Making a Difference:
KET EncycloMedia

With KET EncycloMedia, information is so much easier to find. It’s easy to use and very quick.

Mary Davis

Georgetown schoolteacher

What is an ecosystem?

Finding the answer to that question was one of the assignments recently for students in Mary Davis’ 3rd-grade class at Southern Elementary School in Georgetown. A generation ago, her students would have turned to an encyclopedia for information and perhaps a picture or two. But today’s students and their teachers turn instead to a new tool—KET EncycloMedia.

Launched in August 2005, KET EncycloMedia is a comprehensive online multimedia learning service that provides articles, videos, still photos, clip art, quizzes, lesson plans, a “this day in history” calendar, and many other resources—all geared to state education standards. In fact, KET EncycloMedia includes more than 4,000 videos, 40,000 video clips, thousands of digital images, and more than 50 hours of KET programs, searchable by keyword, content area, grade level, and Kentucky academic standards.

For the students in Davis’ class, KET EncycloMedia provides in-depth looks at deserts, rainforests, and other ecosystems that the students then use to prepare presentations for the entire class.

“With KET EncycloMedia, information is so much easier to find,” says Davis, a veteran teacher of 22 years. “It’s easy to use and very quick. The information goes well with the core content we are teaching and adds a lot of interest to the lessons.”

The subject of a recent PBS series, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures, provides a good example of what students might find on KET EncycloMedia. Type “oceans” into the search engine, and a wealth of choices appear, including discussion guides, videos, and articles—even puzzles. Students can find out how oceans were formed, what they’re like, and how scientists investigate them. They can learn about sea life or learn more about a specific ocean.

Teachers find lesson plans for different grade levels, teaching tips, and interactive training. For example, they can challenge students to do a demonstration that shows how earthquakes affect various types of waves in the ocean or to explore the causes and solutions of pollution in the oceans.

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For teachers and students alike, the information is accessible at school and at home.

“I was able to give each student a code,” Davis recalls of her assignment on ecosystems. “They were able to work on their presentations at home as well as school.”

The portability also came in handy for Davis over the summer as she reviewed textbooks for the coming year. “Often I found that a lesson needed something more,” she recalls. “I was able to find what I needed, and it was so convenient.”

The convenience of KET EncycloMedia and the high quality of its resources have led more than 27,000 teachers and their students to use the service. KET EncycloMedia is provided free of charge to all Kentucky public schools through a partnership between KET and the Kentucky Department of Education.

“This has been one of the most successful services KET has ever provided,” says Kathy Quinn, then director of education services for KET. “KET EncycloMedia is an engaging way to meet the professional needs of teachers and help all students achieve at higher levels.”

Kentucky Department of Education officials have been equally enthusiastic about the service.

“All Kentucky schools now have access to this incredible tool,” says former Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit. “KET has risen once again to the challenge of providing just the right resources for Kentucky teachers at just the right time.”

For future classes, Mary Davis is set to use KET EncycloMedia to introduce new material, wrap up lessons, and help her students research topics ... including ecosystems.