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
"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 ( http://www.aetn.org ) 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
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 ( pbskids.org ),
continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments
for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org , one of
the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.
SOURCE Arkansas Educational Television Network; PBS TeacherLine