September 16, 1996 2:00 PM PDT

Schools get their own network

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June 6, 1996
Scholastic Network (SCHL), will announce tomorrow that it is pulling its online subscription service from America Online and carving out its own frontier on the Web.

Scholastic Network had offered the fee-based service on AOL but decided to move to the Web where it could broaden its subscription base of 8,000 schools, said Robert Gehorsam, vice president of new media.

The move shows just how dependent schools are becoming on the Internet and could demonstrate that people are willing to pay for informative services on the Web.

The move to the Web "seemed inevitable," Gehorsam said. "Schools are connecting to the Internet at very rapid rates. We want to be on a platform teachers want to use."

AOL still has educational content on its proprietary service, including an area called the Electronic Schoolhouse.

The Internet also supports thousands of educational sites, most of which are free, for both teachers and students, Gehorsam acknowledged.

For example, science teachers can turn to a site called Eureka or environmental educators could turn to EE Link.

But Gehorsam feels schools will pay the annual subscription rates, which range from $200 for individuals to $2,000 for an entire school to have access, because Scholastic's site is so comprehensive.

"We are the first, and to our knowledge, the only comprehensive K-to-12 site for all subject matters," he said. "There are a zillion sites that do one thing or another. We have really made a concerted effort to create original programming."

The site includes more than 400 classroom projects, educational games, and frequent guests.

The site also is adding a prescreened search engine to help save teachers time. So far they have 600 sites on the engine and hope have 10,000 by the end of the year.

Other established search engines, such as Yahooligans, an offshoot of Yahoo, and Magellan already offer such services.


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