A new interactive educational tool will enable Oklahoma middle school students to take a virtual tour of the state Capitol and learn how legislation is passed.

“A Capitol Idea: The Oklahoma Learning Machine” is a CD-ROM that provides lessons on how a bill becomes law in Oklahoma, using animation and humor to help students understand how the state legislature works.

The project is a joint effort of the Oklahoma legislature, the state Department of Central Services, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), and AT&T.

“This educational initiative joins history and art with technology while promoting Oklahoma’s spirit and pride,” said Gov. Frank Keating. “It is exactly the kind of high-tech educational tool we need in our classrooms today to help our young people learn more about Oklahoma history and the work done in the capitol by our legislators.”

The CD-ROM is free to public middle schools in the state as well as public and university libraries.

A total of 10,000 copies were scheduled to be distributed to middle schools by the state’s Department of Education by March 31. The department helped develop the content for the CD-ROM to ensure that it fit in with its curriculum goals.

In addition to the virtual tour and step-by-step legislative lesson, the CD-ROM also provides historical information on the state capitol.

“Most students would rather play a video game than read a textbook,” said state Superintendent of Schools Sandy Garrett. “This CD will hold students’ interest while teaching valuable components of Oklahoma government and history.”

“As we prepare the Capitol to be the focal point of the statehood centennial, it is increasingly important that more of our students and citizens develop a pride in their seat of government and the unity it symbolizes,” added Pam Warren, secretary of administration. “We anticipate the CD will prove its value immediately and be sought after for years to come.”

AT&T funded the project through a foundation grant of $67,000, along with in-kind donations from OETA and Central Services.

Avant Digital Marketing of Edmond, Okla., was responsible for the creative concept and software development. The project, which took about five months to complete, is similar to another AT&T-supported effort in neighboring Texas.

AT&T Corp.

http://www.att.com

Avant Digital Marketing

http://www.avantdigital.com