According to an Education Week article, 50 states have adopted and more than 180,000 teachers have participated in the Internet educational project, MarcoPolo, that WorldCom and MCI started in 1999 to train over 2.4 million teachers by 2005. However, now that WorldCom has filed for bankruptcy protection, MarcoPolo’s training programs may have to be shut down sometime this school year unless they receive additional funding.
MarcoPolo offers teachers free Web-based educational resources and face-to-face training on using the Internet in classroom lessons. The program sites are integrated and can be searched with a common search engine, making it useful for teachers who use an interdisciplinary approach. Each site has some of the best resources its partner sites have to offer and acts as both a gateway site that links individual partner sites and as an educational resource on its own. Partner sites include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Geographic Society, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Some states have even added MarcoPolo as a professional development program and link it to their state education department Web page.
“I believe so strongly in the program,” said Susan DePlatchett, a professional-development coordinator at the University of Maryland’s college of education and a MarcoPolo trainer in her state, “that I would be willing to fulfill my commitment to the training on a voluntary basis” she toldEducation Week. Even in the aftermath of WorldCom’s bankruptcy, MarcoPolo continues to train teachers. More than 17,000 have benefited from the program since July.
Caleb M. Schutz, who is in charge of MarcoPolo said, “You couldn’t have much of a worse climate economically for federal and state government funding . . .or for private foundation funding, which I’m trying to get.” Even in the aftermath of WorldCom’s bankruptcy, MarcoPolo continues to train teachers-more than 17,000 have benefited from the program since July.