NEWARK - New Jersey's K-12 students have a new gateway to learning through a statewide video portal and "virtual academy" that is the first of its kind in the nation. The video portal, provided by Verizon New Jersey, enables schools around the state to hold live, interactive video classes for students statewide without incurring long-distance charges.
Verizon is the first local phone company to deliver broadband video services on a large scale to schools across LATA (long-distance) boundaries under a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The portal provided by Verizon is part of the company's Access New Jersey program to provide advanced technology to the state's K-12 schools and public libraries.
New Jersey's new video portal and video academy were launched today by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Verizon New Jersey President Dennis Bone in a ceremony at the Bergen County Technical School in Hackensack.
"Technology is among our highest priorities for schools and we are making great progress because of the technological expertise we have here in the Garden State," said Gov. Whitman.
The inaugural broadcast connected students and teachers at Bergen County Technical Schools, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) in Trenton, the Camden City School District, Vineland Public Schools, Ocean County Technical Schools and the West Deptford Schools in Gloucester County. Students, teachers and professional development specialists interacted with the Governor, NJDOE Commissioner David Hespe and other invited guests for the event. Today's demonstration allowed teachers and students from across the state to participate in a discussion with the Governor about the "Origin of Prejudice."
With the portal in place, the live broadcast sessions will offer content based on the state's curriculum standards for Language Arts Literacy, World Languages and Visual and Performing Arts via interactive video conferencing. The New Jersey Professional Education Program, also will be part of the Video Academy curriculum as an interactive professional development tool for teachers.
The backbone of Verizon's video portal network consists of dedicated Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches located in each of New Jersey's three LATAs; one in Newark, one in Atlantic City and one in Mt. Laurel. Each of the video portal's ATM switch locations is connected to the Verizon public ATM and ISDN (integrated services digital network) network. By placing an ATM switch or "on-ramp" in each LATA, every school in the state has equal access to the enhanced services the video portal provides.
"Verizon's Access New Jersey commitment is helping to ensure that the children of New Jersey have the educational opportunities they will need to prepare them for the 21st century," said Verizon's Dennis Bone. "And our educational partnership with the state is setting an example for others across the nation to follow."
A nationally recognized partnership between government and the private sector, Verizon's Access New Jersey was established in 1997 in an agreement between the Board of Public Utilities, the Ratepayer Advocate's office and Verizon (then known as Bell Atlantic) in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Education. The program, which represents an $80 million commitment by Verizon, was designed to link K-12 schools and libraries with advanced technology resources.
Through the Access New Jersey program, Verizon is providing educational discounts for ISDN, frame relay, SMDS (switched multimegabit data service) and ATM services; free customer premises equipment and network development. As of June 30, 1,483 K-12 schools, 140 non-public schools, and 367 public libraries in the state were taking advantage of the program.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access line equivalents and more than 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.