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Using videodisks, CD-ROM's, and other multimedia technologies in the classroom may improve student understanding and retention of subject matter, a new report from the National School Boards Association concludes.

"Multimedia and Learning: A School Leader's Guide,'' which was published by the N.S.B.A.'s Technology Leadership Network, argues that schools that fail to take advantage of multimedia now may find themselves unable to effectively use the increasingly complex electronic resources that will become available to educators in the near future.

Although multimedia has become a buzzword in the computer industry, it generally refers to products that allow users to electronically combine text, sound, still and video images, and animation.

One of the most popular education uses of multimedia is in electronic encyclopedias. In some schools, though, students and teachers are developing their own multimedia projects.

Copies of the report are $35 each and can be ordered by writing Inez Simonin at the N.S.B.A., 1680 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314 or by calling (703) 838-6758 or (703) 838-6722.


America Online, one of the nation's fastest-growing electronic data services, has recently expanded its offerings for educators.

"The new services ... help strengthen America Online's position as a fun, affordable, interactive-learning medium,'' said Steve Case, the network's president and chief executive officer.

The new services include:

  • The Children's Issues Forum, which was developed by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions.

Among other features, the forum provides information on pending legislation and research on such issues as children's health, education, and safety.

  • IMPACT II--The Teacher's Network, a nationwide, nonprofit organization that promotes teacher professionalism.

In addition to research on improving professional practice, the service includes interactive message boards and conferencing capabilities.

  • The Forum on Technology in Education and Training, a reference service that includes such features as a calendar of educational-technology conferences and national policy papers on education and technology training.

Software to access America Online can be ordered by calling (800) 827-6364.

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