N.C. teachers get Web template

Example of a teacher's Web site

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A North Carolina pilot project begun earlier this year that provides public school teachers with a customizable template to build classroom Web pages has become so successful that the initiative was launched statewide this fall.

Currently, about 35 of the state's 100 counties are participating in the NC Classes Online (www.ncgov.com/ncclasses) project, which was developed jointly by the state, Accenture, Yahoo, and BellSouth Corp.

Rob Berton, a partner with Accenture, said he believed that North Carolina is the only state offering the service to all of its schools. State and company officials did not know the number of teachers using the service.

An hour-long training session sets teachers on their way to using the Web page development tool, called PageWizard, to communicate with parents and post homework assignments, schedules, lunch menus and other school-related information. The service is offered through the state portal and is free for teachers.

Teachers are not required to use it, but Frances Bradburn, state director of instruction technology, said interest is so great that a presentation of this project at a recent state education technology conference attracted a standing-room-only crowd in a 300-seat meeting space.

"The thing that is most interesting is how willing teachers were to move in this direction," she said. "Whole schools are saying, eThis is the way we're going to communicate with parents.' Before, technology [usage] has been one or two people who do this. Technology oftentimes has not been a whole school event. With this, this has been a whole school event. No question about it."

Bradburn said the only problem the state is having is finding enough people and money to do the training. "Equipment is not the issue," she said.

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