Lots of opportunities for high-tech learning

Saturday, May 11, 2002

The face of education is changing so quickly in this country that those who completed high school decades ago no doubt find it breathtaking.

Where there were slide rules, now there are high-speed computers.

Where there were encyclopedias, there's the Internet.

And where their were spiral-bound memo books, there are personal digital assistants.

And Southeast Missouri hasn't been left behind on any level of education.

The Cape Girardeau School District conducted its inaugural cable broadcast this week, taking advantage of a federal law that requires cable systems to grant access to school districts and other governmental bodies.

But the district's channel isn't just screen after screen of announcements. Students at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center are broadcasting educational news and other programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Channel 23 of the Charter Communications cable system.

The programming includes student-produced talk shows, including sit-down interviews with superintendent Dan Steska, who will leave at the end of the school year, and new superintendent Mark Bowles.

What a far cry from communicating with parents about district happenings by sticking mimeograph-printed newsletters into backpacks.

The broadcast learning experience is going to be offered to students from other districts who attend career training at the CTC, and the broadcasting class has proven so popular that enrollment already has had to be capped at 30 students.

That's irrefutable evidence of forward-thinking curriculum creators.

Then, when students get to Southeast Missouri State University, they can consider an intriguing new degree being offered there.

It's in the fine arts department, and it's called 3-D imaging and computer animation. Just the name smacks of an exciting future.

The university program's first graduate is Justin King, a 24-year-old who hopes to make a career in the video-game industry. Just think of the months and years of work that go into animating the life-like games that capture the attention of young people -- and the not-so-young as well.

Instead of a pad and colored pens, today's tools of animation are a keyboard and mouse.

While the basics of education shouldn't ever be pushed aside, Cape Girardeau-area students can count themselves fortunate to have such high-tech options.

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