In recent months, MAGPI has seen a phenomenal commitment to both Internet2 and the creation of a multi-state regional research and education network. I believe this comes about as a direct reflection of the vision and foresight of the scientists, educators, and central IT administrators, who are faced with deriving the best value for furthering scientific pursuits and the academic needs of students and faculty in the face of shrinking budgets and increased competition for grant funding. We commend them for their creativity and pledge to do everything in our power to enable their initiatives. Likewise, Internet2, Abilene, and The Quilt are constantly creating new ways to further the exploration of technology and make it more meaningful to research and K20.
UCAID, the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, opened the doors to Internet2 resources for thousands of K12 districts, Community Colleges, Libraries, Museums, Zoos, and non-profit educational institutions by the creation of a new membership category known as the State Educational Group Participation, commonly referred to as a SEGP. For 25 states in the this country, the ability to tap in to the nation's premier research and education network and all of its supporting institutions has resulted in programs never before possible on the regular Internet. Of the many success stories available, I'll just mention a few examples of what this concept has enabled.
OSHEAN/RINET - Small in size, but a major innovator in new educational programs, Rhode Island has brought students into new realms of discovery. In one case, students from nine different high schools took part in the "Virtual Job Shadowing." While a surgeon performed a rotator-cuff surgery, an assistant fielded live questions while future health care professionals watched. In another instance, a site called Discovery of Sound in the Sea was developed by the Office of Marine Programs at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and Marine Acoustics Inc. of Newport, with funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research. Students can tune in to the sounds of the ocean, including whale-song, dolphins, seals, and even rainstorms.
MORENET - In Missouri, educators have celebrated the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition by working together to make Lewis and Clark resources unique to Missouri digitally available through the MOREnet network and Internet2.
Washington - Through the state's network, students can earn a bachelor's degree and teaching certificate without leaving their communities. A combination of technology in the form of videoconferencing centers (K20 Network Labs), and the cooperation of the University of Washington enabled tribal members in Northwest Washington to attend classes where it was previously impossible.
The list of accomplishments is enormous and is truly a credit to those individuals and institutions that were able to overcome financial and political pressures. Closer to home, the Pennsylvania SEGP is in place, although it has not yet realized its full potential by including the K12s, Intermediate Units, libraries, and museums. In New Jersey, the NJEDGE network is now in operation with over 20 academic and research institutions and the beginnings of some outstanding K12 programs. In Delaware, infrastructure is either in place or being built to accommodate true K20 technology based learning programs.
MAGPI has always supported K20 and some of the most successful programs have come from the K12 and Intermediate Unit pool of creative genius. In the past, the "Coping With Crisis" conference between the Chester County IU with world leaders in continuing the educational process during times of stress, gave administrators, faculty and psychologists valuable insights following the September 11th tragedy. Students in Delaware County will be asking tough questions to recruiters at regional universities soon via high speed videoconferencing on the MAGPI network. Still in the planning stages, another Chester County IU event will be the "Creative Minds Series" but this will be open to all MAGPI, Internet2, and international participants. I can only give you a taste for now, but the series will focus on arts, literature, and the humanities, with a global perspective.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this excerpt from the Internet2 website. This best summarizes the scope of the K20 initiative and the purpose of the SEGP.
Instead, this invitation was shaped by Internet2's goals, which are intrinsically technology related, and which would be best served by enabling Internet2 member institutions and "connectors" to bring the many innovators and innovative schools who do exist in K-12 (and in K-20) to the table - innovators who share interests in, and commitments to, advanced networking, content, services, and applications. Many in the Internet2 community believe that an important lesson learned from previous networking and technology experiences (e.g., World Wide Web) is that big payoffs come from getting tomorrow's technologies (and often preferred, open standard-based versions) into the hands of as many innovators and sectors as quickly and as "connectedly" as possible. This time, with the Internet2 K20 Initiative, it seems possible to bring in the broader education community much closer to launch by inviting innovators across the educational spectrum to engage in initiatives involving Internet2 technologies - without over-promising, overextending, or losing focus on its advanced technology missions.
All the best,