USD Graduate Named 2016 PBS Digital Innovator

VERMILLION, S.D.-- The Public Broadcasting System has featured a master’s degree graduate of the University of South Dakota’s technology for education and training program for her use of technology in the classroom.

Badger Clark Elementary teacher Heidi Coffin was named a 2016 PBS digital innovator for her work with first-grade students from Box Elder and Ellsworth Air Force Base, just east of Rapid City.

“They’re digital natives,” Coffin told South Dakota Public Broadcasting. “Their minds work digitally. The technology helps them dive deeper and reach those higher order thinking skills to be able to succeed.”

Coffin incorporates media and technology into every lesson. The first-graders use iPads for phonics lessons, spelling tests and reading. They often use research databases, document cameras and upload photos and videos online. She uses a class website in order to see everyone’s work and generate discussion in the classroom, as well as inform parents about the class.

For being named a digital innovator, Coffin will receive one year of professional development from PBS.


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and kinesiology and sport management.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News