Educational Telecommunications Online in New Jersey
(The following section is reprinted from Hezel Associates, Educational Telecommunications: The State by State Analysis, 1996-97. Copyright, 1996, Hezel Associates. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.)
New Jersey Network (NJN)
New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)
New Jersey Intercampus Network (NJIN)
Office of Telecommunications and Information Systems (OTIS)
In November 1996, Governor Whitman signed into law the Educational Technology Teacher Training Act, which establishes within the Department of Education the "Educational Technology Teacher Training Fund." Grants provided from the fund will be used for the development of at least 21 regional centers to train teachers in high-tech skills to enhance their knowledge of technology, as well as for the acquisition of equipment needed for that technology training. The centers will offer the latest technology for teaching school district teams, which then will train local staff. The legislation provides grants of up to $200,000 per site, with a phase-in timetable that provides for at least seven sites to be established in the first year of the program.
In 1995, the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) proposed the Strategic Plan for Systemic Improvement of Education in New Jersey to coordinate the uses of technology in education and information management. The framework includes the following strategies: 1) work with state agencies, professional organizations, higher education institutions, business and industry, and the New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJ/SSI) to implement Educational Technology in New Jersey: A Plan for Action and the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Council for Technology; 2) make DOE information available on-line to schools statewide by implementing database, networking, and communications technology at DOE; 3)expand the use of technology to support the public information process, particularly fiscal monitoring and reporting; and 4)continue and expand the ongoing grant program for the establishment of interactive full-motion distance learning sites.
In April 1995, in conjunction with efforts by the Governor to examine the emerging competitive landscape within the telecommunications industry, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) initiated the formation of the the Cable/Telco Task Force, consisting of representatives from both public and private sectors. The vision of the Task Force was to: examine the emerging competitive landscape and recommend policies to foster free and open competition on a nondiscrimatory basis that will enhance New Jersey's leadership role in the field of telecommunications and promote economic development and other benefits that are in the public interest."
The Task Force focused on the review of key policy areas through six subcommittees: Legislation and Regulation, Deployment and Interconnection, Health Care, Education, Consumer Issues, and Universal Service. The Director of the Division of the Ratepayer Advocate, Blossom A. Peretz, served as the Chairperson of the Education Subcommittee, which had representatives from AT&T, Bell Atlantic-New Jersey, New Jersey Network, New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association (NJCTA), as well as assistance from the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Library Association. The Subcommittee presented a Phase I report consisting of a survey of the existing educational techonology initiatives, and recommendations to promote affordable access to the information network for schools, libraries and museums and to assist in the depployment of advanced service capabilities of a modern telecommunica- tions infrastructure throughout the state.
In April 1995, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved county and regional rates filed by Bell Atlantic for Interactive Distance Learning Service (IDLS). This is the first interactive distance education tariff in the nation. The service consists of one transmit and three receive audio and video paths which allow sites to interact with other sites either within their community of interest or Local Access and Transport Area (LATA). The system provides four locations, one classroom sending and three receiving, working together over the network. Rates are limited to public and private educational institutions, libraries, cultural institutions, and non-profit organizations using the system for distance learning. The monthly five-year, term-based rates for one transmit, three receives are $1,050 (countywide) and $1,350 (LATA wide) with rates of $995 and $1,295, respectively, for districts with special needs.
Seven county-wide distance learning programs that provide live, full-motion courses to students and teachers over fiber optic cable have signed contracts with Bell Atlantic of New Jersey. Several other counties plan to establish similar networks.
The New Jersey Association for Instructional Technology (NJAIT) has been established from counties that have in place or are building county networks. The purpose of NJAIT is to explore and advocate for the effective use of instructional technology for distance learning in counties, and to address infrastructure issues related to instructional TV.
Bergen, Morris, Hudson, Burlington, Somerset, Mercer, and Union counties have established distance learning programs that deliver live, full-motion courses to students and teachers over fiber optic cable. Several other counties have similar plans. The Vocational-Technical Schools of Warren, Sussex, and Morris Counties are linking for distance learning.
The Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public Schools - Education Technology Task Force has been organized by state legislators to propose educational technology policy recommendations to be presented to the state legislators.
The new AT&T Learning Network is a $150 million nationwide commitment to education. As part of this, AT&T will offer private and public schools in New Jersey access to a wide variety of telecommunication services by the year 2000.
Assembly Bill A1860, introduced in April 1996, requests funds for competitive grants to establish multiple training sites.
Statewide and Local Planning
The New Jersey Telecommunications Act of 1992 enabled the New Jersey Board of Regulatory Commissioners to act upon alternate methods of telephone utility regulation. Under incentive regulation legislation, Bell Atlantic of New Jersey filed its Opportunity New Jersey plan for the modernization of New Jersey's infrastructure. This $1.5 billion initiative explores ways in which fiber optics, digital switching, and other technologies can be applied to health and human services, government, industry, and education.
