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Olympic Competition and New Technology Give Students around the World Innovative Ways to Learn Math, Science and Social Studies
Alexandria, VA -- February 4, 1998 (INB) -- PBS, IBM and CBS today launched the U.S. Olympic PBS Cyber School Powered by IBM, an innovative, cross-curricular Web site providing educational benefits to students in grades 4-8 by combining state-of-the-art technology and the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games about to begin in Nagano, Japan. The Cyber School site is located at www.ibm.pbscyberschool.org.
Designed by PBS, the Cyber School harnesses the excitement of world-class Olympic competition in figure skating, downhill skiing and snowboarding to teach students important science, math and social studies concepts. It also provides them with an understanding of how these concepts are applied in everyday life.
The PBS Cyber School site features more than 80 interactive educational challenges created by PBS member station Thirteen/WNET working with more than 40 master teachers and their classes from WNET's National Teacher Training Institute for Math, Science and Technology (NTTI), along with PBS and IBM educational specialists. A typical challenge, such as "Newton Rides the Snowboard," will help students gain a better understanding of how the laws of physics can help athletes improve their Olympic performance through increased speed or refined take-offs and landings.
Designed to guide students through a hands-on learning adventure, each challenge asks students to put their skills to work and to use technology and other on- and off-line resources to help get to the "finish line." PBS will award a randomly-selected group of schools successfully completing the Cyber School challenges cash prizes totaling more than $10,000.
"Young people are exhilarated by the fast pace and excitement of Olympic competition," said Francisca Jorgenson, fifth grade teacher at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, and one of the NTTI teachers who helped build the site. "The PBS Cyber School provides first-rate resources and technology tools we can use to turn that excitement into a genuine learning opportunity for our students. I can't think of a better outcome for the Olympic Games."
"The Cyber School demonstrates the power of digital technology to help teachers and students communicate in new ways," said Ervin S. Duggan, president and chief executive officer of PBS. "To make the most of educational technology, we need to do more than put computers and Internet access into schools. We must ensure that teachers and students in the classroom have the resources they need to integrate technology into their curriculum. The PBS Cyber School does all these things."
"The U.S. Olympic PBS Cyber School Powered by IBM is about IBM applying its best resources -- innovative hardware, software and network solutions -- to helping children learn and achieve," said Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation. "The Internet brings a new dimension of communication, collaboration and fun to learning. Cyber School is an exciting and educationally sound way to bolster academic standards in math, science and history."
Each PBS Cyber School challenge addresses rigorous national education standards and is linked to a comprehensive lesson plan. The challenges are organized into beginner, intermediate and advanced categories to give teachers the flexibility they need to ensure that students with all skill levels have an equal opportunity to benefit from the site. The Cyber School is highly interactive, enabling students from around the world to collaborate in responding to challenges and providing teachers with unprecedented access to their peers through an online "teacher talk" area.
Members of SeniorNet, an online community of more than 18,000 people 55 years and older, will evaluate user input to the Cyber School Web site, including responses to challenges and contributions to discussion areas.
"CBS Sports and CBS SportsLine are thrilled to participate in the Olympic Cyber School project," said Sean McManus, president, CBS Sports. "As the exclusive network broadcaster of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, CBS has the research, production, and promotional resources necessary to ensure success for this ground-breaking educational online venture. We are certain that the cooperation between PBS's Cyber School and CBS's Olympic coverage will provide students everywhere with an innovative means to capture the true spirit of the Olympic Winter Games."
"Cyber School is creative, technology-based learning at its best," said Ruth Ann Burns, vice president for education at WNET. "We were happy to harness the expertise of NTTI master teachers working with our own online producers to create this new learning model. It provides students with a connection between what they learn in school and what those lessons mean in the real world, by using the Olympics as the exciting and teachable moment." NTTI, the largest grassroots teacher training program of its kind in the country, trains teachers in hands-on methods for using technology interactively in the classroom.
* PBS Cyber School screen shots in 35mm color slide format or electronic GIF file can be obtained from Kendra Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 914.499.2808.
* For a list of teachers in your area participating in the construction of the PBS Cyber School, please contact Michele Norman at email@example.com or call 202.879.9349.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
PBS, contact Kevin Dando at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.739.5073
IBM, contact Kendra Collins at email@example.com or call 914.499.2808
CBS, contact Dana McClintock, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.975.1077