WABTV released its 100th episode on Thursday, a milestone in the show's seven-year history.
The Elementary School's TV show was born out of a desire to both solve a practical challenge in the Elementary School, while at the same time offer an authentic avenue for students to learn about video creation.
The show initially focused on student announcements, but has since evolved to include segments on such diverse topics as cyber safety, tech tips, comedy sketches and guest interviews. Moreover, for those students directly involved, it's an indispensable learning tool that allows them to develop a wide variety of skills and knowledge through project-based learning.
"The philosophy for Doug and I early on was that we need WABTV to be so entertaining that the students will make sure their teachers and classmates never miss an episode," said Phil Cowell, who, along with Doug Taylor, produces WABTV. "But it's so much more than that. With WAB's FLoW21 initiative promoting increased self-directed learning time for students, the anchors and crew who have shown passion for the project have more time to master their skills."
For students like Annesofie in Grade 4, who arrived at WAB as a beginner English learner, her passion for WABTV has served as inspiration for language development.
"WABTV helped me with my English a lot. I had to read the script over and over to get it right. It also made me more confident speaking English because I had to practice a lot," Annesofie said about her experience on the WABTV crew.
WABTV functions like many television newsrooms around the world, where the "staff" meets on Monday mornings to budget the week's program, assign tasks and develop a plan.
"The 2016-17 school year has been exceptional for the show, partly because self-directed learning opportunities for students gave us the chance to work more closely with the them during the school day, rather than only outside of class time," Doug said. "This show was way ahead of its time when it came out, and we're excited about the innovative ideas students will bring going forward."