New AT&T Learning Points Program Lets Callers Help Put Schools on Information Superhighway.
$150 Million AT&T Learning Network
Delivers Schools Free Internet Access, Teacher Support
On-Line Mentoring, Wireless Service, Voice Messaging
All Part of Company Quest to Enhance Lifelong Learning
Consumers in the U.S. can join with AT&T to help put the nation's 110,000 accredited K-12 schools on the Information Superhighway, the company announced today.
"The 85 million consumers who use AT&T's long-distance services can help schools obtain the latest technology simply by making AT&T telephone calls," said company chairman Robert E. Allen.
The Learning Points(sm) Program is the newest component of the AT&T Learning Network, the company's five-year, $150 million commitment to improving education through use and support of technology.
Under the new program, AT&T consumer customers can earn five Learning Points for every dollar they spend on qualifying AT&T calls(a) and designate the points to any accredited K-12 school of their choice in the U.S. Registered schools can redeem the points for free hardware, software and teacher support offered in a catalog AT&T developed with Scholastic Inc. -- the education materials publisher known for innovative approaches to teaching and learning. To register for the AT&T Learning Points Program, schools and consumers should call AT&T at 1-800-354-8800.
The company today also said it has enhanced the AT&T Learning Network by extending its free Internet offer from 100 hours to five months, launching its on-line teacher mentoring program, called AskLN(sm), and adding navigational tools to its Internet services web site.
In addition, the company named the first 10 schools receiving its free wireless service and began its community outreach program, including release of guidelines for $50 million in AT&T Foundation grants. And AT&T unveiled plans for rolling out voice-messaging services for selected schools and families in certain cities.
The AT&T Learning Network is the most comprehensive effort ever by a single company to help schools, teachers, families and communities use technology to enhance lifelong learning.
"I am proud of what we're doing for America's future through the AT&T Learning Network," Allen said. "I personally urge every AT&T customer to register for the Learning Points Program and every school to call and sign up for our free Internet access and teacher support tools.
"AT&T's Learning Network is an investment in this country's future, a commitment to lifelong learning and a community outreach," Allen said. "AT&T is bringing to bear its strengths in technology and communications for the improvement of teaching and learning and the betterment of education for students today and tomorrow."
U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley said, "New technologies, such as on-line services, can provide new opportunities for learning and can link communities, schools and families in ways that help parents, students and teachers. I am pleased that AT&T is using technology to support teachers in preparing today's students for the challenges of the 21st century."
The AT&T Learning Network also includes:
Enhanced AT&T WorldNet(SM) Services Offer for Internet Access
Accredited K-12 schools that order and register for AT&T WorldNet Service through the AT&T Learning Network will get an account with five consecutive months of free, unlimited dial-up service, a substantial enhancement from the original offer of 100 free hours, announced last fall. After the five months, schools can elect to pay $17.50 a month per account, a special education discount, to continue the service. AT&T also will make available software to help teachers control the information and interactions students pursue while on the Internet.
Further, AT&T has developed "AskLN," an on-line mentoring program available through AT&T WorldNet Service to help teachers integrate this new technology into their classrooms. AskLN (Learning Network) is a collaborative effort with Syracuse University, home of "AskERIC" (Educational Resources Information Center), the education information service. AskLN mentors are teachers dedicated to answering other teachers' technology curriculum questions and helping them find and use helpful teaching materials.
Additionally, AT&T WorldNet Service now includes a new "At School" web page that offers teachers and students links, which change weekly, to exciting and valuable sites, as well as timely educational areas like Black History sites in February, flag and nation information sites in June for Flag Day and election and political sites in November.
The following schools are the first 10 of 100 that will receive wireless service through the AT&T Learning Network:
Foothill High School (Sacramento, Calif.)
Miami Edison High School (Miami)
Scott Carpenter Middle School (Denver)
Marysville Elementary School (Portland, Ore.)
Reed Elementary School (Tacoma, Wash.)
Woodland Hills East Junior High School (Pittsburgh)
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (New York)
Southwest High School (Minneapolis)
Amon Carter-Riverside High School (Fort Worth, Texas)
Jonas Salk Middle School (Sacramento, Calif.)
Each selected school gets two years of free on-campus wireless service and 20 cellular phones. Wireless service enables teachers and administrators to call immediately for medical and other assistance and helps them to feel more secure and connected. Nearly half of all U.S. schools are at least a half-century old with only one or two telephone lines, and fewer than 10 percent have phone lines connected to classrooms.
AT&T said it plans to select 20 schools during the 1996-1997 school year to receive its wireless offer, including one school in its "home" state, New Jersey.
$50 Million in AT&T Learning Network Grants
To support the AT&T Learning Network program, the AT&T Foundation will make available $50 million in grants over the next five years to advance lifelong learning through the use of technology. The AT&T Foundation will focus its resources on effective and innovative applications of technology that support families, schools and communities to accomplish the following:
-- encourage family involvement in education;
-- provide professional development opportunities for educators, and assist in the preparation of future teachers;
-- develop and implement plans to promote lifelong learning and community collaboration.
The AT&T grants are open to accredited elementary and secondary schools, two- and four-year colleges and universities and non-profit educational organizations. Guidelines can be obtained by calling the AT&T Foundation at 212-841-6007, faxing a request to 212-841-8643, sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or going online at http://www.att.com/foundation.
Beginning this month, AT&T will begin working with school districts and communities throughout the country to offer information that explains the benefits of connecting to the Information Superhighway and helps communities find the on- ramp.
In collaboration with Scholastic Inc., AT&T developed the information based on research of urban, suburban and rural teachers, parents, administrators and local business leaders. Called the AT&T Learning Network Community Guide, the information clearly addresses technology planning issues and includes real-life success stories, a technical resource guide and blueprint for using technology in schools and other community facilities, as well as practical advice and helpful hints for finding funding resources.
Given the constant changes and upgrades to new technology, AT&T said this support could prove particularly valuable in helping schools and communities prepare for the future. The company noted that policymakers and educators on the federal government-appointed National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, for example, predict that in three to five years readily available technology will be interactive, have multimedia capability and will be a network of networks, and that the Internet will merge with a two-way, interactive distance-learning network.
"Through this local outreach, we are helping further broad access to new technology so all of our nation's schools and communities can prepare themselves and their students for the 21st century and beyond," Allen said.
The AT&T Learning Network brings schools, students and parents closer together with AT&T's new voice-messaging service, which allows teachers, administrators and coaches to leave voice-mail messages in designated mailboxes of parents and students. AT&T plans to roll out this easy-to- use service over the next five years, beginning with some 75 schools in California and Connecticut in early 1997. AT&T recently signed a co-marketing agreement with Advanced Voice Technologies, Inc., developer of the Homework Hotline concept, to help implement the service and train teachers and administrators to maximize its value to educators.
"AT&T is offering technology that is easy for teachers to use and effective in helping students learn, and we're backing it up with solid technical and financial support," Allen said. "I hope every school, every community in the U.S. takes us up on our offer."
Schools interested in receiving free Internet service, on-line teacher mentoring and other gateways to new technology through the AT&T Learning Network should call 1-800-809-1097. Or visit us on the Web at http://www.att.com/learning_network. Schools and consumers interested in registering for the AT&T Learning Points Program should call 1-800-354-8800.
(a) AT&T Learning Points Program includes consumer long-distance and local toll calls, not wireless long-distance calls.
CONTACT: Ruthlyn Newell