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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  January 1994, Week 3

COMMUNET January 1994, Week 3

Subject:

Al Gore, Literacy, the NII, and *Another* LA Times Column

From:

David Rothman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 17 Jan 1994 16:04:28 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

   Folks, as long as Michael Schrage has objected to the NII's priorities
for the masses, I thought that people might benefit from the insights of
another columnist with the L.A. Times Syndicate.
   In a column published in the Washington Post today, Larry Magid wrote:
"If millions of Americans can't read, how can we expect them to log on
to the Internet and on-line services?"
   Responding to that question in an interview with LM, Vice Presdient
Gore said: "Nations like Cuba just put us into shame where adult
literacy is concerned. And it's time we realized the need for a
national program to deal with this problem."
   "Laudably, but perhaps over-optimistically," Larry Magid wrote, "Gore
contends that 'information technologies can themselves make a
contribution to combating illiteracy.' I agree, but my local school
district doesn't have enough money for pencils and paper, let alone
Macs and PCs. A digital superhighway won't be of much use to schoools
that don't have enough computers to connect to the highway..."
   TeleRead, of course, addresses the equipment and literacy issues
directly. Ideally the Administration will appreciate the need for these
"musts," as opposed just to Hollywood-style glitz.
   We need an NII to make it easy for Americans to be able to dial up
e-books, as well as educational software that will teach nonreaders how
to read. Why hasn't the White House told how to get affordable,
sharp-screened, book-friendly computers into American *homes* as soon as
possible?
   Yes, fancy video services for the masses can come in time. But before
fixating on leading-edge multimedia from Silicon Graphics and
C-SPAN-type services for all, let's take care of the basics first.
   And I don't mean just e-books and basic ed software--but also K-12
networking of the kind going on *now*. The same TeleReaders could be
used. Some might even argue that K-12 nets can spread knowledge more
effectively than books can. Whether that's true or not, both e-books
and K-12 networking (and support resources for schools!) should be
major cornerstones of the NII.
   People like Dave Hughes and Frank Odasz and Jack Crawford--not to
mention unheralded members of the CoSN and Ednet lists in the U.S. and
other countries--have shown that the K-12-net concepts work. Mr. Gore,
what are we waiting for? While the feds plan some good things in the
K-12 area, they could be doing *much* more.
   --David Rothman
 
**************************************************************************
David H. Rothman                             "So we beat on, boats against
[log in to unmask]                            the current...."
805 N. Howard St., #240
Alexandria, Va. 22304
703-370-6540(o)(h)
          I *encourage* online reproduction of my public postings.
       Permission hereby granted--implicit, explicit, whatever. Down
          with unnecessary restrictions on the flow of knowledge!
               Teleread.txt (170K) is available by e-mail to
                 [log in to unmask] (be sure that you
               use your software to reply to me alone, not
                             the list).
**************************************************************************

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