student learning.
     "The diligence and dedication of those involved in creating the online
 professional development portal shows our unwavering support for our
 teachers and their endeavor to make a difference in students' lives."
     For more information on Arkansas IDEAS call 1-800-682-2386 or visit .
     Now celebrating 40 years of service to the state, the Arkansas
 Educational Television Network ( ) provides lifelong
 learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans' lives and
 celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming. AETN's
 five transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide
     About PBS TeacherLine
     PBS TeacherLine is committed to helping teachers acquire the skills
 they need to prepare students for a successful future. PBS TeacherLine
 provides high-quality, affordable professional development through
 facilitated, online courses, collaborative learning communities, and
 exemplary Internet-based resources. Currently, more than 90 courses across
 multiple subject areas are offered. Teachers can earn continuing education
 units, professional development points and graduate credits for course
 completion. The courses have been developed in conjunction with leading
 education organizations, including Mid-Continent Research for Education and
 Learning (McREL), Concord Consortium, National Council of Teachers of
 Mathematics, and International Society for Technology Education. Created in
 2000, PBS TeacherLine is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of
 Education for $6,046,811. This represents approximately 85 percent of the
 total program funding. The remaining 15 percent is funded through in-kind
 support from PBS and through program income. For more information, visit .
     About PBS
     PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial
 television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through
 on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and
 the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic
 entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award
 competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12
 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS'
 premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online ( ),
 continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments
 for children. More information about PBS is available at , one of
 the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

SOURCE Arkansas Educational Television Network; PBS TeacherLine