Making a Difference:
KET and the Kentucky Department of Education

KET EncycloMedia takes advantage of the things that we’ve been putting in schools, which we call the intelligent classroom.

David Couch

Associate Education Commissioner

When David Couch talks about education and technology, you hear the word “teamwork” a lot. For someone who played basketball for Mike Krzyzewski at West Point, that’s probably no big surprise. And when it comes to educating students with all types of learning styles, the associate education commissioner credits the team spirit between the Kentucky Department of Education and KET for creating the technological avenues for success.

“It is a strength that what KET and KDE do with audio and other media content really addresses differentiated learning styles,” said Couch, the head of the Office of Education Technology.

“Educational technology also addresses the different teaching styles of teachers—and I think that’s another reason why this partnership has been so successful. We provide, both of us, content that helps.“

When the Kentucky Education Reform Act revamped the way the state’s schools were funded and organized in the early 1990s, a key component to those reforms was providing equity of access to high-quality educational resources for all school districts. Technology has come a long way since those pre-Internet days. Today’s KDE technology plan specifically charges the Office of Education Technology with ensuring that every school has the teaching tools available to provide a high-tech “anytime, anywhere, always on” learning environment for schools.

“The big piece that we talk about is differentiated learning,” Couch noted. “What that means is that every child learns a little bit differently: visually, auditory, kinesthetically, by reading. Both organizations have recognized for a while that technology reaches a lot of folks that aren’t reached through normal ways, like reading text.”

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One of the major ways that KET’s expertise becomes critical to that goal is through KET EncycloMedia, a tool that is both stunningly popular with teachers and highly engaging for students. This online array of resources, funded in part by KDE, has become a cornerstone in the arsenal of educational services KET provides to schools. With it, teachers can create lessons using highly indexed and professionally vetted video and audio clips that succinctly illustrate their teaching goals.

KET EncycloMedia takes advantage of the things that we’ve been putting in schools, which we call the intelligent classroom,“ Couch said.

“This really is one of the ways that the KET/KDE partnership has really taken off.“

Surveys reveal that if all technology were removed from the classroom, KET EncycloMedia is among the top five resources teachers would miss the most, Couch said.

“Why? The reason is that around 80 percent of people are visual learners. And if you ask teachers, the numbers are the same. So that told me that if teachers learn best this way, then this is the way that they’ll teach best. They were better able to teach a subject because it was available in an audio or visual clip.”

With the tools in place, Couch says that the expertise of both agencies working as a team is a real asset to the people of Kentucky, who look to state-supported entities to wisely and efficiently use their tax dollars.

“We are separate organizations, but I think we always try to keep in mind that we’re servicing the same customers: schools.”