Statewide and Local Networks
The New Jersey Network (NJN), a founding member and partner with NJDOE in the Satellite Educational Resources Consortium (SERC), is the public television network for New Jersey. NJN offers telecourses for K-12, college, and adult students. Through a partnership with New Jersey colleges, NJN participates in the "Going the Distance" program which allows certain students to complete 2-year degrees entirely from NJN telecourse broadcasts. NJN also provides the PBS Mathline which includes the Middle School Math Project (MSMP) for professional development of middle-grade math teachers.
New Jersey Public Broadcasting uses broadcast, ITFS, satellite, cable, and fiber optic technologies to offer instruction throughout the state. Each semester NJN broadcasts 15 college telecourses from participating institutions in New Jersey, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania. In addition, NJN delivers over 100 K-12 instructional programs each year.
The New Jersey Intercampus Network (NJIN) operates a three-phase plan for the development of an intercampus network that will augment the receive-only satellite down-links existing on many New Jersey campuses. Phase one began in 1994 with the connection of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to William Paterson College. This phase has recently been completed with the linkage of William Paterson College to Richard Stockton State College. NJIT is now in phase two of the NJIN plan to connect higher education institutions to critical areas of the state via a two-way, primarily digital video network, using two-way videoconferencing. Phase three will add channels and institutions to the system. NJIN evaluates, selects, and purchases equipment for 39 colleges and universities. This equipment will enable New Jersey colleges to exchange courseware with each other, pre-college programs, and corporations. As the first stage of this statewide effort, NJIN has begun implementing a videoconferencing delivery system, a two-way video and audio data exchange over phone lines between Newark and the Technology and Engineering Center (a branch campus in the south) and between Newark and Ramapo College in the north.
NJN and NJIN have exchanged memberships and will collaborate in future activities.
The Cable Television Network (CTN)of New Jersey, Inc. a statewide channel owned by the state's cable television industry, reaches more than 1.7 million households and offers 60 half-hour blocks of for-credit programming from 17 institutions of higher education each week. CTN broadcasts telecourses for participating colleges and universities.
Two examples of the seven Instructional Television (ITV) county projects in New Jersey are the networks in Bergen and Hudson Counties. The non-profit, fully interactive Bergen ITV fiber optic network, coordinated by Bergen County Technical School and funded by local schools, was established in 1990. Schools share programs whose course content is determined by the schools. The network has added middle and elementary schools through state grant money.
Bergen County has received a class B Internet license housed at Bergen County Technical School (BCTS) which plans to deliver Internet access to the county schools. BCTS participates in the North Jersey Public Information Exchange, initially a freenet and now a community network which includes the North Public Library, Elizabeth Public Library, Bergen County Technical School, Bergen County Cooperative Library Services (BCCLES), Elizabeth Public Schools, and the Morris Automated Information Network. Bergen County Technical School's highest priority for action in 1996 is to bring Internet access to all county schools and interface data with other audio and video distance learning projects.
Bergen Community College and Ramapo College of New Jersey are connected by fiber to the Bergen County Instructional Television Network for two-way interactive instructional programs. NJIT has an ITFS link to this network.
The ITV network continues to grow in Hudson County. Members are discussing a county-wide data network, which may become a county-wide web site on the Internet rather than a separate network specifically for a geographic area. The question is one of justification to build a separate network or provide access to the Internet. In New Jersey there is an initiative to put the Internet into all classrooms, but the infrastructure to gain Internet access still must be installed. Hudson County School of Technology is currently providing 20 staff members with Internet accounts, with the expectation that these people will make recommendations for curriculum positions for integrating the Internet into the curriculum. There are also seven colleges in Hudson County that are ITV members.
Hudson County School of Technology is installing its first ISDN. ATM is not yet in use. Microwave, satellite, and fiber are all in use in Hudson County. In the coming year, Hudson County School of Technology plans to complete all existing locations of ITV, to build a more content-rich environment, get more classes, programming, and more activities in general over ITV.
One of the classroom locations of the ITV network of Hudson County is the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The university is the allied health training facility for the state and its focus is on allied health programs in vocational schools and hospitals. One of ITV's goals is to bring hospitals into the network.
The governing body of Hudson County has bonded funds to pay for an ITV class in every high school in the county, several colleges, and government locations. County bonds pay for all hardware to put each classroom on the network and the institution signs a five-year network contract. There are now 17 schools on the network with 13 locations to be added during 1996. A search is on for corporate involvement.
