UNC-TV expands ‘At-Home Learning’ initiative as school districts return to online instruction

UNC-TV is expanding its At Home Learning (AHL) initiative as some school districts prepare to return to online-learning only in the wake of record coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

In Phase II of the initiative, UNC-TV, in collaboration with N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the Williams and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, will broadcast math and literacy-focused lessons and activities for students in Pre-K through third grade as part of a new programming block titled “Classroom Connection.”

Here’s UNC-TV’s description of the new program:

Classroom Connection will feature PBS KIDS favorites alongside North Carolina educators. This short-form learning series will deliver engaging math and literacy lessons with North Carolina teachers, aimed at Pre-K through third-grade students to support their at-home learning. The Classroom Connection programming block will be available over the air on UNC-TV’s main channel beginning in February and streamed online at unctv.org/ahl. Lessons will also be made available on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Digital Teaching and Learning YouTube channel and the #GoOpenNC digital repository.

Phase II will also include Teacher Time, a series of short-form STEM activities for early learners presented by North Carolina teachers. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund supports the series. It will debut this winter on UNC-TV and its Rootle PBS KIDS channel. UNC-TV and PBS have also curated free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more at unctv.pbslearningmedia.org

UNC-TV launched At-Home Learning in March to serve students and families with limited-to-no access to broadband.

The N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office estimates that 261,000 households in the state don’t have any access to broadband and that 1.6 million families cannot sign up for service or can’t afford it.

UNC-TV hopes to address educational gaps by providing curriculum-based lessons over its broadcast channels, with supplemental online resources, according to a press release announcing the expansion.

Phase I was launched in March with two blocks of standards-aligned PBS programs that air each weekday on UNC-TV.

“It is our greatest hope that through our expansive statewide broadcast reach we will devotedly serve and impact all young learners but especially those who lack access to broadband in our state,” said Joy Potts, director of children’s media and education services at UNC-TV.

Angie Mullennix, director of K-12 academics and innovation strategy at NC DPI, said UNC-TV’s At-Home Learning project provides equitable learning opportunities for children across the state.

“With many students in a partial or full remote setting, the AHL teacher-generated lessons will be high quality, standards-based instruction for caregivers and teachers,” Mullennix said.

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