National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)

Chapter: THE NETWORK REVOLUTION

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Suggested Citation:"THE NETWORK REVOLUTION." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Suggested Citation:"THE NETWORK REVOLUTION." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Page 6
Suggested Citation:"THE NETWORK REVOLUTION." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Page 7
Suggested Citation:"THE NETWORK REVOLUTION." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Page 8

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Imagineasuc- tions has been the Internet, a “network of networks” now used by over 20 million “Don’t buy a computer [for a cession of images people around the world. The Internet was school] unless you plan to originally designed in the 1960s as a com- of the Earth from space puter network that would remain function- connect it to a network. ing even if parts of the network were des- showing the communi- It allows for access to troyed in a nuclear war. But the creators cation links between com- intraschool and interschool of the technology quickly realized that it puters. In an image from the 1950s had a far more immediate use. It enabled communications, it opens or 1960s, there would be only a few lines, them to exchange written information up informational data bases generally between computers at large quickly, easily, and among as many people and services, and it allows military and commercial institutions. as desired, fostering extended dialogues In images from the 1970s and 1980s, the on any topic. for a more efficient method lines would be multiplying rapidly, as By the mid-1970s, the use of the of classroom management.” computers in universities and many busi- Internet had spread far beyond the pro- —JESSE RODRIGUEZ , TUCSON nesses gained the ability to communicate grammers and military planners who had UNIFIED SCHOOLS with other each. originated it. University faculty, industrial Now imagine an image from the 1990s. researchers, and pioneering college stu- The number of lines would be exploding dents found in the Internet a way to tap as a tightly woven net of information begins into computing power not available to to link businesses, governments, homes, them locally—and not incidentally a way to libraries, museums, and colleges. Further- exchange news and personal messages on more, the links would no longer be limited topics of mutual interest. to landlines, as computers begin commun- In the mid-1980s the growth of the icating among themselves and with satel- Internet began to take off. More and more lites by radio waves. undergraduates got accounts through their But there is something wrong with colleges and universities. Computer cen- this picture. At present relatively few ele- ters in an increasing number of countries mentary and secondary school classrooms established Internet links. Networks estab- are linked to the rapidly growing grid of lished for other purposes connected them- information. In their isolation, these selves to the Internet. Today, the use of the classrooms risk missing out on a develop- Internet is growing at an incredible 10 to Aborigines in Australia use a ment that is rapidly changing the way we 20 percent per month—in effect, doubling portable computer to access a live, work, and play. the size of the system each year. college-level course. The global The most impor- The most striking impact of computer network of digitally linked com- tant driving force networks has been among the least expect- puters known as the Internet behind expansion ed: their ability to create extended elec- THE now reaches from the Antarctic of computer tronic communities. By connecting to to the republics of the former communica- computer networks, people gain an entire- Soviet Union to regions that have NETWORK ly new way to share ideas and information only recently begun 6 with others. On the Internet, on stand- to modernize. REVOLUTION alone electronic bulletin board systems, and on commercial networks like CompuServe, Prodigy, and America The growth of Internet Online, people who would not otherwise connections between 1989 and 1993 reveals the expanding dimen- sions of the system. “Our vision of the 1990s is not specific examples in one or two schools or in one or two districts. It is to have the same capabilities available everywhere—in business, at home, and in the schools as well.” —ELLWOOD KERKESLAGER , AT&T NOV 1986 AUG 1981 OCT 1984 FEB 1986 MAY 1982 AUG 1983 OCT 1985

