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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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District 81 Takes Part In Pilot Computer Project Inappropriate Internet Sites Blocked; Students Steered To Educational Ones

Spokane teachers are participating in a project that helps steer students to approved Internet sites and away from inappropriate ones.

Apple Computer chose Spokane School District 81 as one of four school districts in the nation to participate in the Learning Interchange project.

Students will be able to check out Internet sites geared toward the subject they’re studying in school, whether it be science, history or math.

“This is entirely teacher-filtered, and we know it’s good for education,” said Jeanette Cates, an Apple consultant who spent Tuesday training teachers at Libby Center.

Web sites without educational merit are blocked, so teachers can leave students alone on the Internet without worrying they’ll wander to pornographic sites, for instance.

A dozen companies, universities, school districts and government agencies are involved in the project, including Penn State University, Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee state Department of Education.

Spokane schools were chosen because of their commitment to technology in classrooms, said Tom Burnett, a manager in Apple’s education division. Spokane teachers will try out the service this year and give Apple suggestions on how to make it better.

Later, the project may become a subscription service offered to school districts across the country. Teachers someday will be able to log on to find lesson plans that fit in with local and state curriculum plans, Cates said.

Cindy Simonson, who teaches fifth- and sixth-graders at Westview Elementary School, said she expects the service to save valuable time in searching for usable classroom material.

“It’s a quick find, and I know it’s something other teachers have trusted,” Simonson said. “It’d take me hours to find the same thing.”

, DataTimes

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