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KET and KDE to Pilot Service for At-Home Learners

KET Tower from ground

Kentucky Educational Television (KET), a network of PBS member stations in Kentucky, has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education to pilot a datacasting technology "to help school districts more efficiently and effectively support students who lack home internet access."

With the coronavirus pandemic extending the stay-at-home order, it has become increasingly difficult for teachers to get learning materials to their students without internet access, especially in times of bad weather. KET's statewide transmission network can deliver materials to those students without broadband internet.

The pilot program, funded by the Kentucky Department of Education, will begin in January. The program uses KET's existing broadcast network to securely bring learning materials to receiver boxes in homes via datacasting technology. KET previously used datacasting to send emergency, public safety and weather information to first responders. 

“KET was founded on the belief that every Kentuckian should have equal access to  educational resources,” said KET executive director and CEO Shae Hopkins. “This project has  the potential to deliver much-needed classroom materials to students without broadband  internet. And it does so in a more convenient and timely manner for students and teachers  by utilizing KET’s statewide infrastructure.”

“I am thankful that the Kentucky Department of Education and KET are working together to find  another way to reach students who have been struggling during this period of distance  learning,” said Jason E. Glass, commissioner of education and chief learner. “While Kentucky  has been a pioneer and national leader in most aspects of K-12 education technology for  students, teachers and leaders for the past 25 years, there is a small percentage of students  that still have no internet accessibility. Through diligent work with our districts and our partners, we are closing the digital divide for our students to ensure that learning can  happen anytime, anywhere. This initiative brings us significantly closer to reaching that  goal.”