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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s public school teachers, with the help of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, are learning to use the Internet.

Dr. Dale Doak, a professor in the College of Education, has designed a training program called Teltrain to help teachers take full advantage of the state’s new Internet initiative known as ConnecTEN.

ConnecTEN will provide Internet access to the 900,000 students in Tennessee’s 1,560 public schools.

Doak said UT is hosting training sessions for educators across the state that helps them set up on-line ‘homepage’ sites about their schools, perform information searches, and learn other Internet functions.

Doak, who is a member of the state’s ConnecTEN advisory committee, said many Tennessee teachers have had little opportunity to learn the Internet.

“They are certainly eager, willing and capable, but they have not had a car to drive, so to speak, until now,” Doak said. “This (ConnecTEN) is an initial step. The key is going to be what the local schools can do with this…exciting, informational tool.”

Hundreds of schools are expected to be on-line by Thursday, when Gov. Don Sundquist and the state’s public television council will hold a Bicentennial NetDay Celebration to mark the new initiative.

Tom Ballard, associate vice president for UT’s Institute for Public Service, is on the state information infrastructure executive committee that oversaw ConnecTEN.

Ballard said Tennessee is emerging as a national leader in bringing Internet connections to public schools.

“UT is pleased to play a role in helping bring about the success and implementation of ConnecTEN,” Ballard said. “The capabilities that it will bring to students at K-12 schools and their teachers will pay long term dividends to the state for years to come.”

Contact: Dr. Dale Doak (423-974-8140), Tom Ballard (423-974-6621)