A have occasion to interact are coming in the emerging world of digital com- national and interna- JUN 1994 together to discuss subjects of common munications, often through strategic tional digital net- interest. Social conven- alliances that bring work called the tions are still being together groups with dif- developed to govern com- “An on-line society is emerg- fering expertise. Internet currently 30,000,000 ing. We have automated munications in a medium So far, relatively few ties together mil- where control is held col- of these initiatives have teller machines, computer- lions of people lectively rather than by a involved the nation’s integrated manufacturing, small group. But even schools. But policymak- electronically computerized reservation today’s limited experience ers now recognize that around the world. with computer networks schools must be part systems, computer-aided Over the next decade elec- has revealed the unprece- of the evolution of college registration, and dented potential of many- computer networks, tronic networks will rapidly retail companies with to-many communications. and rapidly dropping evolve to provide informa- This potential is now prices will soon allow point-of-sale requirements. tion, services, and interac- driving major projects in schools to take full Business is rapidly trans- 25,000,000 both the public and pri- advantage of new tion to virtually all forming itself to stay alive. vate sectors. The federal network technolo- Americans. They will encom- government is investing in gies. Furthermore, But change is less rapid pass the telephone system, a National Information the initial experi- in education.” Infrastructure by funding ences of schools cable television, wireless research, promoting com- — J AMES B. H UNT , J R ., with digital tech- communications, shopping, GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA n o l o g i e s h a v e DEC 1993 munications and technolo- libraries, higher and continu- gy standards, and helping become a power- to link schools, govern- ful force for ing education, and other ment agencies, and other public institu- change, as teachers, educa- OCT 1993 services now provided in tions electronically. In the private sector, tion officials, parents, and 20,000,000 person. This evolution will telephone companies, cable companies, students are beginning to computer hardware and software compa- recognize the power of be fueled by public policies nies, and Hollywood production compa- these technologies to designed to foster competi- nies are all searching for profitable roles transform education. tion, equity, and individual JUL 1993 rights. It will also be fueled 7% by massive private invest- Government 8% ment in infrastructure and Educational As the Internet content. grows, commer- 10% cial applications The Internet, which is 15,000,000 44% Defense APR 1993 are expanding Research now rooted largely in institu- (including commercial) most rapidly, tions of higher education, with educational uses still a has tremendous potential 31% JAN 1993 relatively minor Commercial to change K-12 education. component. Yet today, despite promising starts in some schools, that OCT 1992 potential remains largely INTERNET DYNAMICS untapped. As the network’s 10,000,000 JUL 1992 focus shifts from institutions to individuals, ubiquitous APR 1992 access will become a practi- cal tool for education both JAN 1992 at home and in schools. OCT 1991 JUL 1991 5,000,000 JAN 1991 OCT 1990 The use of the Internet has GROWTH OF THE INTERNET been growing exponentially— with no end in sight. OCT 1989 JUL 1989 JAN 1989 OCT 1988 DEC 1987 JUL 1988

INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIVITY ■ INTERNET ■ BITNET BUT NOT INTERNET ■ EMAIL ONLY (UUCP, DIDONET OR OSI) ■ NO CONNECTIVITY The collision of the comet Shoemaker- Levy 9 with Jupiter left a string of http://dept.physics.upenn.edu:80/ impact sites sl9/observatories/CAO wrapped around the planet like a pearl necklace. This picture was taken with the 3.5- meter telescope of the German- “In bringing computer and Spanish Alto network literacy to the Observatory in teachers of our children, southern Spain. it would pay for itself Available via World in wonderful and unima- Wide Web. ginable ways” —WILLIAM GIBSON , AUTHOR

http://141.142.3.130/SDG/Experimental /vatican.exhibit/exhibit/b-archeology/Extra_objects2.html. Image of ancient Rome drawn by an unknown http://www.memst.edu artist in the 15th century— /egypt/egypt.html. part of the collection in the Vatican Library—can be seen by the public only over the Internet via World Wide Web. The Pyramid of Khufu is the largest of the three major pyramids on the Giza Plateau, which is http://wxweb.msu.edu:80 /weather/antartica.html. part of the necropolis of Memphis. Available via World Wide Web. Satellite photograph of the south pole shows a storm over Antarctica. Current photographs are available via World Wide Web

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Today's children have grown up immersed in a world of computers and other information technologies. They play video games; they listen to music on digital compact disks; they help their families program the computerized controls of videocassette players. With all of the exciting innovations in computer technology, children have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving home. Schools by comparison can seem dull.

Education reformers have been developing new approaches for improving the way in which children learn and interact in the classroom. They now must consider the "technology gap" that exists between the technologically rich experiences children have outside the classroom and the comparatively low-tech, in-school environment. The aim is not just to outfit more classrooms with computers. Schools should be changed so that they encompass and guide out-of-school activities that already embrace technology.

Not only is this vision possible, it also is feasible, according to Reinventing Schools. This document, available only as an on-line publication, is based on a meeting at which hundreds of leaders -from government, education, and the entertainment and information technology industries-developed strategies for reinvigorating the K-12 educational process by integrating the school experience with the information technology that has captured children's imaginations.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Academy Industry Program of the National Research Council, Coca-Cola Endowment Fund of the National Research Council, and Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

This is a web-only publication available at:

http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/techgap/welcome.html.

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