Bringing Social Studies to Life Online: Public Television Creates a Web-Based Documentary Series. (We Hear from Readers)

Article excerpt

P.O.V., public television's annual award-winning showcase for independent non-fiction films, brings its dynamic storytelling approach to the Web with P.O.V.'s Borders--PBS's first Web-only documentary series. This interactive, multipart series will appeal to educators in search of engaging issue-based curricular materials.

P.O.V.'s Borders asks questions about the borders, both literal and metaphysical, that we encounter in our lives, challenging commonly held ideas about individual, cultural, communal, and geographic boundaries. The first episode, Borders: Migration, explores our bordered lives, concentrating on "migration" as an overall theme. Series features include:

Border Stories: Leaving Elsa. The core element of the first installment, Leaving Elsa is a t0-week interactive drama produced for the series by filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz. Working closely with the Llano Grande Center--a nonprofit organization that uses youth leadership, college placement, community development and educational reform programs to bridge the gap between schools and the communities they serve--Ruiz is helping three young people from Elsa, Texas, a U.S.-Mexico border town, to create intimate self-portraits as they face the biggest transition of their lives--leaving home for college. Gilbert, a high school senior with senatorial aspirations; Kate, an Irish/Mexican-American college freshman with dreams of Hollywood stardom; and Cecilia, a sophomore at Columbia who struggled through numerous obstacles to return to New York City, document their lives in self-produced weekly Web-journals that not only invite but also integrate commentary from site visitors. …