MarcoPolo Website Leads Teachers to Outstanding Lessons, Materials


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                FOR INFORMATION, CALL

December 1, 2000                                              (217) 782-4648 or (312) 814-3490


Springfield, IL – Students in Illinois schools will benefit from an effort to improve classroom instruction through the effective use of technology sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education and the WorldCom Foundation.  The free Internet training initiative, called MarcoPolo, will provide Illinois teachers with the knowledge and tools to integrate Internet resources into their classroom curricula.

Teachers will find a wealth of free information on the MarcoPolo website at, including free materials from partner sites, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council of the Great City Schools, the Kennedy Center, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council on Economic Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Geographic Society.

MarcoPolo offers dynamic lesson plans, links to educational sites approved by panels of experts, educational material sorted by grade level and curricula based on national standards.  Teachers will also find educational resources specific to each site, such as atlases, economic indicators, and weekly news magazines.

With 96 percent of Illinois schools connected to the Internet, MarcoPolo is a resource that can help teachers throughout the state develop engaging and exciting classroom work in topics across the curriculum.  MarcoPolo guides teachers directly to relevant, high-quality sites that can raise the level of classroom instruction and student work.

The Illinois State Board of Education has set the goal of preparing a minimum of 200 trainers throughout the state to lead their colleagues in using MarcoPolo.  To meet this goal, the State Board is conducting “Train the Trainer” sessions from September 2000 through May 2002 throughout the state.  The trainers will offer their colleagues basic Internet training, helping even teachers who have never operated a mouse to become effective users of online resources.

As part of the program rollout in Illinois, the WorldCom Foundation and the MarcoPolo partners have already educated approximately 40 Technology Trainers on the MarcoPolo Internet Training Program.  Two 6-hour sessions were offered in southern Illinois in September, and more sessions are planned throughout the state in November and December.

The WorldCom Foundation is the principal instrument for WorldCom corporate giving.  The Foundation is proud to have established the MarcoPolo Program – a unique, results-oriented Internet education initiative.

MarcoPolo is an unprecedented public/private partnership project designed to explore the frontiers of Internet-based education. The overriding goal of MarcoPolo is to provide the highest quality educational content and professional development free of charge and easily accessible to all educators in the country.  The WorldCom Foundation is an active contributor to the MarcoPolo partnership, providing staff, technical support, partner funding and guidance on the overall direction of the MarcoPolo project.

For more information about how to participate in this new initiative, please contact Jamey Baiter of the State Board staff at (217) 782-5439 or by e-mail at