America Online Inc. and the Maryland Department of Education will announce a partnership today that will give schools services such as free e-mail and allow the state to post local information on AOL's educational Web site.
The announcement will be made at the Maryland Technology Showcase, an annual high-tech expo with more than 300 exhibits. The showcase runs today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center.
More than 12,000 visitors are expected at the showcase, touted as the largest technology event of its kind in the nation. Admission is free, and visitors will be able to meet with technology companies and learn about new products and services.
Through the AOL and Maryland schools partnership, AOL will provide all schools in the state - public and private - with free software that gives teachers and students services such as e-mail and content filtering, said Terry Crane, vice president of education products for AOL.
The software will also give the state a place on the Web site, www.school.aol.com, to post important local information, such as assessment exams or new reading requirements.
"Somebody can go to this site, look for resources, for a lesson plan and then also check the Maryland section on the site to find updated information on content standards," said Linda Bazerjian, a spokeswoman for the education department.
The Web site is a gateway to AOL's school sites for students, teachers and administrators. It enables students and teachers to find information specific to their needs. With the software AOL is giving Maryland schools, the state will have a window to post information on the pages for teachers, administrators and students. That would allow the state to post, for instance, information about state standards or about colleges.
After today's announcement, AOL will ship the software to every school in Maryland, Crane said. Maryland is the third state to take part in this initiative, after Virginia and Florida.
Also at the technology showcase, the state will preview a Web site, www.emaryland.net, that is to be launched in February. That Web site will allow users to run a search of several state sites simultaneously. So, a person can learn how to register for a community college, or find out what licenses and permits are needed to start a business, and apply for those permits through the site.
"We were looking for the next generation search engine or the next generation portal," said Major F. Riddick Jr., chief of staff for Gov. Parris N. Glendening and chairman of the showcase.
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development will be at the showcase to unveil a prototype of its newest business development tool - a redesigned Web site, www.choosemaryland.org, with tools such as virtual site tours that can be used by companies considering moving to or expanding their business in Maryland.