Today, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) announced David Olson, a teacher from James Madison Memorial High School in Madison, as one of 52 educators from across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom change makers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms.
“WPT is excited to collaborate with David Olson, who was chosen from a pool of innovative educators across the country,” said Alyssa Tsagong, WPT Director of Education. (Explore more about WPT Education online!) “Working directly with Wisconsin’s most passionate educators inspires our entire station, and leads to our best work. We are proud that he will represent WPT and our state as he participates in this unique opportunity to work in-depth with the excellent resources and professional development from PBS LearningMedia.”
As a social studies teacher, Olson said he finds his students are most engaged when they get to learn from history and apply their knowledge to real situations. Simulations, authentic textual analysis and games he brings into in his classroom give students the opportunity to see how the things they learn apply to the real world.
Olson, who has employed WPT resources in his classroom, including those from WPT’s WisconsinVote.org project and the Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams documentary, said that digital content helps many of his lessons make the strongest impact. “When I have my students experience life inside a solitary confinement cell using a Virtual Reality headset or [invite them to] create their own political advertisements, it sparks their curiosity and leads them to think of new problems to solve,” he said.
In partnership with WPT, Olson will work to deepen the connection between the educator community and the educational resources offered through public television. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development, share their ideas on PBS platforms, have access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia, receive a free PBS Teacherline professional development course, and are invited to special events, including the 2017 PBS Digital Summit in San Antonio, Texas.
For all educators, PBS LearningMedia offers more than 100,000 digital resources – including lesson plans, worksheets, video content and more, are available through PBS LearningMedia – for pre-K-12 classrooms and other learning environments. Teachers can access this content at pbslearningmedia.org.