Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2001

High-tech homework

Chamber hopes to put students to work for Eudora

July 19, 2001

Eudora shoppers may soon be able to find out about Eudora's hardware store with help from software.

The Chamber of Commerce hopes to team local businesses with high school business technology students, giving Eudora commercial ventures a presence on the Web.

"We were trying to get something like a color yellow pages," chamber president Keith Turnbaugh said.

The pages could give basic information about a business, including the hours, location and a picture of the shop or offices.

Dirk Kinney's business technology students, all freshmen, will work on the sites as part of the curriculum. Last year was the first year for students to design Web sites in the class.

Kinney said the graded projects, which students would work on in the last nine weeks of the course, might require after-school work.

"I hope they enjoy it," Kinney said. "It takes a lot of time."

Turnbaugh, who worked on a Web site for his own insurance agency, said as a business owner, building his own Web site is not as easy as it looks. Turnbaugh said his computer-proficient wife worked on the site, but they still needed a professional to set it up.

His site gives visitors basic information much like the facts he provides in brochures. But some Eudora businesses, like Broers Flower Shop, could customize their sites with colorful pictures of flower arrangements, he said.

Some software can take business Web sites beyond the who, what, when and where.

"There's some software that restaurants can buy and have it on their computer," he said. "A person could dial in a Web site and check what type of pizza they want."

The Eudora Web sites won't be that complicated, Kinney said. They will probably focus on pictures of the businesses and the people who run them and won't allow the sites' visitors to contact the businesses through their computers.

"It will be more of an information site than a feedback site," Kinney said.

"Maybe we can get our town in the 21st century," Turnbaugh said.

Pushing Eudora toward technology affects the sites' beneficiaries as well as their producers.

"It's good for the community; it's good for the students," Kinney said.

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