PBS Student Reporting Labs Embraced at ISTE Conference

Almost 18,000 educators and exhibitors attended the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference and exhibition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center June 26-29. Among the participants were 1,152 presenters and 940 international attendees from 63 countries.

During Monday’s Student Reporting Labspresentation and panel discussion, teachers and educators watched the students’ work and asked questions about the process and the benefits of using journalism as a form of interactive learning.

Shauna, a 10th grader at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia talked about discovering a new love of problem solving, storytelling and investigation that came out of this project.  “I’m going to apply the skills I learned to everything I do.  I look at media in a completely different way,” she said.  “This has helped me figure out what I want to do.”

Louis Mazza, a media arts teacher, said the learning that took place during the project was profound and it had the result that all teachers aspire to: the students kept asking questions.  “It’s really important as we grow as a culture for them to be more critical of what they’re seeing … to be able to tell someone’s opinion from hard fact.”

And Lorraine Ustaris, a 9th grade English teacher said the project was immensely valuable because it “allows students to apply literacy skills to the real world.  They moved from being consumers of information to creators of information…. That gives them purpose and an audience.”

Watch this short video for highlights from the presentation.

The Student Reporting Labs program began in 2010 with a seed grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The funding enabled NewsHour Extra to build a network of local PBS Stations, professional journalism mentors and teachers to guide a total of 230 students from around the country in the production of 2-5 minute news reports that look at important national and international issues from local, youth-oriented perspectives.