America Online will provide free eMail accounts and classroom productivity software to all schools in Maryland under an agreement with the state Department of Education, the Baltimore Sun reported Dec. 6.

AOL will give both private and public schools free software that offers services such as eMail and content filtering, said Terry Crane, vice president of education products for the Dulles, Va.-based internet service provider.

The AOL software, called AOL@School, will also give the state a place on AOL’s educational web site to post local information, such as assessment exams or new reading requirements.

“Somebody can go to this site, look for resources [such as] a lesson plan, and then also check the Maryland section on the site to find updated information on content standards,” said Linda Bazerjian, a spokeswoman for the education department.

The web site will serve as a gateway to AOL’s school sites for students, teachers, and administrators, enabling them to find information specific to their needs. The state can also post information about its state standards or colleges, for instance.

Maryland is the third state to take part in the program after Virginia and Florida.