CamNet, an interactive system linking Camden County schools to Camden County Library resources and to worldwide databases, is an Ethernet WAN with its center on the library's Digital computer system. It is connected via a Garden State Cable TV broadband network to the schools. A T-1 line provides access to the World Wide Web and other Internet resources. CamNet is available for both teacher and student use.
During 1994 Bell Atlantic began the Opportunity New Jersey Grant program which, in partnership with the New Jersey Association of Superintendents and Administrators (NJASA), awards grants to K-12 institutions that develop significant models that integrate and use technology in accomplishing their educational objectives. The project is establishing a successful model that can be shared throughout New Jersey and the nation.
The New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJ/SSI) is a new partnership formed to achieve excellence in mathematics, science, and technology education statewide. The eight primary activities of the program include DOE's Educational Technology in New Jersey: A Plan for Action and an in depth, school-based initiative for fundamental, structural reform to be adapted and implemented throughout the state. As of December 1995 approximately 500 schools and 14 school districts are actively in partnership with institutional sites such as NJDOE, County College of Morris, Education and Informational Resource Center (EIRC), Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), Kean College, Liberty Science Center, Merck Institute for Science Education, Montclair State University, NJIT, New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Trenton State College.
As of December 1995 there were 108 K-12 school districts with satellite-fed distance learning capability. This was a result of the partnership of NJDOE and NJN in the Satellite Educational Resources Consortium (SERC). Districts have installed additional satellite dishes. Professional development courses in math/science/technology will be offered free-of-charge during 1995-96 through funding by NJDOE.
NJN broadcasts 25 hours per week of K-12 instructional programming through its statewide television broadcast network. Over 35,000 NJN Educational Resource Guides are distributed annually to New Jersey schools.
The NJDOE has developed a "Comprehensive Plan for Educational Improvement and Financing." A goal of New Jersey's budget for fiscal year 1996 is to expand equal educational opportunities to all students in the state. The state has put more money into "special needs" districts and is cutting aid to districts that spend more than 30 percent in excess of the median for administration. The state is giving monetary incentives to districts that realize the cost savings through consolidation and regionalization. The New Jersey FY 1997 budget recommendation includes $10 million for school district technology grants. Through this funding, each school district receives an entitlement of set per-pupil amount ($8.50) in non-lapsing but dedicated funds to be used for the purchase of software and hardware and for retrofitting of school facilities for access to voice, video, and data transmission that facilitate information retrieval, telecommunications, multimedia, interactive distance learning and home/school linkages.
NJIN, the distance learning coordinator for higher education, is administering a $7.5 million Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF) from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and $400,000 from the legislature to provide NJIN institutions with video classroom facilities and multimedia workstations for distance learning. The $400,000 is used to provide staffing, training programs, to help implement and continue planning for statewide networking, and to help purchase equipment through ELF. The $400,000 is also used for NJIN collaborative efforts with K-12, industry, state government, and state library. NJIN anticipates becoming the focal point for collaboration on networking for education in New Jersey.
New Jersey has appropriated $500,000 for fiscal year 1995 and $800,000 for fiscal year 1996 for educational technology initiatives in distance learning. From 1995 through June 1996 the DOE's Classrooms Connections to the Future program awarded 11 grants for unique distance learning projects for grades 3 to adult. New funding for fiscal year 1996 includes nine $35,000 regional awards for classrooms located in each LATA; a $75,000 award to a distance learning demonstration site and resource center; and a $150,000 award to each of two educational technology consortia with at least one urban special needs district and at least one district with a district factor grouping of "I" or "J" for educational technology initiatives, including joint distance learning projects.
New Jersey has received $2.9 million over 36 months from NSF to develop Internet activities. As part of the statewide systemic reform in science, mathematics, and technology for K-12, the Networking Infrastructure for Education (NIE) test-bed has been formed with the goal of providing an infrastructure of high quality content that can be captured and shared electronically throughout the state. DOE's Educational Technology in New Jersey: A Plan for Action guides NIE activities, the ultimate goal being to provide an infrastructure of high quality content that can be captured and shared electronically throughout New Jersey. NJIN, as part of a very successful effort in K-12, receives $150,000 per year to run Internet training programs, help develop curriculum, and run connectivity seminars.
The Mercer County consortium (MercerNet), with $700,000 of a $2. 6 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Telecommunications Information Infrastructure Assistance program, is beginning to establish an interactive video classroom at Mercer County Community College, each county library branch, the Invention Factory Science Center in Trenton, and at one high school in each Mercer County district.
Bell Atlantic has provided technology grants to eight schools in the Newark School District and, in partnership with the Newark Board of Education and Research for Better Schools, has been successful in two NTIA grant applications. Through grants awarded through Bell Atlantic - New Jersey's Opportunity New Jersey School Grant Program during 1995, 11 recipients developed high speed networks for information sharing and prepared collaborative models for learning with schools throughout the nation.
