Teachers on TV to Narrow Digital Divide
Around the country, educators and local television stations have teamed up to help teachers make their broadcast debuts and engage children who are stuck in the doldrums of distance learning. The idea — in some ways a throwback to the early days of public television — has supplemented online lessons for some families, and serves a more critical role: reaching students who, without reliable internet access or a laptop at home, have been left behind.
In some places, the programs air on weekends or after school. Elsewhere, districts have scheduled time to watch it during the school day. In New York, the program airs every weekday on a public television channel.
Fox stations in several cities are airing teachers’ lessons as well, thanks to Melinda Spaulding Chevalier, a Houston resident and former TV news anchor who thought of the concept in March. She pitched a daily program featuring teachers to her old boss, D’Artagnan Bebel, the general manager of Houston’s Fox station. He was in.
Less than two weeks later, local educators were on the air, teaching condensed lessons for an hour.
The concept quickly spread to Fox stations in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, all of which joined with local school districts or teacher unions to put teachers on television.
“We’re not solving the digital divide, but from my experience with the personal connection of coming into a viewer’s kitchen or living room, I felt this could be a more immediate way to help bridge the gap,” Spaulding Chevalier said. “We’re letting them know they haven’t been forgotten.”
The divide in education between families that can afford laptops and strong Wi-Fi signals and those that can’t has been well documented, and often affects rural areas and communities of color.
In 2018, 15 million to 16 million students didn’t have an adequate device or reliable internet connection at home, according to a report from Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy and media ratings group that receives licensing fees from internet providers that distribute its content.
The gap between the haves and the have-nots has been exacerbated by school shutdowns. As recently as October, at least thousands of students in the United States were still unable to join remote classrooms because they had no access to a laptop. But 96% of Americans were estimated to have a working television set, according to Nielsen.
文／Kellen Browning 譯／李京倫、核稿／樂慧生
doldrums是複數名詞，指一段無精打采、意志消沉的期間，或停滯無進展的狀態，也可指地理學上的「赤道無風帶」。in the doldrums就是不順利的、沒有進展的，在本文指某些學生因為無法收看遠距課程而學業停滯。第三段末的be in是同意。