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By VICKI GUARINO of the Mail Tribune

CENTRAL POINT - A Crater High School teacher's Peace Corps connections are leading to a global education effort.

Spanish teacher Lawrence Crain has joined a network of teachers in the United States and abroad seeking to establish classroom-to-classroom telecommunication links.

The idea is to forge cross-cultural ties among students through their teachers. Besides Crater, schools in 10 states and six foreign countries so far are participating.

Although the connections will be teleconference and interactive computers - International American Education - is announcing itself and Crater's participation on the Internet. For the next few days Crater High School is featured on IAE's Web page.

Click on www.obl.com/iae, and you'll find information about Crater classes, activities, and school culture. The presentation was put together by Crater's business students. The site also offers access to regional information ranging from reports on Medford's Pear Blossom Festival to lists of restaurants.

The posting actually is just a promotion for the growing network, says Crain.

He said he is enlisting in the communications effort because it promises opportunities to broaden cultural awareness among students.

"And it brings cutting-edge technology into current education," Crain says.

The actual link-ups among schools probably won't be accomplished for a year or more. The effort will be expensive, $40,000 to $50,000 for each school, and much of the money still must be raised.

"It's expensive because it would basically turn the classroom into a television studio," Crain says.

Each school would have to be able to send and receive broadcasts.

IAE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to global education and the advancement of cultural knowledge and understanding. The organization has acquired some corporate sponsorship for the effort, including AT&T.

Additionally, NASA and several universities, including Southern Oregon University, are joining the effort.

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