AMERICAN SAMOA TO GET 500 MORE NEW COMPUTERS FOR LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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By La Poasa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 16, 2000 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---The Department of Education expects to receive another 500 Macintosh iMac computers later this month for distribution to the Territory's public schools, according to DOE Grants Coordinator and Educational Technology Supervisor Russ Aab.

A first shipment of 500 similar units was received last fall, early in the current school year. These computers were distributed primarily to local public high schools.

"We are trying to get every student connected to the world of computers and to make use of this important technology, as it is very helpful in their learning process," Aab told Samoa News.

Aab said that a good number of the iMac computers arriving this month will be distributed to public elementary schools.

"The distribution process for the computers is based on the school enrollment and schools with more students will get a bigger share," he added.

Before the program started earlier last year, there were only 89 computers in the public schools.

All the computers were made possible by a federal grant, which Aab estimated totals a little over $2 million.

But Internet access for every student is another story altogether.

As of right now, only school computer labs can be connected to the Internet. However, Aab hopes that by the end of the year, every classroom will have Internet access.

Aab indicated that the DOE has an $800,000 contract with the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority to wire each classroom so Internet access is possible in every school. The funding is part of the national eRate program.

DOE Director Dr. Sili Sataua said yesterday that the DOE is trying to integrate technology into the curriculum because of its usefulness.

"I don't write memos anymore and deliver them out to the schools," Dr. Sataua said. "What I do now is e-mail the principals and school administrators and they are to e-mail a response back."

He added that the Internet connection saves more time. He has also made sure that all the principals e-mail him on a bi-weekly basis.

According to Sataua, with the Internet students can obtain a lot of materials for their research papers. Also, it starts to familiarize students with the Internet at an early age, giving them an advantage as they grow older.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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