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Technology links museum to students in high-def

Through the internet and video conferencing technology, representatives from Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s distance learning initiative have appeared on large television screens in elementary, junior high, and high school classrooms in 23 states and Canada, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They have presented programs on bats, groundhogs, owls, insects, bird nests, rocks, minerals, arctic life, the Iroquois, ancient Egypt, and dinosaurs. Students can see and hear the teachers, and teachers can hear and see them. Questions can be answered instantaneously. Carnegie Museum is one of about 160 institutions in the United States, Canada, and a handful of other countries to offer video conferencing programs to school districts through the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration in Indianapolis. Besides museums, the center taps zoos, science centers, aviaries, medical centers, halls of fame, corporations, performing arts centers, and other facilities with the capabilities to teach. The center offers school districts with the technology to do video conferencing a choice of more than 1,000 subjects. In 2008, Carnegie Museum made 250 presentations, charging districts $125 for each one-hour program. Dinosaurs were most in demand, followed by rocks and minerals and arctic life. This school year, Carnegie is one of the center’s top-ranked facilities in positive reviews from school districts, according to the museum’s executive director…

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