High-tech surfers
Deh Cho students enjoying the Internet

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 19/99) - The Internet has resulted in such a sensation in Jean Marie River, that some students at Louie Norwegian school have been voluntarily staying after the final bell sounds for the day.

If they see the lights on in the evening, they sometimes stop in and ask if they can use the computers, according to teacher-principal Donna Dahm.

"It was such a hit..." said Dahm.

The Internet was hooked up in Jean Marie River, through the Department of Education, in mid-February. It became accessible just as the students were in the midst of researching their science projects and proved an invaluable source of information, particularly for those working on projects about AIDS and smoking.

Among the more popular Web sites with Louie Norwegian school students are: the Disney pages, "they're definitely popular," according to Dahm; the weather pages from around the world and even the forecast for Fort Simpson; CBC Playworld; Titanic sites and movie listings and reviews.

There are plans to create a school Web page in the near future as well, Dahm noted.

In Fort Liard, Echo Dene school went on-line during the second week of February. Teacher Gerald May said after logging on, students quickly made their way to the World Wrestling Federation's Web site. He added that the students are supervised while using the Internet because there's inappropriate material they could find otherwise. On the upside, he also noted that the Internet provides some nice background music via a Vancouver radio station.

Ronnie Edda, a Grade 8 student, said he's quite impressed by the Internet. He said he enjoys the America's Most Wanted site.

In Nahanni Butte, Charles Yohin school principal Cindy Buterbaugh was able to relay by phone that a student was looking up information on a volcano named "Stromboli" at that very moment. The class had just read a book about the volcano, which is located on an island off the coast of Italy.

"It was kind of neat because they just came over and punched it in and it came up with video clips of the volcano erupting. So they were quite excited," Buterbaugh said.

A program called "Sherlock" functions like a search engine that allows the students to plug in a key word or two and it retrieves related information, she explained.

The students are particularly fond of the chat lines, which allow them to communicate with others just about as quickly as they can type, she said.

"They're keen about that. It's just the idea of connecting with kids in other places," she said, adding that they are looking forward to contacting some pen-pals in Louisiana.

The computers are used primarily for research and word processing, but there's still plenty of time for fun, she said.

"They kind of have to do the work before they get to go to the Internet and play sometimes. It's kind of a reward...." she said of the chat lines.