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20 Schools To Pilot Test 'Desk-Top Video'

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Twenty schools across the country will receive expensive computer hardware from Commodore Business Machines Inc. as part of a test the company is making of how computers can be used to facilitate videotape production.

The 20 schools were winners in a competition sponsored by Commodore in conjunction with the National School Boards Association's Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education. They will receive Amiga 2000 personal computers and related hardware--a package worth about $5,000--in exchange for sharing with the company video productions that can be used in advertising.

All of the winning schools had4demonstrated innovation in mining the instructional applications of "desk-top video."

That term was coined to describe the use of the Amiga, together with other equipment, to imprint computer-generated text and graphics on videotape film. According to some computer experts, the productions achieved through this desk-top method can approach professional-quality programming.

The winning projects were selected from more than 75 proposals submitted by schools nationwide. Schools in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were among the winners.

Applicants were all members of the itte's Technology Leadership Network, a coalition of 150 schools that have demonstrated proficiency in the use of educational technology.

Representatives from the winning schools were trained in the use of the equipment at a recent workshop at the Cable News Network Center in Atlanta.

Improving Language Skills

Educators were asked in the competition to describe at least one video project of their own design they would like to complete this year.

Projects ranged from video yearbooks to student-produced news reports for cable television.

At T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., one of two winning schools in that state, the equipment will be used to improve the quality of an existing project.

In it, students with limited English proficiency, many of them immigrants from war-torn countries in Central America and Southeast Asia, produce videos about their lives in the United States and their struggles to escape their homelands.

Teachers at the school said that many students who previously were reluctant to use English have become fluent in the language as a result of the videotape project.

The addition of the Amiga 2000, they added, will greatly streamline the process of producing the tapes.

--pw

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