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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  June 1994, Week 4

COMMUNET June 1994, Week 4

Subject:

Re: U.S. Tech Corps (fwd)

From:

"David H. Rothman" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David H. Rothman

Date:

Wed, 22 Jun 1994 17:14:42 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

The idea of a U.S. Tech Corps--see post below from Computerworld, folks,
if you're tuning in late--is terrific. Some observations and ideas:
 
1. A shortage of computer-smart people is truly among the big problems
that schools have in educating students about technology and in otherwise
using high-tech. But what about the horrible scarcity of hardware? The
student-computer ratio is something like 16-1. An immediate solution would
be a really massive corporate donations program building on existing
private efforts, such as Alex Randall's. Volunteers should be encouraged
to provide used equipment if possible, not just themselves, and also to
seek donations from others if this isn't too much of a hassle. The
ultimate solution lies in a *focused* procurement program for schools and
libraries of the kind I describe in teleread.txt (gopher cosn.org ->
Networking information -> Reference -> TeleRead proposal).  Such a program
could provide students with small machines optimized for K-12 and civic
networking, ed software, e-books, and the rest; promote the U.S.
flat-panel display industry; help justify the vast sums that DoD plans to
spend on this technology; and encourage the private market to come out
with similar machines for the population at large, lowering costs
eventually to the point where just about anyone could afford the hardware
without the government being involved. Many if not most computers in U.S.
schools are antiques.
 
2. Assistance from Tech Corps volunteers should be available not only in
person but also via BBSs, communets, the Internet,a nd commercial services
such as CompuServe. Databases on the nets could match up needs and
volunteers. Local people could help the schools get going with basic
telcom, and then educators could receive much of their help from just
about anywhere.
 
3. Either within the U.S. Tech Corps or operating alongside it, we need an
Electronic Peace Corps--a project that the Third World Foundation of North
America has already been working toward. The Peace Corps model is too good
to be used just in connection with domestic high-tech efforts. I know that
Miles correctly sees the EPC as another form of civic networking (not the
only element of an EPC, but an important one), and meanwhile
Computerworld's Gary Beach may be interested to know that I proposed an
EPC a decade ago in a CW article dated January 30, 1984. In a similar
piece in the Washington Post I also mentioned the possibility of a
domestic EPC. I didn't just want it confined to computer literacy efforts
or to schools; for example, I also wanted it to allow volunteers to be
able to work from afar on students' writing skills, or to let execs
counsel small businesses. (Jerry Glenn then of Partnership for
Productivity suggested a "Home Corps" to me). I still feel the same. A
U.S. Tech Corps might start with a focus on the schools but I'd hope it
would look beyond.
 
At any rate, to return to international matters, an EPC could build on
efforts of groups such as VITA and APC/IGC, which have been at this
forever. Moreover, one of the real pioneers is none other than CCN's
Richard Civille, who, along with Jerry Glenn, was using computer
communications for international development as far back as '83 (and maybe
earlier).
 
Be nice if the White House acted on the above, now that the people in
office can distinguish between potato chips and the silicon variety.
We'll hope mightily that the idea of the U.S. Tech Corps, or something
similar, makes it into law.
 
-David Rothman
 [log in to unmask]
 703-370-6540
 
P.S. Both domestic and international volunteer efforts could take
advantage of GILs (Government Information Locator Service). To use some
'Netspeak, GILs could be the ultimate FAQ.
 
 
 
>
> TO: All computer professionals
> FROM: Gary Beach, Publisher, Computerworld
> DATE: June 16, 1994
> RE: U.S. Tech Corps
>
>
> Computerworld, the national computer newspaper, is working with the White
> House Office of Science and Technology to develop the U.S. Tech Corps, a
> volunteer effort to aid local schools in technology implementation.
>
>
> Modeled on the U.S. Peace Corps, the U.S. Tech Corps will rally the talents
> and skills of more than 1.9 million computer professionals to assist public
> schools in planning and implementing information technology. Through
> contributions of their time and expertise, these volunteers will play an
> integral and crucial role in building local roads to the national information
> superhighway. Even an hour a week of discussion and planning can help your
> local school.
>
> The U.S. Tech Corps will be operated with assistance from the White House, the
> National Education Association, and the National Association of School
> Administrators. Volunteers will receive a U.S. Tech Corps certificate signed
> by the President, as well as local recognition. Of course, the greatest reward
> may be the satisfaction gained from contributing your valuable skills to the
> future of our school children.
>
> [Action Items: What else is needed? Do you think that your fellow computer
> professionals will respond favorably or unfavorably to this proposal? How
> might the U.S. Tech Corp be made to work?]
>
> I look forward to receiving your comments at [log in to unmask]
>
> ------------------- STATEMENT END --------------------------
>
 
[May be reposted.]

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