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Most middle, high school classrooms have Internet access


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ 90% of classrooms in Oklahoma's middle and high schools are connected to the Internet, a slight increase over last year, an Oklahoma Department of Education survey shows.

State schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett on Thursday credited the success of continuing technology improvements in state schools to federal funds received in the past five years.

According to the 2002-03 Survey of School Technology, Oklahoma school districts report having 180,151 computers, or one for every 3.5 students. The national ratio is one computer for every 4.2 students.

``We are just thrilled that our technology efforts have moved on in Oklahoma, and we're seeing results that we really think will affect instruction,'' Garrett said.

She attributed the technology increase to federal e-Rate funding, which is available through the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

``We have so very much benefited from that in Oklahoma,'' she said. ``It gives an edge to impoverished states and states with more poor schools.''

Garrett said the agency's goal is have 100% of classrooms and libraries connected to the Internet.

Presently, 90% of secondary school classrooms are connected to the Internet, while 89% of elementary classroom computers are online, the survey shows.

High school libraries across the state have a 95% Internet access rate and the rate at middle school libraries is 97%. 93% of elementary library computers are connected to the Internet.

J.P. Applegate, executive director of the Education Department's instructional technology and telecommunications department, presented the survey findings during the monthly state Board of Education meeting.

Last year, Oklahoma schools spent more than $60 million on technology, including hardware, software and professional development training.

Most of the state's schools _ 346 districts _ use OneNet as the Internet service provider.

The network, created for education and government agencies, is a division of the state Regents for Higher Education. It is operated in cooperation with the Office of State Finance.
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