BECON, the Broward Education Communications Network, owned and operated by the School Board of Broward County, has grown from the Instructional Television Center station of 40 years ago (which essentially provided instructional programming to students and staff development to teachers) to a thriving comprehensive educational content delivery system providing anytime, anywhere learning in support of the teaching/learning process for schools and the community. Under the BECON umbrella fall instructional programs broadcasting on EBS (Education Broadcast System) directly into the classrooms of over 260 schools in Broward County; 2-way, interactive videoconferencing classes with special guests and experts augmenting classroom lessons; an online virtual school teaching elementary, middle and high school students; print and video graphics; and a community station - BECON-TV (WBEC) – broadcasting into homes throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County. BECON produces quality educational programming which is delivered through multiple methods that have evolved to increase its reach and utilization of this teaching tool. BECON has also kept abreast of innovative, instructional and educational technologies. It uses these new technologies to present educational concepts in a visually appealing and effective way that gets students’ attention to facilitate learning. In collaboration with Curriculum and ETS, future plans include providing students and teachers with instructional programming via web streaming and video-on-demand, which could be easily accessed from any location countywide. The School Board formally established the Instructional Television Center (ITV) in December 1965 (the name was changed to BECON in 1998 to reflect the myriad of educational content delivery methods now offered).
Construction of the center was completed in March 1967. ITV (now BECON) is still located at its original site at 6600 SW Nova Drive, Fort Lauderdale. The center was originally funded by a grant under the Title I, Elementary and Secondary Education Act to provide programming for culturally disadvantaged students and in-service programs for teachers. The School Board provided the land for the center. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated four closed circuit (EBS – Educational Broadband Services) broadcast channels for this purpose to the School Board of Broward County, Florida.
In 1984 the School District expanded the role of ITV to include all students. Through the years programs have covered subject areas such as language arts, science, math, psychology, literature, health, social studies, history and government as well as teacher training and community programs.
In 1997, BECON began a significant expansion of distance learning opportunities to include videoconferencing and distance learning via two-way, interactive, compressed video. Since its inception, two-way distance learning has grown from equipment at four sites to equipment at all schools. In 2001, BECON established Broward Virtual Education (BVEd) and secured a license through Florida Virtual for Broward’s online high school, which offers a non-traditional education delivery option for students to learn anytime, anyplace. In 2005, BECON Distance Learning introduced the online virtual middle school. Visit: www.bved.net for more information.
In 2000, the School Board purchased a community broadcast channel, now WBEC-TV Channel 63 (BECON-TV), licensed by the FCC to provide non-commercial, educational programming. The community broadcast station’s mission is to provide unique programming for our diverse community to enhance quality of life and promote education, knowledge and lifelong learning as a valuable asset to individuals. BECON continues to broadcast timeless BECON-produced favorites into the classroom and the community in the tri-county area: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
BECON’s priority has been to produce and deliver quality educational programming to enhance student achievement and lifelong learning. Watching BECON-TV is an “edutainment” experience for the whole family with science programs such as Soaring into FCAT Science, Real Time Science Connections, Science & Me, Science Matters; and Math programs such as Measuring Up and Putting Geometry on the Map. Reading and Language Arts programs bring cursive and manuscript handwriting to life with It’s the Write Time and Up, Down & Around.
BECON-TV is the only independent educational station with a Broward focus where viewers can wake up to what’s happening in Broward schools with Before the Bell, or hear from community and political leaders on CountyLine with Frank Loconto, or Community Forum with Dr. Phyllis Schiffer-Simon. Also, learn what teens are really thinking about on Reality Avenue or Teen Talk with Dr. Stephen Goldstein. To witness the good news from Broward County Schools watch Broward School Beat. Viewers can also see the world through the eyes of journalists-in-training on Broward Teen News (BTN), or SportsBlitz.
Whether it’s enhancing your own or your child’s knowledge with fun and informative programming like CareerWatch and Cross Cultures Changing Lives, learning what’s going on in the community, planning your next adventure, or tuning in to the latest school board meeting, BECON-TV is your education station. New programs and delivery methods are always being developed at BECON as BECON strives to become a premiere educational channel.