PBS introduces an online community for educators

ARLINGTON, VA: PBS began promoting its new online community for educators, with the help of C. Blohm & Associates, July 1.

ARLINGTON, VA: PBS began promoting its new online community for educators, with the help of C. Blohm & Associates, July 1.

PBS Teachers Connect (www.pbsteachers.org/connect/), which is a new Web site targeting pre-Kindergarten to 12th-grade teachers and administrators, contains a personalized homepage for each user and a resource and member database.

The public television network is planning to add private messaging, community feeds, and online events by this fall. It also contains professional development content, including standards-based instructional resources.

PR efforts focused on education publications and blogs, as well as getting mentions of the site on Twitter and Facebook, according to Kevin Dando, PBS director of education and online communications.

The network conducted a public demonstration of the site for teachers and members of the press at the National Educational Computing Conference June 30 in San Antonio, he added. In addition, PBS will leverage partnerships with organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies, and in conjunction with its local affiliates through live events. Some online content will be localized, as well.

"It's collated some standards," Dando explained. "So say you're a math teacher in Colorado in 2nd grade, it can parse the lesson plans for Colorado 2nd grade math... and it matches the lesson plans to certain teachers."

PBS selected Blohm three months ago for the new account, which runs through next June, over two other firms during a one-round RFP process, said Dando, who declined to name the competing agencies. The account's budget was not disclosed.

Charlene Blohm, the agency's president, noted that six of its staffers will work on the account.

Kristen Plemon, a Blohm AE who is part of the account team, said the campaign will emphasize the site as a great tool for teachers and other educators to help them catch up to many of their students on the Internet.

"Educators are quickly adopting the Web 2.0 tools, but not as quickly as students and other demographics," she explained. "So our opportunity is that there is a huge market for teachers to be-come involved in the [Teachers Connect] community."

Dando said 10,000 teachers signed up to use the site after a whisper campaign with little promotion.

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