Mississippi goes to AOL@School

AOL@School's

Mississippi has become the seventh state to partner with America Online

Inc. to offer students with an online learning tool for kindergarten through

12th grade, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove announced July 17.

AOL@School, a free online service, offers six age-appropriate learning

portals featuring educational content, communications features and special

safety tools to keep minors from accessing inappropriate material on the

Web. Additionally, the service enables teachers to offer students communication

features such as e-mail and instant messaging at their discretion.

Free software is being sent to all public schools in Mississippi that

will include AOL@School's state focus feature — local information selected

by state education officials. Furthermore, the feature offers states live

content windows in each of the AOL@School's six learning portals, which

are programmed to spotlight information targeted for different age groups.

All U.S. states are being offered the opportunity to take part by providing

state focus content.

In Mississippi, teachers and administrators will now have online access

to tailored information, such as state standards, staff development initiatives,

state education news and teacher certification facts.

Niki Marshall, an AOL spokeswoman, said that the site and software were

redesigned in March based on user feedback. "We decided to enhance the site

with better graphics," she said. "We also instituted a graphics search for

younger kids just in case they can't spell a difficult word."

Mississippi students will begin using the program when schools start

in August.

The governors of six states — Virginia, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania,

Colorado and Georgia — have endorsed AOL@School, and the program is being

used in public and private schools across the country, Marshall said.

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