By Maya Suryaraman

Mercury News Staff Writer

In this public school, students are able to browse the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., chat with students in Kobe, Japan, and take a tour of the Louvre in Paris -- not by boarding a plane but by cruising the Internet.

Sound like a school near you? Probably not.

But Monday, the vision of public schools electronically connected to the global village became less pie-in-the-sky and more of a real possibility in Santa Clara County.

3Com Corp., a Fortune 500 networking company based in Santa Clara, committed $1.6 million in cash, expertise and equipment to help connect the county's 340 public schools to one another and to the worldwide electronic community.

Together with other aid to schools recently announced by Pacific Bell and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the 3Com offer lends critical momentum to the push to connect Santa Clara County's public schools.

Buoyed by 3Com's pledge, San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer on Monday set a target date of June 1996 for having all of the city's 200 elementary, middle and high schools wired for Internet access.

And schools in the rest of Santa Clara County won't be far behind, said Harry Saal of Smart Valley Inc., the public-private consortium that's coordinating the countywide effort.

``It's not a slam dunk yet,'' Saal said. ``But now we're talking (several) years, not a decade.''

Almost two-thirds of U.S. public schools do not have access to the Internet, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Education. Vice President Al Gore is pushing to have the nation's classrooms wired for the Information Age by the year 2000.

Vast learning resources

Those working to bring the county's schools on-line said it wasn't the technology that was important but the chance to hook students and teachers up to the vast learning resources on the Internet. For instance, students could tap on-line data bases for research, communicate with professors on the East Coast or discuss the obstacles to world peace with students in Japan.

``The power isn't in the technology itself but in bringing the community together via an electronic medium,'' said David Katz, director of the San Jose Education Network, which is working to bring San Jose-area schools on-line.

At Silver Creek High School, for instance, students of the Japanese language in Rushton Hurley's classroom have been electronically collaborating with students in Kobe, Japan, on a cultural exchange project.

And at San Jose's Independence High School, students are able to send electronic messages via the Internet to students all over the city.

``I can go right now and find students from Oak Grove High School on-line and talk to them in a chat room,'' said Lucas Pettinati, an Independence senior.

Discount and expertise

Last summer, 3Com announced it would provide $2 million to help connect the 29 high schools in the San Jose Education Network. Monday's pledge of $1.6 million extends the same support to other Santa Clara County public schools. 3Com will provide routers, hubs, switches and other networking equipment at a deep discount, as well as expertise in network design and implementation.

Under the Education First program it kicked off in December, Pacific Bell is offering to wire two locations at every public school in its service area for Internet access -- and is throwing in one year of free phone service for classroom computer hookups. It's also lobbying the state Public Utilities Commission to create a lower ``education rate'' to cut the expense to schools for on-line phone time, Katz said. The Santa Clara County Office of Education is offering to hook schools that are wired internally to the Internet, also for free.

However, public schools still must come up with money for computers and software. And schools must find the money to wire every classroom -- rather than just the two sites per school Pacific Bell is paying for.

`Expensive proposition'

``It's a pretty expensive proposition,'' said Herb Wadley, superintendent of San Jose's Berryessa Union Elementary School District. He added, however, that outside offers of assistance from companies such as 3Com put the goal within reach.

To put computers in all its classrooms and connect them to the outside world will cost Berryessa $800,000 over five years -- money not now available.

Most districts in the San Jose area are committed to hooking up at least one site on campus to the Internet by the end of next year, Katz said.

In addition, schools must train teachers so that computers don't gather dust in the classrooms of those intimidated or unfamiliar with the technology. And most importantly, schools need to spend time deciding how to blend what's available on-line into school curricula.

``That's frankly harder and will take longer to get done than the actual wiring,'' Saal of Smart Valley said.

The push to bring Santa Clara County's public schools on-line began in 1993 when Mayor Hammer pledged $1 million in city funds to help make that happen in San Jose. The San Jose Education Network was formed to work toward that goal by fostering partnerships among the city, its schools and Silicon Valley businesses.

By June, the Education Network is scheduled to have every classroom in 15 San Jose-area high schools wired for Internet access. Among the high schools: Del Mar, Gunderson, Leigh, Leland, Lincoln, Lynbrook, Prospect, Overfelt, Westmont and Willow Glen. The remaining 14 high schools would be wired classroom-by-classroom by the end of next school year. And the participating elementary and middle schools would be connected at one site on each campus by then as well.

--Should more school districts pursue plans to join the Internet and the on-line world? Use keyword: MC Talk, select Browse Boards, then Blackboard. Or, choose Letters for Publication in the scrolling window.

Published 3/21/95 in the San Jose Mercury News.

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.

