Push Technology Goes to School

What is "push" technology? The simplest explanation is that it automatically sends information, over the Internet, directly to your PC. The subscribers to the push service specify what kind of content they are interested in, usually by filling out an online form, and can then expect to receive daily, or even hourly, updates. Subscribers to these push services can realize many benefits, such as less time spent browsing the Web and personalized information delivered in a timely fashion.  

Until recently, most push services were aimed at consumers, and therefore consisted of news and entertainment information. All fine and dandy, but not too useful for an educator. Thatís changed however, with the introduction of Educast, a free push service designed solely for educators. From Davidson & Associates (Torrance, CA), and sponsored by AT&T WorldNet Service and Compaq Computer, Educast offers up-to-date content from USA Today, Education Week, Teacher Magazine, U.S. Department of Education, AskERIC, American Federation of Teachers, Americaís Job Bank, and other providers.  

After downloading the necessary software, educators simply specify their particular interests, and content is automatically delivered when their computer is idle. Information can be delivered from various "channels," including USA Today, Lesson Plans, Community Involvement, Professional Information, Education News, and the Marketplace. Educators can download Educast by visiting www.educast.com, or can get more information by calling Davidson at (800) 545-7677.  

Another push service designed for education was announced recently, called the DataCast Learning Network. This service, developed by Digital Concepts (Ph'enix, AZ), Hughes Network Systems, IBM, Insight and Intel, merges satellite delivery and push technology, delivering curriculum content from the Internet for K-12 teachers. DataCast, unlike Educast, requires a significant chunk of resources, however; it consists of integrated hardware including IBM servers and Hughes satellite dishes connected to a schoolís network. Both services will succeed based on the content provided, so those interested should look at the type of content delivered. For more information on DataCast, educators can call (602) 200-0120.  

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This article originally appeared in the 09/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.