Here's some bits of info. Most of it isn't linkable, sorry...
I've done a Nexis search and can't find if this stuff was ever actually deployed...It does turn out, however, that a pal of mine sits on the board of Lightspan....
This is still the lightspan partnership site. http://www.lightspan.com/
May 8, 1995, Monday
LENGTH: 490 words
HEADLINE: Apple Intros TV Set-Top Box
DATELINE: DALLAS, TEXAS, U.S.A.
(NB) -- Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) says it is supplying a set-top box for interactive television trials (ITV) of Lightspan Partnership's educational home and school programming. Apple says it will look for a third party to manufacture the Apple set-top box.
The Lightspan program consists of an interactive reading and mathematics curriculum for children between the ages of four and 12, inclusive. Lightspan says its goal is to deliver a common education program which ties schools and students' homes into a uniform source for educational opportunities.
Early trials of the programming and Apple's set-top box will be conducted in six US states. Content from Lightspan for the trials consists of "Mars Moose," an interactive reading series and "The Secret of Googol," an introductory mathematics series. Also included in the programming is "Str.at.es" and "KidVid: Timeless Math."
Beyond the interactive component, Lightspan claims it has combined animation, live video, state-of-the-art audio, "compelling" characters, and "entertaining" story lines to enhance student participation and progress.
Apple's set-top box features a Motion Pictures Experts Group-1 (MPEG-1) decoder, four megabytes (MB) of RAM, and 2MB of ROM running on a Motorola 68040 microprocessor. The initial box for the trials is a stand-alone unit which has a CD-ROM drive for displaying content. Apple says this temporary measure will allow the Lightspan program to develop until the necessary broadband requirements for true ITV are fully installed in the participating communities.
This is not Apple's first venture into ITV. Early in 1994, the company participated in ITV trial in the United Kingdom and then provided set-top boxes for ITV trials in Belgium.
Bill Goings, Apple's Interactive Television business development manager, told Newsbytes, "The Lightspan program is designed as one-on-one student to computer/television environment. The initial trials will allow students to interact with the learning programs using a mouse. However, Apple's set-top box will also accommodate a keyboard."
Goings also said, "Our set-box design is built around expansion. Any set-top will have to be ready to expand to meet a growing and developing industry." Apple's early design for these US trials is expandable to 32MB of RAM. As large video files for applications such as video-on-demand become available, set-top boxes will be ready to meet the necessary hardware and firmware requirements.
Apple and Microsoft working together? Not exactly, but The Lightspan Partnership, a San Diego, California company is backed by Microsoft, Comcast, and TCI Ventures. The partnership's goal is to develop a nationwide interactive television education curriculum to be shared between the student's school and home.(
Patrick McKenna/1995/Press Contact: Carolyn Donohoe, Donohoe Communications, 415-664-4780
Here's an interesting contact dated 1995
Welcome Bill Volk; Hear Brenda Laurel in SF Tonight
(9 Nov 95) I'm going light on news today, happy to welcome another guest columnist. Bill Volk knows as much as anybody I know about designing, developing, and producing interactive media experiences that connect with mass audiences. He's graciously offered to grace these pages with an occasional column. During six years with Activision as vp of technology, he was instrumental in creating Return to Zork. Currently he helps design interactive television as director of interactive development at The Lightspan Partnership. Flame him at firstname.lastname@example.org.