18-Wheel Big Rig Brings Technological Training To Nation’s Neediest Schools
WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ — In an unprecedented effort to bring technology training directly to teachers in the nation’s most needy schools, TECH CORPS® — a non profit, volunteer technology organization — today announced a new national technology education program, dubbed CyberEd, at a White House ceremony attended by Vice President Gore.

The CyberEd program is a traveling classroom on wheels that will provide hands-on Internet and advanced, on-line communications training to local educators and community leaders across the country. Armed with the proper training, educators will be encouraged to integrate these technologies with their current teaching curricula.

Beginning today and continuing throughout the year, CyberEd and other White House programs will provide free hardware, connectivity, training and Internet access to more than 400 schools in 15 designated Empowerment Zones, communities with a demonstrated need for economic revitalization efforts.

“CyberEd was created to support the White House initiative to foster meaningful partnerships between private sector businesses and their communities, ” said TECH CORPS Executive Director Karen Smith. “We hope the CyberEd program will mobilize community members to seek out new ways to improve their educational resources.”

The showcase of CyberEd is an 18-wheel big rig truck transformed into a state-of-the-art, fully-functional cyber classroom on wheels. Sponsored by a group led by the MCI Foundation and other organizations, the rig is equipped with personal computers, Internet connectivity, CD- ROMs, presentation facilities, printing, faxing and videoconferencing, “Ed” is the program’s very visible ambassador.

Following the White House launch, the big rig departed Washington, D.C. and headed for the first stop, Detroit. There, TECH CORPS personnel will provide hands-on training to local educators and community officials. Once aboard Ed, educators will be taught to use the state of the art communication systems and learn how to incorporate advanced technologies into existing lesson plans.

During the next five months, CyberEd also will travel to: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, the Kentucky Highlands, Los Angeles, the Mid-Delta region of Mississippi, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia-Camden and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

“Ed’s legacy will linger long after the rig leaves town. We’ll leave behind educators who can help take our children and our classrooms into the 21st Century,” said Smith of TECH CORPS.

“Educating the educators will prove to be increasingly important as the number of public schools equipped with Internet access increases,” added MCI Senior Vice President Vinton G. Cerf, who is widely regarded as the “father” of the Internet. “Over half of the nation’s public schools are currently on line, but some communities — especially economically distressed communities — experience difficulty keeping teachers up to speed on the latest technological advancements.

“With the ever-expanding power of the Internet and global communications, corporations are beginning to realize the importance of training the trainers. We all have responsibility to our children and to future generations to provide advanced technological education,” Cerf said.

CyberEd is developed, maintained and funded by a coalition of non- profit, corporate and private foundations partners, including the MCI Foundation, the Milken Family Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Corning Incorporated and DSC Communications Corporation.

TECH CORPS is a national, non-profit organization of technology volunteers, funded by the business community, that helps improve K-12 education at the grassroots level through the effective integration of technology into the learning environment.