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AOL Goes to School

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, May 18, 2000

The most popular online service you can't pry your kids away from at home... is coming to the classroom. It is called AOL@School, a new service being offered to every school in America for free. I'm among those usually suspicious about this kind of thing and you can bet lots of parents are thinking... "Great, now my kids will be in chat rooms at school and after school". So, what's going on here? Dr. Terry Crane is AOL's new Vice President for Education...

"AOL has been a company that's mission is to build community, and the community has been centered on the home and the family and the school is a natural extension of that."

First, it's a Web site, School.Aol.com. What I like is how it is divided into grade levels, primary, elementary, middle school and high school. The idea is to steer students and teachers to the most appropriate content on the Web... for the subject being studied. And the search engine filters content without the need to install special software. If kids search for the word "sex", they'll see listings for Department of Labor population statistics based on gender. Schools can get AOL@School software for free as well...

"Every student, teacher and administrator gets their own email account, chat room capability and instant messaging."

The teachers, by the way decide whether those tools are turned on or off for the students. We've got more to tell you about technology and education at ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.