2 Baltimore schools to join national network

September 21, 1992|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Staff Writer

Two Baltimore elementary schools will soon be part of a nationwide network using satellite technology to deliver educational programs and link up dozens of schools around the country.

Elmer A. Henderson and Pimlico Elementary schools are participating in the "Galaxy Classroom" project, started by California-based Hughes Aircraft Co. and using its satellite communications technology.

The non-profit project, which includes 37 schools around the country and one in Mexico, will equip several classrooms in each

school with computers, televisions, VCRs, fax machines and telephones.

Each school will get a satellite dish enabling it to receive 15- to 20-minute language-arts and science videos each week. The programs will be specially developed by the non-profit Galaxy Institute for Education, which was set up by Hughes.

The schools also will be able to swap information with other schools in the project, using the Hughes equipment.

A Hughes spokeswoman estimated that the equipment will cost $25,000 to $30,000 per school. The first broadcasts are expected to take place in January, she said. Officials from the participating schools will take part in a training session in California next week.

The Galaxy Classroom project is projected to cost $26 million through 1994, with funding from Hughes, from a $4 million National Science Foundation grant and from other sources.

In a separate broadcast project this year, all but one of Baltimore's high schools and middle schools are participating in Channel One, a daily program of news and commercials broadcast by Knoxville, Tenn.-based Whittle Communications.

Channel One gives those schools the free use of classroom video equipment but has been criticized by some parents for putting commercial television into the classroom.

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