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APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY, SOUTHERN BELL, AT&T UNVEIL DISTANCE LEARNING NETWORK THAT COULD CHANGE K-12 EDUCATIONAL PROCESS IN AMERICA

APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY, SOUTHERN BELL, AT&T UNVEIL DISTANCE LEARNING NETWORK THAT COULD CHANGE K-12 EDUCATIONAL PROCESS IN AMERICA
 BOONE, N.C., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Appalachian State University, Southern Bell and AT&T today (Oct. 6) unveiled and demonstrated an ISDN- driven distance learning network which, if implemented nationwide, could forever change the K-12 educational process in America.
 With a keynote video address from AT&T Bell Laboratories President John Mayo, Appalachian officials announced that the program is the first distance-learning network on the East Coast to use ISDN technology over existing copper telephone lines.
 ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, an international standard for digital networks, which provides end-users with integrated access for voice, data, image and other services.
 "The new telecommunications technology that will impact education the most over the next five years will be ISDN," said Mayo, a North Carolina native. From Bell Labs' Murray Hill, N.J., headquarters, Mayo addressed some 250 attending the announcement -- part of a national ISDN distance-learning conference at Appalachian.
 Mayo said a major part of ISDN's impact will be to enable the enhanced networking of schools and universities to access remote expertise.
 "This means ISDN will not only broaden the classroom, but it may redefine the classroom," Mayo said. "The physical boundaries of the classroom will cease to exist. The new boundaries will be unlimited by geography. With ISDN, we will not only get access to information, we will also get increased access to remote expertise. No longer will subject-matter experts always have to physically travel to distant classrooms. They will be able to reach such classrooms via ISDN video links."
 "Impact North Carolina: 21st Century Education" -- as the Appalachian program is called -- represents a 10-year partnership among the University, Southern Bell and AT&T.
 "Through this partnership, Appalachian will extend its mission of education and services to the region, and help raise K-12 classroom education to new levels," said Appalachian Chancellor John E. Thomas.
 "By using the public telephone network, we can deliver the resources of this University to the public schools, and everybody benefits. The companies are able to test their equipment in the field, our teacher education majors are far ahead of their peers in knowledge of distance learning, current classroom teachers have unprecedented access to continuing education, student teachers get immediate feedback from their faculty advisors and best of all, the partners work together in improving the education of pupils in public school classrooms," Thomas said.
 The networks' backbone is made up of 13 basic rate interface ISDN lines provided out of Southern Bell's Boone 5ESS office, and a 5ESS remote switching module in nearby Blowing Rock. Three ISDN lines terminate in each of three Watauga County public schools -- two elementary and one high school -- with four ISDN lines installed at Appalachian. Interactive voice, data and video are transmitted at a speed of 112 kbps.
 "We at Southern Bell are excited about working with the folks at Appalachian and AT&T on a project that is showing such promise for education," said J. Billie Ray, Jr., North Carolina president of Southern Bell, a subsidiary of BellSouth.
 "Impact North Carolina is especially significant in terms of the education reform and equity it can help bring about, by putting resources within reach of students and educators in areas that are more isolated geographically," Ray said.
 The project is unique because of its use of existing copper telephone lines. Most distance-learning projects use more expensive fiber optic cable, microwave or satellite technology.
 "Using the existing network, along with ISDN technology, helps put the power of technology to use when and where it's needed," Ray said.
 AT&T Foundation and the company's Network Systems, Federal Systems and NCR units donated ISDN telephone sets, Starlan, personal computers, multimedia stations, fileservers, terminal adaptors, scanners, video equipment and technical support.
 Compression Labs, Inc., a vendor for the projects, provided video compression/decompression (codec) equipment.
 "We at AT&T are naturally proud that our ISDN technology is in use here at Boone," said J.M. Mauriello, regional vice president for AT&T Network Systems in Atlanta. "ISDN is going to change not only how we educate, but also how we live, work and play in the years to come.
 "However, ISDN is not an end in itself. What's more important is that the technology has a higher mission -- to improve educational opportunities for our children, especially in rural areas," Mauriello said.
 According to Appalachian Vice Chancellor James Strom, the Impact North Carolina partnership's goals are to use ISDN technology to:
 -- improve instruction by giving K-12 students access to more and better information (remote lecturers, university libraries, etc.);
 -- raise the standard of learning for Watauga County students in grades K-12, as evidenced by improved test scores;
 -- enhance teacher training, student teacher supervision and continuing education at Appalachian's Reich College of Education, known as a "teacher of teachers," which graduates 25 percent of North Carolina's teachers; and
 -- demonstrate that ISDN-based distance learning is cost-effective, especially in today's lean economic times, slashed education budgets and personnel shortages.
 Watauga County School Superintendent C. David Greene believes that as


school systems across the country consider the need to restructure public education, technology will be the key factor in the implementation of change -- especially as the role of the teacher moves toward management and the role of the student becomes more self-directed.
 "The Appalachian-Public Schools Partnership is embarking on a project which will be a pilot for moving public education successfully into the 21st century," Greene said.
 "As a participate in this pilot project, Watauga County schools are excited about the options and opportunities that are being explored. The possibilities are unlimited with the ultimate impact directed to student instruction, teacher preparation and lifelong educational opportunities," said Greene.
 -0- 10/6/92
 /CONTACT: Speed Hallman of Appalachian State University, 704-262-2092; Lynn Roberson, 704-378-6765, or Curtis Hedgecock, 704-754-1747, both of Southern Bell; or Mickey Noah of AT&T Network Systems, 404-573-7099/
 (T BLS) CO: Appalachian State University; Southern Bell; AT&T ST: North Carolina IN: TLS SU: PDT


CM -- CH003 -- 6992 10/06/92 10:46 EDT
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Date:Oct 6, 1992
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