Detroit Public Television launched the Michigan Learning Channel this week. The new channel is dedicated to remote learning and keeping students engaged in education.
Visit the Michigan Learning Channel
Georgeann Herbert, the senior vice-president of Strategy at DPTV, says the effort is a response to several concerns that arose as parents, students and schools tried to manage schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We hear from a lot of parents how challenging remote learning is for their children, how hard it is to keep their children on task, where they do have good internet access,” says Herbert. “Frequently we hear about competition among siblings for access to devices in the home. Obviously, television is something most people have to be able to access good content.”
The program isn’t only for students, however. “Teachers are really stressed and trying to figure out how to teach in this new environment. And we hear about how difficult it is for them to do appropriate lesson planning for each of their sessions, particularly if they’re in a situation where they’re doing some face to face and some remote,” explains Herbert.
The other motivation for the program comes from the issue regarding “lost” students. According to Herbert, “Michigan public schools lost 53,000 students statewide. They’re not enrolled in a school. They’re not homeschooling. We don’t know where they went.” The Michigan Learning channel is one tactic to recapture those students and ensure they stay engaged in learning.
The channel is dedicated to remote learning from pre-K to third grade, with a focus on literacy and reading, math, and social-emotional learning. “But also supplemented with some fun activities,” says Herbert, “Some exercise opportunities, some ‘brain breaks,’ as we call them — things that we know help kids focus, and have some fun, and then come back to learning ready to learn.”
DPTV was quick to engage educators early in the pandemic, and published a daily newsletter with activities that could be done every day throughout the spring until the end of the school year in order to help caregivers keep their kids engaged in learning. The channel itself is a way to mitigate the stress on families and teachers.
“We see that education in Michigan, like many other places, is likely to fundamentally change because of this experience, and we want to align ourselves to be partners with the education community for whatever comes next,” says Herbert.