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Thread: Internet2 opens new frontiers for area schools

  1. #1
    Web Junky Matt is on a distinguished road
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    Internet2 opens new frontiers for area schools

    An express lane on the information superhighway opened on Wednesday for many Central Nebraska schools.

    The schools that receive their Internet access through Educational Service Unit 10 -- which includes most of Grand Island's schools -- as well as ESUs 11, 15 and 16 now have access to Internet2.

    The addition could provide not only faster exchanges of information but also the means to make new educational ideas a reality, officials said.

    Internet2 was started about five years ago after the original Internet filled up with commercial and other traffic, said Alan Wibbels, ESU 10's network and information services director.

    Colleges and universities sharing research were the original users.

    But K-12 education is gaining Internet2 access through a combined purchase of Internet service with the University of Nebraska, state government and other entities, a statement from Lt. Gov. Dave Heineman said. Heineman announced the new access on Wednesday as chairman of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission.

    The most immediate impact for area schools may be faster service.

    Because Internet2 doesn't share its bandwidth with the horde of noneducational traffic on the regular Internet, things move much more quickly, Wibbels said.

    All the IP addresses in ESU 10 and ESUs 11, 15 and 16 -- for which ESU 10 provides Internet access -- are registered with Internet2, he said. So when they communicate between each other, that information will travel along the newer, faster network.

    As an example of how much faster Internet2 can be, Wibbels said the ESU conducted a test on Tuesday by downloading a video. It turned out chunky and pixelated, he said.

    The same video downloaded "pretty much in real time" on Wednesday with Internet2, he said.

    "The transmission of it was probably 100 times faster," Wibbels said.

    As for new ways of learning that can be made possible with Internet2, he said, "We're kind of back in the pioneer days and exploring the frontier."

    Ideas he's heard discussed include classrooms working with the Smithsonian and connecting with a classroom in Spain.

    Many small schools served by ESU 10 rely on distance education, in which roomfuls of students interact with a teacher in another location. With Internet2, a student could potentially do the same thing with a computer on his desk, Wibbels said.

    "There's the potential that every desktop could be a unique learning environment," he said.

    Sue Burch, the Grand Island school district's director of technology, said computers equipped with iSight cameras and online chatting could allow students to do research with an artist or college professor at some distant location. Or they could work on a project with another student in another town or country.

    "It will provide us access to a greater number of resources hopefully in a more efficient manner," Burch said of Internet2.

    She said the district hasn't talked to teachers about the potential of the Internet2 access they'll have available when they return to school in August.

    "This will be more of a surprise," she said. So teachers will have to give some thought to how they may want to use it.

    "The collaborative projects and wide array of resources that are available through this high-speed educational network are astounding," Heineman said. "We look forward to Nebraska students sharing information and participating in nationwide and even worldwide video-conferences with other schools, colleges, museums and science centers."

    ESUs 10, 11, 15 and 16 include 163 school districts. Central Nebraska counties included are Adams, Boone, Buffalo, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Howard, Loup, Merrick, Nance, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler.

    The ESUs are receiving Internet2 through a $36,000 annual membership fee for the entire state, Wibbels said. That fee is being paid this year by the University of Nebraska system, he said, but will be an expense shared by the groups wanting the access after that.
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  2. #2
    Active Member the illest is on a distinguished road
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    Heh, now they can do that in KC, MO.

    Though it wouldn't really matter, the computers in our school district suck because the techs don't know how to maintain 'em. heh

  3. #3
    Full Member whiteknight is on a distinguished road
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    oh great, another new "information superhighway" that is completely devoid of porno--for now.

    seriously, how long until they add some hardcore barnyard action to this magical new "internet2?" it wont be long.

  4. #4
    Full Member HellFear is on a distinguished road
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    Wow, 100 times faster ! I hate stupid dial-up.

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