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October 20, 2000|Sean Kirwan, (714) 966-5642

The Orange County Department of Education and the Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union have teamed up with a number of leading computer companies to make high-speed computers and Internet service available to Orange County teachers at a reduced rate.

Scott Garland, the coordinator of instructional technology for the Department of Education, said that teachers will be able to purchase fast, new computers from companies like Gateway, Dell, Toshiba and Apple for discounted prices. They will also be eligible for free high-speed Internet service from DSL provider Winfire, and the first 1,000 teachers to sign up will receive interest-free loans from the credit union to help them purchase the computers.

The program's goal is to give teachers the hardware they need to take courses and learn about using new technology as part of the California Technology Assistance Project.

The California Technology Assistance Project provides instructional videos over the Internet on how to use computer programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and others.

"We are hoping that once the teachers learn the new technology, they will pass it on to their students," Garland said. "The next step will be getting the teachers to create lesson plans that they can put on the Internet. The lesson plans could include video and PowerPoint programs created by the teacher and could be used by students, parents, and even new teachers."

Garland said more than 500 teachers have signed up to purchase computers.

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