Omaha Teacher Selected as Advisor for WGBH Collaboration with NASA

News Release Date: 
August 8, 2017

For Immediate Release

Omaha Teacher Selected as Advisor for WGBH Collaboration with NASA

LINCOLN, Neb. (Aug. 8, 2017) – Debora Barber, a teacher at Harrison Elementary in Omaha, was selected by the education team at PBS station WGBH (Boston) to be a teacher advisor for “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classroom.”

This initiative supports STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning and the development of innovative digital resources that will be produced in collaboration with NASA.*

“Bringing the Universe to America’s Classroom” will be distributed free of charge through PBS LearningMedia, reaching millions of students and teachers nationally.

Debora Barber Barber is one of 50 advisors selected from more than 650 applicants across the country, from a wide range of grade levels and subjects. Candidates were evaluated by reviewers who took into consideration geography, grade, number of years teaching, type of school, as well as the candidates’ willingness to innovate in the classroom, resulting in a diverse group of teacher advisors.

“It was a great honor as well as an adventure,” Barber said. “I want to be the best teacher I can be in my classroom. I don’t want to become stagnant. This was definitely something to enhance my teaching ability in science.”

Barber discovered the program on the WGBH website, read what other teachers stated about their experience and decided it was something she wanted to pursue.

Barber said she has always been a fan of NET, Nebraska's PBS & NPR Stations, regularly using PBS resources as a teacher, including using “NOVA” videos in her classroom.

“(My students are) blown away by the videos,” she said. “They were awesome.”

“It definitely fits all of our content standards for Omaha Public Schools,” she added.

She also plans to use available resources when her class talks about the upcoming total solar eclipse.

Barber’s main responsibility as advisor is to review the new digital resources produced by WGBH for this project, use them with her sixth-grade students this fall and give WGBH and its research partner, Oregon State University, feedback.

She hopes reviewing these new digital resources will help her to learn even more about earth sciences and that the resources will bring it to life.

Feedback will be used to improve the resources and their support materials. Barber will also engage with her teacher advisor colleagues and participate in several virtual sessions around using digital media with students.

These resources use innovative media formats such as satellite images, data visualizations, original interactives and videos from NASA and WGBH broadcasts. Resources have been designed to be accessible for diverse learners and include support materials, such as background essays, teaching tips and student handouts.

“I want to be a great resource for other educators in my district and enhance their classrooms with science,” Barber said, and she’s already discussed the program with colleagues who have inquired about it for next year.

For more information about the program, visit: http://bit.ly/BringingTheUniverse.

PBS LearningMedia is available through NET via the NET Virtual Learning Library at http://net.pbslearningmedia.org/.

Barber graduated from College of Saint Mary with a bachelor’s degree in education, focusing on elementary education, early childhood education and special education. She has taught all subjects to fifth and sixth graders and is passionate about learning, especially within math and science. Barber also is working on her master’s degree in mathematics and hopes to continue working in the elementary spectrum while advancing her own education with a master’s in science. Outside of teaching, she enjoys her time outdoors.

*This activity is funded by NASA under cooperative agreement award No. NNX16AD71A. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578, skarstens@netNebraska.org

NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations

NET is Nebraska's statewide public media service dedicated to creating opportunities for Nebraskans to engage with critical issues, compelling stories and quality entertainment. NET serves each of Nebraska’s 93 counties with 52,560 hours of programming each year on four television and two radio channels, plus online and mobile content. In addition to providing free, high-quality educational programming for children, NET provides programming in the arts, award-winning news and current affairs information and emergency alert services. For more information about NET, visit netNebraska.org.