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Conference Features Computer Education

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Educators from 30 states will convene on Sept. 7 at 57 sites--including Holiday Inns and the studios of public-television stations--to watch a video teleconference that will familiarize them with six model computer-education programs selected for inclusion in the National Diffusion Network (ndn).

The ndn, which receives about $10 million each year in discretionary funds from the U.S. Education Department, provides grants to aid in the dissemination of "special materials" developed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The ndn was initially authorized by Congress in 1974.

Five states in the network--Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska--will spend $4,500 from regional network funds to defray production costs of the teleconference and of studio and satellite time, according to James H. Connett, director of the Kansas Educational Dissemination Diffusion System-link, coordinator of the event.

The teleconference can be watched by any school district or educational group that has a satellite dish and can receive signals from the Westar-4 satellite.

10,000 Viewers Expected

As many as 10,000 viewers are expected to participate; more than 1,000 will watch from conference rooms in 20 Holiday Inns across the country. The hotel chain has offered ndn half-day rates of $625 for rooms that will seat up to 100 people, the use of a satellite dish, and video projectors or television monitors.

Other viewers will watch the teleconference at public-television stations, on cable television, or, if they have access to a satel-lite-receiver dish, in school auditoriums.

The Nebraska educational-television network will broadcast the event.

During the teleconference, directors of the six ndn projects will make presentations and answer questions from viewers. The viewers will be in communication with the broadcasting site at kuon-tv (the public-television station of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln) via telephone.

Five of the six projects chosen to make presentations are:

"Computeronics," which was designed by the Leon County School Board in Tallahassee, Fla. to introduce gifted students in grades 6 and 7 to computer programming, problem solving, and computer literacy;

The "Individualized Prescriptive Arithmetic Skills System" (ipass), developed by the Pawtucket (R.I.) School Department, which uses microcomputers and specially designed software to monitor the achievement of students in basic mathematical skills;

Project "cam," a microcomputer-based instructional management system first started by the Hopkins (Minn.) Public Schools--and currently used in 1,000 classrooms nationwide--that helps teachers use students' test scores to monitor how well they are achieving course objectives and also to show the students their progress.

Cooperative Federation for Educational Experiences (Project coffee), a comprehensive occupational-education program in high technology for ''alienated/disaffected" secondary-school students. The program was designed by seven school districts near Oxford, Mass., in cooperation with local business and industry;

A project, developed by the Asbury Park (N.J.) Board of Education, that uses computers to teach secondary-school mathematics.

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