[Education Service Center Region 12]

 

Students From Eight Districts Visit
Famous Authors Without Leaving School


April 29, 1997

WACO, TEXAS -Without leaving their schools, students from eight rural school districts visited with three prolific Texas authors during a distance-learning teleconference provided by the InfoNet April 23.

Elmer Kelton, Ira Kennedy and Robert Darden discussed regionalism in writing with more than 125 junior and senior language arts students, many of whom are in gifted and talented programs. Using the teleconferencing technology with televisions, video cameras and computers, the students, teachers and authors could hear and see one another as they communicated with each other. Students and teachers from all the sites took turns asking questions of the authors during their presentations.

"Small districts typically have small numbers gifted and talented students in each grade," said Carol Lane, director of instructional services for ESC Region 12. "By coordinating special guest lectures via InfoNet, we can help the schools enhance the depth of their curriculum and expand the students' learning opportunities."

The two-way interactive teleconference among the InfoNet schools was coordinated by the Education Service Centers in Region 12 and Region 15. All three authors spoke from Star ISD in Region 12. Another Region 12 district, Goldthwaite ISD, serves as InfoNet's hub. Other InfoNet sites include Mullin ISD and Priddy ISD in Region 12 and four Region 15 districts: Brady ISD, Cherokee ISD, Lohn ISD and Rochelle ISD. In addition, students from Lometa ISD and Evant ISD in Region 12 participated in the teleconference at Goldthwaite ISD and Star ISD, respectively.

Kelton, an internationally-known author of Western novels, began the teleconference with a discussion about regional historical fiction. Kelton's book "The Good Ole Boys" was recently released as a television movie starring Tommy Lee Jones. A six-time Golden Spur Award winner and four-time Western Heritage Award winner, Kelton lives in San Angelo.

Next, Kennedy spoke about regional historical nonfiction works. The publisher of "Enchanted Rock Magazine," Kennedy is a leading authority on the history of Texas in the Enchanted Rock area near Fredericksburg.

Finally, Darden presented how regional current events affect literature. A lecturer at Baylor University in Waco, Darden wrote "Mad Man in Waco" (about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians), "The Way of an Eagle" (about professional golfers) and the soon-to-be-published "Wheels of Thunder" (about NASCAR race drivers). All three books are based on local people who became nationally famous.

During training sessions June 16-18, educators from both Region 12 and Region 15 will have the opportunity to learn more about how to integrate distance learning into the curriculum for gifted and talented students. Educators will learn about planning curriculum and using distance learning teaching strategies during the sessions on June 16-17, which will be held at Brownwood ISD. On June 18 at all eight InfoNet sties, educators will be able to learn and practice presentation skills with computers and video cameras.

For more information about the InfoNet training, contact Carol Lane at (817) 666-0707, ext. 290.

CONTACT: Todd Overpeck, Communications Specialist
(817) 666-0707, ext. 241, or toddo@tenet.edu


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