Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) has announced David Olson — a social studies teacher from James Madison Memorial High School in Madison — as one of 30 educators from across the country for the first PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Program. Each of the Digital Innovator All-Stars was selected from a cohort of extraordinary educators who are doing innovative work in their schools and districts, and were previously recognized as part of the PBS Digital Innovator Program, which began in 2013.
The PBS Digital Innovator All-Star program expands on this influential work, deepening these educators' roles as leaders in integrating technology and digital media into the classroom – supporting students' learning through increasingly important media literacy skills.
"I have known and worked with Olson during the past year and find him to be a passionate, curious and innovative educator," said Alyssa Tsagong, WPT's director of education. "His work on projects and professional development related to the Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War supported his own students, as well as educators across the country. He has introduced teachers across Wisconsin to the tools and resources available through WPT Education. I look forward to seeing his contributions as a part of the PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Program."
Olson, who has employed WPT resources in his classroom, including those from WPT's Wisconsin First Nations website (WisconsinFirstNations.org) and Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams documentary, said that digital content helps many of his lessons make the strongest impact. "I love using resources from PBS and WPT. As an educator in the digital age, it's not hard to find resources; it's hard to sift through everything that is available to find good resources. I love starting with WPT Education because I know the materials were created by knowledgeable educators and the materials will engage my students. And when I get a chance to show other teachers what is available from WPT and PBS LearningMedia, first, they are amazed, and then they usually say, ‘I had no idea all of this existed.' It's fun to introduce teachers to a wealth of resources for their classroom, and know that I can point the way to materials they can trust."
In partnership with WPT, Olson will spend the 2018-2019 school year deepening engagement among students, families, educators, schools and WPT. As an exclusive part of the program, he will have access to virtual and in-person events, including the PBS Digital Innovator All-Star Summit, to connect and learn with peers and station representatives from across the country.
The PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including passion for their role as an educator, outcomes from their time as PBS Digital Innovators, connections to their communities and service to under-resourced families.