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AOL format possible in county schools

December 11, 2000

AOL format possible in county schools



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County Board of Education is considering implementing a program that would bring a special educational version of America Online to all schools in the system for no charge, schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett said.

America Online and the Maryland Department of Education announced last week they have reached an agreement to provide the service to every school in the state. Each school system has the option of using the program.

"We're looking at that in terms of how it affects us," Bartlett said.

Each school at all grade levels would have access to AOL@SCHOOL and all students, teachers and administrators would receive e-mail, according to Linda Bazerjian, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education.

AOL@SCHOOL features an education-based search engine and offers information according to grade levels. For example, third through fifth graders would access the elementary level of AOL@SCHOOL, where they'll find content used to develop the basic skills necessary for academic growth.

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The high school level will feature reference materials, interactive tools for advanced curricula and post-graduation information.

"If you are a student who is trying to do some research, you can go on to your particular area and find a bunch of resources on there," Bazerjian said.

She said all the content on the site has been approved by educators nationwide and filtered to keep pornography or other objectionable material from students.

"Just as the online medium is becoming an integral part of people's everyday lives, it should also be an integral part of the classroom experience," said Kathy Bushkin, AOL's senior vice president and chief communications officer. "We have worked with teachers, administrators and students across the country to develop a program that will deliver the best educational content available on the web in a way that is safe and effective."

Teachers and administrators will have access to state educational standards, training and assessment resources and planning calendars.

Virginia and Florida are the only two states besides Maryland to adopt the program.

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