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Foundation Seeks To Help Schools Harness Power of Technology

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A new North Carolina-based philanthropic foundation hopes to raise $30 million to $40 million within the next 18 months to help schools harness the power of "multimedia'' technologies.

Officials of the C.E. Stone Foundation--which was established on May 9 in Winston-Salem, N.C.--will solicit funds from individual and corporate donors to help equip schools with the latest in information technology and computer-networking devices.

One of the foundation's goals is to provide each of the nation's 150,000 school libraries with CD-ROM technology and to provide funding for teacher training and curriculum development.

Rapidly becoming a fixture in many K-12 schools, CD-ROM's are identical to the small platters that have supplanted long-playing records. They can store vastly larger amounts of computer data than conventional floppy disks, allowing still images, video clips, and sound to be stored on a disk and retrieved by computer.

Janet Vickers Gallaher established the foundation in memory of her grandfather, Clarence E. Stone Jr., a North Carolina native and the founder of the Phillips-Stone Wholesale Company.

She said the foundation hopes to launch pilot projects in a group of economically and geographically diverse school districts.

Pilot sites are to be chosen in an open competition in which educators would submit essays describing how the technology would assist their students to learn.

The foundation also plans to establish a teacher training and resource center where teachers could review educational software.

Ms. Gallaher decided to provide the foundation's seed money after becoming convinced of the efficacy of technology as a teaching tool while home-schooling her own children.

"Our mission is to bridge the gap between information technology and the classroom,'' she said.

Technology Award

More information is available from the foundation, in care of Blake Cabot, at: Cudaback Strategic Communications, 11B Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, Mass. 02138; (617) 661-6330.

In a related development, Inabeth Miller, the former executive director of the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications, was recently awarded the C.E. Stone Information Technology Award for Education.

The prize is awarded annually to an individual who is committed to improving and modernizing education through the use of technology.

Ms. Miller, 58, a former classroom teacher and the director of Harvard University's education library, is the president of the U.S. Distance Learning Association.

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