September 1996

Root Page of Article: Barriers to Getting Educators Online, by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold

NCIPnet Discussion: Access to Telecommunications

The following posts illustrate a discussion "thread" - online posts to NCIPnet - about access to telecommunications.

October 19, 1994. AR (NCIPnet Facilitator):
I attended a videoconference last night-part of a series of the Department of Education's Goals 2000 Satellite Town Meetings. The topic was Learning On-Line: Education and the Information Superhighway. The comment that got the biggest reaction from both the studio audience and the group I was sitting and watching with was when a teacher commented that the most difficult part of the so-called "information superhighway" to build is the last 20 feet--into the classroom itself. She said "Build it and we will come" I was wondering what your experiences have been in gaining access to telecommunications.

October 19, 1994 RB (Teacher)
I log on from my home. I do have one access line at my school but it is very limited from one office and I have to wheel the computer into that office when it is not in use. The largest problem seems to be finding a dedicated line. I teach computers and would love to have a dedicated line in my class so I could expose my students to telecommunications. It seems to be a battle many of us are fighting.

October 20, 1994 BM (Computer Specialist)
I watched the same Town Meeting with the President of our Parent's Group. I could not believe that we were the only ones there at that site! Yesterday, I went to a network coordinators meeting 90 miles away with people from 13 counties. It didn't sound like others had heard about it much less seen it. Doesn't sound like the advertising was what it should have been. Our meeting yesterday also included sections on telecommunications. Interest and participation are growing, but it is much harder for those of us in rural areas. I think it is because we do have to depend on long distance connections, and charges. Because of the increased costs, fewer people are using networks so that results in less discussion between people about the benefits from this. For about two years, I have been working with my home computer, because I had not been able to get one at school. This year, I have just gotten a modem and phone lab in my computer lab.

October 28, 1994 TH (Teacher)
There are thousands of buildings in this country, with millions of people in them who have no telephones, no cable television, no reasonable prospect of broadband services. They're called schools." This is a quote from Reed E. Hundt, FCC Chair. I don't think he is far off the mark. I am in a building which is seventy-five years old. We have one accessible plug in each classroom. Unfortunately, telephone lines do not seem to in future plans, although we have approached the principal and PTO, as well as researching grant possibilities. We will not give up!

November 14, 1994 GP (Teacher)
I found an article from SCIENCE TEACHER advertising that $4.5 million was put aside for implementing telecommunications in the classroom. Unfortunately the dates for requests had already gone by. It makes you wonder how much money might be out there for the asking that we do not hear about.

November 28, 1994 FD (Technology Coordinator)
I remember reading an article last year that said somewhere around $4-6 million in grants goes unspent every year because people don't know about it. It's shameful, really. Part of my responsibilities as Technology Coordinator is to look for technology-related grants, but I could do that on a full-time basis alone. ^

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