Dr. Stephen J. Cavrak, Jr.
Assistant Director for Academic Computing Services
University Computing Services
University of Vermont
238 Waterman Bldg.
Burlington, VT 05405 USA
v: (802) 656-1483
Education, K12; Education, higher; Library
Vermont: Telecommunications for Educational Reform
The Vermont Educational Telecommunications Consortium (VETC) was founded about two years ago. The Consortium is a group of people from K-12 education, private businesses, colleges, universities and state agencies. They joined together because they recognized that Vermont learners needed to have access to global information resources.
VETC’s goal is help educational institutions — and the people who learn and work within them — to access information networks. They plan to link the state’s many networks into one system that can be inexpensively accessed throughout Vermont. Currently, Vermont has a number of networks. Some are computer networks at universities and colleges throughout the state. There are also specialized networks like Vermont EdNet, Vermont Automated Library System and Vermont Interactive Television.
In addition to coordinating the state’s networks, VETC hopes to promote telecommunications in the classroom by training educators, and by informing the public about the value of telecommunications within the Vermont schools. Recently, VETC received funding from NYNEX to support innovative programs that use telecommunications in the schools.
This year, eight imaginative projects were funded. In one project, middle and elementary school students work cooperatively as science research teams to evaluate the water quality in different parts of Vermont. In another, advanced high school students “chat” online with other students about literature. The students share their interpretations with their peers and challenge each other’s readings of various texts. Still another project will use telecommunications to create a book called _Vermont Through the Eyes of Her Children_.
By funding these projects and working to meet their other goals, the VETC hopes — as their mission statement puts it — to “promote and facilitate systemic change in the education of all Vermont learners through initiatives which employ information technologies, specifically telecommunications technologies, to improve learning.”