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The Council of Chief State School Officers and the U.S. Commerce Department's national telecommunications and information administration have scheduled a free teleconference early next month to discuss a joint initiative to assess the role that telecommunications may play in helping schools meet the national education goals.

The council has appointed a panel, led by State Superintendent of Schools Henry Marockie of West Virginia, to study the state of play in educational telecommunications nationally and to make recommendations to the federal agency for providing schools with access to the "information superhighway'' that the nation's telephone, cable, and other communications companies are building.

The teleconference, which is scheduled for 1 to 2:30 P.M. Eastern time on Aug. 6, will feature a keynote address by Larry Irving, the department's assistant secretary for communications and information.

In addition, an expert panel, which is expected to include such national figures as Sandra Welch, the executive vice president of the Public Broadcasting Service, and Inabeth Miller, the president-elect of the U.S. Distance Learning Association, will field questions about the role of telecommunications in education reform.

More than 100 public-television stations across the country will carry the teleconference.

The teleconference signal will be made public before Aug. 6 for organizations that wish to sponsor individual downlinks.

For more information, telephone Peter Pantsari at the Southern Educational Communications Association, (803) 799-5517.

Among the host of new products exhibited at the National Education Computing Conference last month in Orlando, Fla., was a new product from Apple Computer Inc. that is designed specifically to maintain the California computer maker's substantial share in the K-12 market.

The new Macintosh computer, the LC 250, which is available in the United States only to K-12 schools and colleges, is now available for orders.

The new machine, which incorporates such features as a built-in CD-ROM drive, high-quality stereo sound, and a high-definition color monitor, was designed to meet requests for specific features requested by educators, according to Apple spokesmen.

The LC 250 is built around a 25-megahertz Motorola 68030 microprocessor and comes with 5 megabytes of random-access memory and an 80-megabyte internal hard disk.

The basic machine, without keyboard or Apple IIe emulation card, is expected to retail for $1,509.--P.W.

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