BALTIMORE - Two Baltimore area schools instrumental in advancing the use of distance learning technology across the region received gifts of $3,000 each today from Bell Atlantic - Maryland during a ceremony at the company's downtown office. The gifts recognize the schools' contribution to the growth of education technology as hosts of Bell Atlantic's Regional Distance Learning Teacher Training Academy this past summer.
Bell Atlantic Vice President of External Affairs John W. Dillon, flanked by alumni of the academy, presented the checks to Canton Middle School in Baltimore City and Sollers Point Southeastern Technical High School in Dundalk. A demonstration of the power of distance learning in the classroom followed the award ceremony. "These schools understand how important technology is in the modern classroom, and we commend them for sharing this knowledge with others," said Dillon. "Thanks to their help, 140 teachers from around our region now have state-of-the art skills and exciting new ways to educate students here and around the nation."
The Bell Atlantic Foundation funded the two-day training course, which also enabled 28 of the teachers to get additional intensive training through a supplemental scholarship. This one-week Summer Academy fostered the creation of an instructor corps which is now training additional teachers around the Bell Atlantic territory.
"These new skills are vital as school administrators wrestle with the need to provide the best education possible at the lowest cost," Dillon noted. "Distance learning technology shares scarce teaching resources so that children in Maryland's largest cities and tiniest hamlets have access to knowledge that once was the stuff of imagination."
This year, graduates of the teacher training academy are empowering their colleagues with innovative new ways to bring students closer to their subjects.
Associate Professor Barbara Marder used the skills she learned at the academy to link students at Howard Community College in Columbia with her class at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold. "I also used the technology to take my students on a video field trip to various theaters throughout Baltimore," she said. "There is no question that my distance teaching is better as a result of the hands-on experience presented by the academy, and by the opportunity to observe and evaluate the presentations of my fellow students."
Paul Walsh, uses distance learning technology daily in his job as a television producer and director for the Baltimore County Public Schools. "The teacher training academy has proven to be invaluable to my work," he noted. "Meeting other educators from around the region and sharing ways to empower students with distance learning was one of the most rewarding aspects of the session."
Bell Atlantic - Maryland leads the state in helping schools use distance learning technology. The company's $13 million effort to provide $50,000 to every four-year public college, community college and high school to purchase distance learning equipment is progressing rapidly. Regionwide, over 75 organizations take advantage of the company's fiber optic networks to provide broadcast-quality courses and seminars to classrooms and training centers regionwide.
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.