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 ADVISORY

Not for publication May 25, 1999, No. 354

 

Gov. Hunt to help announce UNC-community college partnership, view LEARN NC in action

Wednesday, May 26, 10 a.m.
Room 300D Grey Culbreth Middle School
225 Culbreth Road, Chapel Hill

Gov. Jim Hunt, Acting University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Bill McCoy, N.C. Community College System President Martin Lancaster and State Superintendent Mike Ward will attend a classroom demonstration of a rapidly growing Internet resource tool for Tar Heel teachers and students called LEARN North Carolina Wednesday (May 26) at Grey Culbreth Middle School in Chapel Hill.

Hunt requested the demonstration several weeks ago. Officials will announce details of a new partnership between UNC-CH and the community college system that will significantly advance the efforts of LEARN North Carolina organizers to reach all of the state’s more than 80,000 public school teachers and 1.1 million public school students.

In addition, visitors to the classroom of sixth-grade teachers Dana Dedmond and Victoria Lunetta will see how LEARN North Carolina helped them teach a lesson with social studies and mathematics concepts. The teachers will use LEARN NC with students on a travel-related activity that will incorporate the political, cultural and social skills of the social studies discipline with the concepts of currency and metric conversion as well as navigational strategy from the world of mathematics. Students will use World Wide Web links found on the LEARN North Carolina site as they explore the logistics of traveling in Europe. Both teachers are in the process of submitting lesson plans to LEARN.

Others attending the demonstration are expected to include Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen, UNC-CH School of Education Dean Madeleine Grumet and Robert Berlam of LEARN North Carolina.

General background

LEARN North Carolina is a one-stop World Wide Web site offered free to all N.C. school systems through the UNC-CH School of Education. LEARN NC (Learners’ and Educators’ Assistance and Resource Network of North Carolina) shows teachers how to use Internet-based technology to increase student achievement and foster community participation in education. Already, 17,000 teachers from all 117 of the state’s school districts statewide have registered and trained to use LEARN. Educators are now using LEARN to help teach 300,000 students at more than 450 elementary schools, 200 middle schools and 150 high schools statewide. Since Jan. 1 of this year, North Carolina educators have accessed the LEARN site and its resources some 240,000 times.

Some of LEARN’s main features include:

An electronic database of exemplary lesson plans to make it easier for teachers to share and develop new and creative ways for students to learn. Lesson plans are indexed by grade, subject and the N.C. Standard Course of Study, set by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and considered to be the teacher’s "bible." So far, teachers across North Carolina have submitted more than 5,000 lesson plans – up dramatically from the approximately 600 that were online a year ago.

Professional development programs for teachers. LEARN allows teachers to seeking training online at their convenience without depending upon teacher workdays or classroom substitutes.

A multimedia resource library containing images, text, sound and video to allow classes to take virtual field trips. Last fall, for example, art teachers began taking students on "guided" tours of the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-CH without setting foot outside their classrooms.

A Web link library offering immediate access to hundreds of other useful Web sites, such as the Library of Congress. About 320 million Web sites can be found on the Internet; LEARN organizers say the network filters the most appropriate materials and information available on the Web today and delivers it into the hands of teachers and students.

UNC-CH designed LEARN with $1.4 million in academic enhancement funds designated by Chancellor Michael Hooker and appropriated by the N.C. General Assembly. LEARN also received $200,000 from Duke Energy based in Charlotte and $100,000 from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to promote teacher involvement. Last fall, Congress earmarked $1.2 million in federal funding to expand the program as a national demonstration project through the U.S. Department of Education.

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Print contact: Mike McFarland, 962-8593/mike_mcfarland@unc.edu

Broadcast contact: Karen Moon, 962-8595/karen_moon@unc.edu