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Posted by Jennifer Cook on

Today, WUCF announced Paul Podraza from the School District of Osceola County as one of 52 educators from across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom changemakers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms in a way that sparks a love of learning for their students.

Paul is the Resource Specialist for the Mobile STEM Lab, a first-in-the-nation innovative learning experience for students. The Osceola Mobile STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Lab is a customized vehicle, providing students with access to state-of-the art technology and equipment not readily available at their schools.

Among other teachers selected were educators who are using 3D printers with their students to create prosthetic limbs and co-teachers who use technology to bring their students together in one class, even though they’re in physical classrooms that are miles apart. A panel of esteemed judges selected the 52 PBS Digital Innovators from across the US, representing each of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

In partnership with WUCF, Paul Podraza will serve as education partner–deepening the connection between the educator community and WUCF. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development; share their ideas on PBS platforms; have access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia; receive a free PBS Teacherline professional development course; and are invited to special events, including the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. This year’s summit, in San Antonio, Texas, takes place directly before the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. 

“WUCF is excited to work with Paul over the next year to create more learning opportunities for students in our area and share the unique work he does with the Osceola Mobile STEM Lab,” said Dr. Phil Hoffman, WUCF Executive Director. “We look forward to supporting Paul and all teachers in Central Florida with free access to high-quality resources from PBS and partners like NASA, NOAA and the National Archives through PBS LearningMedia.”

“We were struck by the creativity and passion of this year’s applicants,” said Sara Schapiro, Vice President of Education, PBS. “The 2017 PBS Digital Innovators are a passionate group of educators who are committed to changing the way students learn through technology and digital media. Education is at the core of PBS’ mission and as a key partner with parents and educators across America, we’re excited for the opportunity to learn from and work with these classroom change makers as they partner with PBS member stations to share content that truly engages and empowers students in every community.”

The full list of the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators, their profiles and photographs can be found here.

More than 100,000 digital resources, including lesson plans, worksheets, video content, and more, are available through PBS LearningMedia for pre-K-12 classrooms. Teachers can access this content at www.pbslearningmedia.org