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Online in Oklahoma

Learning mathematics may never be the same in Oklahoma—at least if an experimental online math curriculum about to be tested at nine schools is judged a success.

Later this month, teachers at nine Oklahoma schools will begin helping the developers in preparing the curriculum and then pilot-testing it with their students in grades 4 and 7. The curriculum, to include algebra, will be presented to students on computer screens using a blend of text, graphics, and "streaming" video.

Those materials, along with tools to assess students' progress and keep administrative records, will be delivered from central computers over Oklahoma's statewide computer network, called OneNet. The Virtual Internet School in Oklahoma Network, as the project is called, is Oklahoma's bid to join other states—including Florida, Kentucky, and Illinois— that are providing online courses to schools.

If the test goes well and the legislature provides enough money, the program will be made available to schools, libraries, and homes throughout the state, beginning in July. "This far-reaching, ambitious program lays the groundwork in Oklahoma for what is commonly referred to as a connected learning community," Sandy Garrett, the state schools superintendent, said in a statement. "Master teachers" from the nine districts involved—Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Claremore, Durant, Frontier, Lawton, Muskogee, Stilwell, and Western Heights—will help develop the online math curricula as their schools are testing it, according to Ms. Garrett. Other subjects will be added later.

At first, the online materials will be used as supplements to regular classes. But when the curriculum is fully developed, the project could be used to deliver entire courses online.

So far, $400,000 has been spent on the project, but state education officials plan to ask for $5 million more for it this year.

—Andrew Trotter

Vol. 20, Issue 20, Page 16

Published in Print: January 31, 2001, as State Journal

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