From Tue Mar 21 12:32:08 1995 Received: from by (8.6.8/2.0) id HAA03232; Tue, 21 Mar 1995 07:32:07 -0500 Received: by (8.6.10/2.2) with X.500 id HAA13675; Tue, 21 Mar 1995 07:30:06 -0500 Received: from by (8.6.10/2.2) with ESMTP id HAA13665; Tue, 21 Mar 1995 07:30:05 -0500 Received: by ( Jose Mercury News) id GAA27899; Tue, 21 Mar 1995 06:46:56 -0500 Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 06:46:56 -0500 From: (NewsHound) Message-Id: <> To: Subject: [69] COLLEGE INTERNS USE THE INTERNET TO `VIDEO-COMMUTE` TO WORK Status: RO X-Status:

Selected by your NewsHound profile entitled "COMPUTER". The selectivity score was 69 out of 100.

College interns use the Internet to `video-commute` to work MARINA DEL REY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 21, 1995--Kevin Fortune, Chris Pocklington and Heath Doyle, seniors in the Communication Arts and Design Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., commute 3,500 miles to their jobs as student interns at Hajjar/Kaufman Advertising in Marina del Rey.

It's made possible through the Internet, and a remarkable, no-cost, video-conferencing software program called CU-SeeMe, which lets users see and hear one another anywhere in the world.

Fortune, Pocklington and Doyle's moving video images appear on the computer screens of Hajjar/Kaufman's New Media Lab, where they help the designers and programmers create World Wide Web sites and develop other Internet projects for its clients. Their images are captured and digitized via a golfball-sized, $99, black and white camera -- called the Connectix QuickCam -- that sits on top of their monitors.

Using special `workgroup` software, the interns can also show work-in-progress to their supervisors at the agency, who are able to see exactly what appears on their computer screens all the way on the other side of the country.

Fortune, Pocklington and Doyle are affectionately known throughout the agency as the `cyber-interns.` `They may only be two and a half inches tall on the computer screen, but they're as much a part of the agency as anyone else who works here,` said Norman Hajjar, president of Hajjar/Kaufman. `We're equal opportunity employers, and don't discriminate on the basis of distance.`

Hajjar's partner and the agency's creative director, Adam Kaufman, loves the idea. `Technology like this really deepens the talent well you can draw from,` said Kaufman, `especially for folks in collaborative creative fields like advertising.`

The `cyber-internship` idea came out of an on-line video-conferencing brainstorming session that Hajjar had with Jeff Price, an assistant professor of Electronic Media and the director of the Communication Arts and Design Advanced Visualization Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Although they have never actually met in person, Hajjar and Price have become good friends, sharing their ideas about new media technology.

`We encourage our design students to look progressively at new media as an opportunity to establish collaborative design projects with the broader national and international community,` said Price. `Forward-minded companies such as Hajjar/Kaufman are defining the employment future of the design and advertising fields. The relationship between education and business then becomes a fertile place for the exchange of conceptual ideas and learning.`

The CU-SeeMe video-conferencing software that is used by the cyber-interns was developed in 1993 by Cornell University. There are more than 30 CU-SeeMe `reflector sites` around the world -- places where as many as a dozen people can join together and chat, work, or just listen in on the other conferences.

The Cornell reflector is the most popular, where on any given night you're likely to see people from such far-flung places as Seoul, South Korea and Melbourne, Australia casually chatting with users in Columbus, Ohio or Silicon Valley, Calif. Hajjar/Kaufman also operates its own CU-SeeMe reflector site.

About Hajjar/Kaufman

Hajjar/Kaufman was founded in 1992 by Norman Hajjar and Adam Kaufman. It bills $22MM annually, working with clients that include Canon Computer Systems Inc., MCA/Universal Home Video and Santa Monica Bank.

Hajjar/Kaufman's New Media Lab was established in December 1994, and specializes in World Wide Web site and other Internet site development. Other pioneering New Media Lab projects include the creation of a real-time `radio station` (Radio HK) that will broadcast non-stop into the Internet, as well as on-line `video focus groups` with participants around the country.

For more information on the Hajjar/Kaufman New Media Lab or `cyber-internship,` contact Norman Hajjar, president of Hajjar/Kaufman, via telephone at 310/305-8128, or via the Internet at norman--hajjar(at-sign) About Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Communication Arts and Design Advanced Visualization Lab was established in 1994, and specializes in Internet communications, interactive media, three dimensional animation, scientific visualization and virtual reality simulations. Jeff Price, assistant professor of Electronic Media, and director of the lab, can be reached at 804/828-0318 or by email at jprice(at-sign) -0-

NOTE TO EDITORS: Electronic versions of the photos that accompany this story are available via anonymous FTP in JPEG format at the following addresses:


CONTACT: Hajjar/Kaufman, Marina del Rey

Norman Hajjar, 310/305-8128

Internet: norman--hajjar(at-sign)



INTERACTIVE/MULTIMEDIA REPEATS: New York 212-575-8822 or 800-221-2462; Boston 617-330-5311 or 800-225-2030; SF 415-986-4422 or 800-227-0845; LA 310-820-9473

AP-NY-03-21-95 0603EST

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.