NJ/SSI activities are supported by an annual $2 million award to New Jersey from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 1994-99, matched by $ 1 million per year from the state.
This report, "Educational Technology Funding for K-12 Schools: A State Analysis" was prepared by Hezel Associates of Syracuse, NY in support of The Integrated Technology Education Group, of Short Hills, NJ (November 1996) for submittal to the New Jersey Division of the Rate Payer Advocate
Proposed State Legislation
A-1860: ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID WOLFE (R) AND ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN ROCCO (R)
Establishes the Educational Technology Grant Program in the Department of Education. The purpose of the program is to provide grants to school districts for the funding of five year technology plans. A grant would be in the amount of $80 per pupil per year and would be paid to a district for five years. An application for a grant to fund a five year plan shall be submitted by a school district under the grant program would be placed in a special revenue fund. An Education Technology Advisory Council would be established within the Department of Education. The council would assist the Office of Technology as it develops the process for the evaluation of applications for grants under the program.
Status: ASSEMBLY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The bill was introduced, first reading in the Assembly on May 2, 1996 and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.
A-1926: ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID WOLFE (R) AND ASSEMBLYMAN JIM HOLZAPFEL (R)
This bill requires that, beginning in the 2000-2001 school year, candidates for teaching certification and persons seeking certification through the alternate route successfully complete a technology training program. A "technology training program" is defined as a course of instruction which increases proficiency in the understanding, use and application of educational technologies within the classroom. This bill is a recommendation of the Educational Technology Task Force. The task force, in its report, noted that it was imperative for all New Jersey students to have technological resources available to them so that they will be able to compete successfully in the workforce of the 21st century. In order to accomplish this, teachers will need to understand the potential of technology to support curriculum goals.
Status: ASSEMBLY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The bill was introduced, first reading in the Assembly on May 6, 1996 and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.
S-796: SENATOR JOSEPH BUBBA (R)
This bill establishes in the Department of Education the "Educational Technology Fund." The fund would be used to provide local school districts an annual entitlement of $50 per pupil for the training, instruction and use of technology in the educational process. Moneys for the fund would be derived from the repayment of loans and interest in the "Public Schools Facilities Loan Assistance Fund," and from the sales, grants, leases, and rentals of lands received by the "Fund for the Support of Free Public Schools." In addition, the bill requires the Department of Education to distribute information on successful projects to other school districts.
Status: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The bill was introduced, first reading in the Senate on February 15, 1996 and referred to the Senate Education Committee.
S-40: SENATOR BOB MARTIN (R) and SENATOR JACK EWING (R)
A-20:ASSEMBLYMAN GARY STUHLTRAGER (R) and ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN ROCCO (R)
The "Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act of 1996." Legislation that would overhaul New Jersey's current school funding formula. Distance Learning Network Aid $50 million has been included in this measure. Ten million dollars was included in the 1996-97 budget for the purpose of providing to districts a per-pupil allocation of seed money to purchase whatever the districts need to become technologically current. For 1997-98, it is recommenced that $50 million be included to establish a Distance Learning Network.
Status: ASSEMBLY EDUCATION AND SENATE BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES
The bill, A-20, was introduced, first reading in the Assembly on July 18, 1996 and referred to the Assembly Education Committee and will be heard on December 5, 1996. The bill, S-40, was introduced, first reading in the Senate on June 27, 1996 and referred to the Senate Education Committee. On November 25, 1996 it was reported out of committee by committee substitute, second reading and referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
S-1467: SENATOR BILL SCHLUTER (R) AND SENATOR JACK EWING (R)
Revises operations of county educational audiovisual centers and authorizes establishment of regional centers. Recognizing that educational technology has greatly advanced from the 16mm film which was the principal media in the 1950's, the bill renames the centers as instructional media and educational technology service centers. The bill would permit the consolidation of these centers by providing the authority for two or more county centers to merge to form a regional center, and the authority for either a county center or a regional center to merge with an existing shared services organization. Core lending services would be structured as assessments against the participating school districts on the basis of resident pupil enrollment as under existing law, and other services could be structured as a direct charge for contractually defined services.
Status: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The bill was introduced, first reading in the Senate on September 19, 1996 and referred to the Senate Education Committee.
AR-32: ASSEMBLYMAN KEN ZISA (D) AND ASSEMBLYWOMAN LORETTA WEINBERG (D)
This resolution urges the State Board of Education to petition the Board of Public Utilities to undertake a review of the utility rates charged to public school districts and adopt a special rate schedule of lower utility rates for school districts.
Status: ASSEMBLY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
This bill introduced, first reading in the Assembly on January 11, 1996 and referred to the Assembly Education Committee.
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