When it comes to learning and understanding our world, very few things can equal the power of media. 

Digital media content is pervasive in the lives of 21st Century children and it has the potential to change dramatically the way students learn and participate in our global society.

Recent research conducted by PBS helped shed light on the rising role of technology in America’s classrooms. 

Studies have concluded that more than 60% of K-12 teachers frequently use digital media in the classroom and are increasing their reliance on free resources due to school budget cuts.  A national PBS LearningMedia survey of PreK-12 teachers showed that 91% reported having access to computers in their classrooms, but only 22% said they have the right level of technology.  Nearly two-thirds (63%) of teachers cited budget as the biggest barrier to accessing technology in the classroom

PBS and the national network of member stations are committed to using the power of media to help accelerate learning and make it easy for teachers to utilize technology in the classroom, particularly in low-income communities.  For more than 40 years, we have made television programs which can effectively educate. Over the last 20 years, we have demonstrated that if you apply the same principles to the design and production of digital content, whether it is delivered online, on mobile devices, at home, or in the classroom, it can engage and accelerate learning. 

PBS LearningMedia, a free media-on-demand service, was developed to help transform teaching and more creatively engage students. It is a collection of tens of thousands of digital assets produced by PBS producers and organizations such as, NASA, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. The service also provides lesson plans aligned to Common Core State Standards and delivers these resources with background essays, and discussion questions to PreK-12 educators and home-schoolers.

As access to new technologies continues to rise, our mission is to build on this success, and to continue to find the learning potential on every new platform. 

Through a Ready to Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS are partnering on several projects to help build early math and literacy skills of children ages 2-8. 

These projects are aimed at creating and researching educationally sound and developmentally-appropriate media, to empower educators, caregivers and parents to be well-informed media mediators for their students and children. 

The program’s centerpiece is serving core curriculum needs by employing a consistent narrative story line across multiple forms of media, including television episodes, online gaming and printed materials to reinforce educational concepts. We work with the best PBS KIDS television program producers, technology experts, educators, and researchers to produce “transmedia suites” – online games, mobile apps, and interactive whiteboard games – that feature the same characters as popular PBS KIDS television shows and all tie to the same curriculum framework.  

Measuring the impact of our work producing and distributing content is the key to advancing education. We are working with third-party researchers including, WestEd and Boston University to conduct formative and summative evaluations that test the efficacy of using cutting-edge digital technology tools in an educational setting.  As just one example of research that has demonstrated the promise of using multi-media to improve student outcomes, a nationwide study of The Electric Company Summer Learning Program, WestEd researchers reported significant gains for students who used the media 90 minutes a day for 24 days. 

  • 41 percent gain in mathematics vocabulary
  • 20 percent gain in numeracy skills
  • 17 percent gain in phonics skills 

As we continue to look forward and innovate in the educational media space, we invite you to find the ways to embrace technology for students that will help them learn and grow.  And, help us to apply the power of digital media to accelerate and deepen learning to help children achieve success in school and in life.

technology in the classroomRobert M. Lippincott, Senior Vice President, Education 

Mr. Lippincott is senior vice president for Education, responsible for the development and implementation of effective public media educational programming and services for PBS, local public television stations, students, teachers and parents. His tasks include strategic and operational planning, securing new financial resources and leveraging new technologies to expand PBS’ education services. 

Before joining PBS, Rob has served in a wide variety of leadership positions in schools and businesses building and applying media and communications technology to education. He has been a classroom teacher, a member of the faculty ofHarvardUniversity, Graduate School of Education and a pioneer in multimedia and internet design for K-12 audiences. His track record of project, product and learning success with media and telecommunication businesses includes serving as director of interactive technologies at WGBH Educational Foundation,Boston’s public broadcasting station.  

Most recently, Mr. Lippincott served as senior vice president of product development for Discovery Education, the newest division of Discovery Communications, Inc., responsible for the digital video streaming, online and hard copy products developed for the home and school markets. He was President and CEO of the early-childhood assessment company, Children’s Progress, Inc. He also served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Pearson Education company, Family Education Network. 

Rob holds a Bachelor’s degree fromSwarthmoreCollegein Literature and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology fromHarvardUniversity.