Brandon Valley High School Teacher Named 2017 PBS Digital Innovator
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English Teacher Matt Christensen.

Matt Christensen recognized for his game-changing integration of digital media in the classroom; Matt Christensen will partner with SDPB to build learning outcomes in South Dakota.

VERMILLION, SD – THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017 – SDPB proudly announces Matt Christensen from Brandon Valley High School has been named one of 52 educators from across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom change-makers: 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.

Christensen, a teacher of English for grades 9-12, has been with Brandon Valley High School since 2003. He is also a technology coach, the defensive coordinator for the football team, and the coach for 7th grade girls basketball. Christensen says of his approach to teaching: “I use hooks. I force curiosity. I hold floating bananas in bowls in the hallway. I wear masks. I write odd phrases on the board. I will not allow students not to care. And I provide voice and choice. Students need to be empowered. Students love to be empowered.”

Image - Matt Christensen and students.jpg

Christensen says he “prints two things all year” and instead constantly uses “digital media, Google Drive, Youtube, Kahoot and whatever digital methods reach and motivate students.” He incorporates “digital essays that are due, but never done.”

“I use all the Shakespeare's Othello PBS videos available – highly informative and compelling. Students engage and grasp more with them. They love to ‘meet the actors.’ And they appreciate the intriguing detective approach to the video narration,” says Christensen.

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 SDPB, Christensen will serve as education partner–deepening the connection between the educator community and SDPB.

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. 

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