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Instructional Programming via Datacasting Bridges the Digital Divide

Earlier today, the Wolf Administration announced that the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds is awarding $8 million in federal funding to Pennsylvania PBS to establish a statewide datacasting initiative.

What is Datacasting?

Datacasting is a term derived from ‘data’ and ‘broadcasting’.

While broadcasting refers to sending programming “over-the-air” across a geographic region that can be picked up by an antenna and played on a television, datacasting refers to using those same signals to securely transmit data that can be used by a computer. If a home can receive a television signal, it can also receive the data signal.

About the Pilot

Across the United States, several agencies have used datacasting to support public safety and public emergency incidents. Although the concept of datacasting has been around for many years, the idea of using the technology for education is a new one. Pennsylvania PBS is building out the infrastructure and pioneering a pilot project to explore how datacasting can help to address the digital divide by providing instructional content to students without internet access.
Pennsylvania PBS will work with Pa. education stakeholders to bring brand familiarity to implement the datacasting pilot. Content from offline learning management systems and from PBS LearningMedia will be used to compile instructional units that will be datacast to students. End users will receive a HTML page that outlines what they “must do” versus what they “can do.” There is an opportunity to add content from other sources (e.g., recorded lectures, other online websites) and to customize content for end users based on a number of different variables.

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