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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 1996
THEATRICAL TROUPE WILL USE STAGE, VIDEO NETWORKS TO DELIVER
INNOVATIVE LESSONS TO SCHOOLS, STUDENTS
Bell Atlantic Foundation Provides Grant for "ArtsPower" Program
in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland
ARLINGTON, VA - Interactive networks linking dozens of
classrooms in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland will be pumping out
more than the 3 R's next fall. Live dramatic performances will enrich
lessons in English, history, social studies and language for students
in high schools that use distance learning technology.
ArtsPower, a 10-year-old national touring theater company located in
Ridgewood, N.J., has been awarded a $50,000 grant by the Bell Atlantic
Foundation to expand on a pilot program Bell Atlantic funded last year
in New Jersey. In that program, students in Bergen and Morris
Counties and the award-winning Christopher Columbus School in Union
City experienced a blend of arts and humanities training including
performances brought into the classroom over interactive distance
"ArtsPower has enhanced the impact of interactive distance learning
content by adding professional performing arts to traditional
curricula," said Peter J. Ventimiglia, vice president-external
for Bell Atlantic-New Jersey and a director of the Bell Atlantic
Foundation. "Under this new grant, ArtsPower will do far more than
develop performances that fit the subject matter for various classroom
topics. It will work with experts in curriculum and school
administration to create innovative curricula and materials that
teachers can use to tie class work to the televised performances."
During the coming school year, ArtsPower will stage 15 telecasts that
include live performances by the professional troupe, interviews with
performers and creators, as well as guest lectures in the humanities
and arts. These programs will support cooperative classroom
activities among interconnected schools.
On programs dubbed "electronic field trips," ArtsPower will air
interviews with experts that address themes common to various class
subjects. For example, an interview could link Shakespeare, history
and a class unit on morals and ethics.
Students and teachers engaged in the program will have access to
electronic mail to exchange ideas, make contact, download class
materials and collaborate on problem-solving exercises. Lesson plans
to support all these activities will be developed and shared by
To support delivery of the program, ArtsPower will train 30 teachers
in the dynamic use of video distance learning technology and
With more than 200 classrooms wired for interactive learning, New
Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are among the states leading the country
in innovative use of technology in education.
The ArtsPower program, called "Creative Communication," will
supported by various educational experts and the Ramapo College of New
Jersey International Telecommunications Center.
ArtsPower co-founders Gary and Mark Blackman embraced the power of
video hookups to classrooms and launched the Arts and Interactive
Television Project last year in north Jersey. "This time, we want to
reach deeper into the subject matter that teachers are trying to
impart and lend the artistic element to it to deliver it in a
high-impact way," Mark Blackman said. "We've engaged many
both teaching and key topics to develop the new program," he said.
The Bell Atlantic Foundation supports programs dealing with
pre-college math, science and technology education and innovative uses
of technology in education.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
- Jim Smith, (703) 974-5446
Mark Blackman (201) 652-0100