Dr. Frank Lowney
Regional Teacher Education Center
Georgia College School of Education
Campus Box 034
Milledgeville, GA 31061-0490 USA
v: (912) 453-5260
f: (912) 453-6582
Education, K12; Education, higher; Education, continuing or distance; Other (information/service providers to the K-12 ed. community)
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Creation of new ideas, products, or services; Technology transfer; Local commitment to network-based activities; Leverage of public funding; Volunteer contributions of time and energy; Partnerships between public and private sector
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Video; Software (HyperMedia presentation) ; Documentation; Other (print media)
GC EduNET in a Nutshell
Begun in 1988, the GC EduNET project provides communication and information opportunities to the K-12 education community (classroom teachers, their students and all those who work in support of them) in Georgia at no cost beyond the acquisition of a computer, modem and telephone service. No cost access is achieved through a variety of methods: direct Internet access, Internet dialup access and toll-free (WATS) dialup. Services include e-mail, e-conferencing, searchable online databases, document and file retrieval, and moderated Internet access (currently under construction). Moderated Internet access refers to a suite of strategies and technologies which attempt to moderate the overwhelming volume and diversity of Internet resources by presenting a unified interface displaying a K-12 relevant subset of Internet resources. Registration (mandatory) is done on-line. User support includes: limited voice-line support, unlimited e-mail support and on- line chat with system “guides”. The project also delivers training to state, regional and county level trainers using a “train-the-trainer” model. Currently there are more than 5,000 members of the GC EduNET system representing the full geographic range of Georgia and every level of the educational enterprise.
The GC EduNET Story (Our Reason for Being)
To deal with the many problems teachers face, they need to have free and open access to appropriate teaching materials and professional development opportunities. To develop from a novice teacher to a master teacher, one must have free and open access to one’s peers on a statewide, and even nationwide, basis. It is the sharing of experiences, aspirations, strategies, materials and ideas that fuels professional growth in any field. Teaching is no exception.
The traditional means of pursuing these goals (teacher conferences and workshops, and the dissemination of teaching materials via print media) has not been particularly effective because such efforts are typically so woefully underfunded. There is just not enough money available to do these things well enough and on a scale large enough to have much of an impact. It is most unlikely that the financial picture for education will change in the near future. The prospects for traditional strategies yielding effective solutions to these important problems are dim indeed. However, there are other, more effective, and less costly alternatives to consider.
The GC EduNET project, in continual operation since 1988, has demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of providing solutions to educational problems through the use of telecomputing technology, using modem- equipped computers and the ubiquitous telephone system to allow teachers to communicate and share materials at little or no cost to themselves or to the school systems they are associated with.
No charges for teacher use are levied, even the cost of the phone call is provided for through the use of multiple incoming toll-free telephone lines or PeachNet (Internet) access. PeachNet is now available to teachers as a free dial-up service to those located within local calling distance of a university system site. More non-university system sites are being added to the system.
Once connected to the GC EduNET system, teachers may engage in a great many activities. They may communicate with other individuals by electronic mail or with whole groups of people with similar interests and concerns in an electronic conference. They may obtain information they need to implement their curricular objectives or even acquire an entire “turn-key” curriculum unit, like the daily CNN Newsroom Curriculum Guide. They can do these things at any time of the day or night, seven days a week using any kind of modem-equipped computer from anywhere in the state or anywhere in the world where they can obtain Internet access.