PBS Features RGE Teacher

PBS To Feature RGE Teacher
Posted on 06/02/2022
teacher and PBS photographerThe New Mexico Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, will feature a Los Lunas Schools teacher for a news story. Mary Ann Chavez, a special education teacher at Raymond Gabaldon Elementary, found a way to teach her students who have no access to the internet, an issue that made learning nearly impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Out of 17 students in my classroom, 12 of them had no internet,” Mrs. Chavez said. “During the pandemic, attendance was low. I would only have one or two students online.”

Mrs. Chavez applied for and received a PBS datacasting grant, a pilot program through the New Mexico Public Education Department. Datacasting essentially mimics the internet experience, but instead of using broadband or Wi-Fi, it uses the traditional television broadcast signal. Mary Ann Chavez holding antenna

“I am able to upload information to my students who do not have internet,” Mrs. Chavez explained. “It’s a way to get them engaged and provide lessons for them.”

The grant provided each student an antenna and a receiver to use at home. Through a PBS broadcast signal, Mrs. Chavez can upload assignments to her students. The students then download the content to their iPads.

datacasting receiverAlthough the concept of datacasting has been around for many years, the idea of using the technology for education is a new one. In fact, across the United States, several agencies have used datacasting to support public safety and public emergency incidents.

Mrs. Chavez said datacasting eliminates the use of worksheets and handouts.

“We really want to utilize technology,” she said. “In our most recent lesson on the Civil Rights movement, the students used what they learned to create a Keynote presentation and an iMovie.”

While the grant was not available until after students returned to the classroom, datacasting is still a valuable tool. Los Lunas Schools uses iPads and other devices for learning.students using datacasting

PBS filmed Mrs. Chavez and her 6th grade team before school let out for summer break. The story is set to air sometime in June.
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