MANY SYSTEMS fall under the category of educational networks, though they each contain a wide breadth of user offerings. They present the user with the ability to collect and disseminate educational information, as well as interconnect to other network providers.
Big Sky Telegraph. This rural network began as a distance education testbed. Now it offers a variety of services, including teaching local communities how to use the Internet. Connects educators by way of the telnet function to the Internet, as well as to research information and professional development resources. Membership is required ($50). Users: About 1000 per month. Uses: distance education, email, information services. Contact: Frank Odasz, firstname.lastname@example.org, (406)-683-7338.
The Bolt, Beranek and Newman National School Network Testbed. Funded by NSF, the BBN Testbed is a prototype full-service educational network. Membership is limited to experimental schools in New England and California, but they offer access to useful research information through the BBN gopher site. Uses: collaborative learning, multi-user simulations, research and professional development (specifically math teaching, alternative assessment, apprentice teacher training), as well as connection points to numerous network providers, including the California Department of Education and FrEdMail (see below). Contact: Denis Newman, email@example.com, (619) 942-3734.
FidoNet. A network of mostly public-access BBS's. Membership: Yes, sometimes with donation. Uses: Store and Forward email/conferencing between 16,000 BBS's. Contact: Janet Murray, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FrEdMail. The oldest and largest educational network in America. Membership is free. Uses: Information exchange between teachers and students around the world. Contains experiments, research projects, email, lesson plan exchange and peer assistance. Contact: Al Rogers, email@example.com.