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Media Workshop March 20


March 21, 2000: This message was distributed by Papyrus News, a free e-mail distribution list on the global impact of information technology on language, literacy, and education. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For information on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.



Each week Media Workshop sends out an email highlighting recent news articles about K-12 educational technology...


week of MARCH 20, 2000



"Online Education to be Free"

Cindy Loose

Washington Post,

March 15, 2000


"Billionaire Pitches Cyber-U to Businesses"

Cindy Loose

Washington Post,

March 17, 2000

Michael Saylor, the billionaire founder of MicroStrategy, a Washington, DC software company, is pouring over $100 million dollars of his personal wealth into a new venture -- an online university that will offer "an Ivy League education" for free. The overall plan for this Internet-based education venture is still being constructed, but educators from George Washington University and the former secretary of education from the State of Virginia, as well as heads of foundations from around the Washington area, have all agreed to act as advisors to the project. Saylor proposed the online university, which will combine online courses with videotaped lectured from the top academic minds in the world, as a way of becoming involved with what he calls "21st-century philanthropy."

See also: "Billionaire Plans Online University,"


"Program Trains Teachers in Cross-Border Sharing of Knowledge"

Pamela Mendels

New York Times,

March 15, 2000

A new organization, the Partnership in Global Learning, is sponsoring a multi-national collaboration to create high school and college-level online curriculum for students around the world. The course materials will be initially developed by professors at universities in the U.S. and Latin America, all of who will be partnered with high schools in their specific region. The goal is to develop high quality business and social studies courses for high school students in languages other than English to promote international use of the Internet for educational purposes. Another goal of the program is to experiment with ways distance learning might help alleviate growing concerns about the population boom, and resulting overcrowding of schools, in countries such as Brazil and Mexico.

"Education: Web's New Come-On"

Lisa Guernsey

New York Times,

March 14, 2000

Some new Internet-based companies are seeking to combine the pursuit of knowledge with the already popular pursuit of online goods and services. While critics bristle at the loosely defined "online education" outfits springing up on the Web, students/consumers seem pleased by the sheer number of online courses now available for free. Rather than charge tuition, these free online courses are subsidized by e-commerce tie-ins, with the sponsoring website taking a percentage from the sale of a textbook or supplementary material for the course. Some of the companies develop the courses themselves, and others contract with a university that is already offering online courses their audience, typically non-traditional aged students, or "life-long learners." Critics are naturally concerned about the newly blurred line between education and marketing on these websites.



"Censorware Exposed Again"

Chris Oakes

Wired News,,1282,34842,00.html?tw=wn20000310

March 9, 2000, an anti-filtering software advocacy group, has released a list of websites blocked by Symantec's I-Gear filtering software, many of which (approximately 76%) were seemingly blocked in error. Sites that were blocked include a scholarly analysis of the Roman Empire, and a text written entirely in Latin. I-Gear is the filtering software used by the New York City public schools, and has been widely criticized by teachers there for its vague list of blocked search terms (see Educational Technology News Digest from November 15, 1999,



"They Hope to Move Up by Learning to Log On"

Robyn Meredith

New York Times,

March 13, 2000

Think Detroit, a non-profit youth empowerment group in Detroit, has found an original way to hook kids into learning about computers in their free time -- they coordinate after-school sports teams and then offer computer repair and training sessions to each team member. The group also has established computer labs and computer donation services to provide continuous access to technology after school hours. The ultimate goal is procure enough computers to donate one to each child for home use, and help the kids teach their parents and siblings what they have learn through Think Detroit's technology courses.

"Girls on Track With Educational Technology"

Sarah B. Berenson, et al

Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education at NC State


Winter 2000

Faced with discouraging statistics on the declining number of women who choose to pursue advanced degrees and careers in mathematics, researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina have developed a 3 year pilot program called Girls on Track Math Camp. This program seeks to combine project and scenario based learning with mathematics and computer skills building. The types of software and scenarios used to structure the girl's learning experiences are outlined in this article, along with first-hand accounts from the young women who participated in last summer's course.



"M&A Among Wired Charities -- MOUSE, Heaven Merge"

@NY Daily Newsletter,

March 15, 2000

Two New York-based educational technology non-profit groups are merging to better focus and market their programs to underserved districts both within and beyond the New York region. Heaven will fold it's scholarship and technical training programs into MOUSE, which has existing programs for public school teachers, young women interested in technology, high school newspaper editors, and a new media internship program. The board of directors and advisors for the newly combined non-profit will be comprised of top New York-based new media entrepreneurs and philanthropists.


"Plan to Give Laptops to Maine 7th Graders Faces Doubtful Future"

Mary Ann Zehr

Education Week,

March 15, 2000

The innovative and exciting laptop distribution plan proposed by Maine governor Angus King earlier this month seems to have been rejected, for now at least, but that state's legislative body. Senators representing both Republican and Democratic parties have sided against the governor's plan to allocate $50 million in state money to fund a program that would provide a laptop computer for every seventh grader by the year 2002. While the plan was not dismissed outright, the legislation considers school repair and renovation a much higher priority, and will seek to use the money for that purpose instead.



Mostly Wrong Questions From a High Tech Heretic"

Keith R. Krueger

Education Week,

March 15, 2000

Clifford Stoll's new book, "High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don't Belong in the Classroom & Other Reflections," is carefully reviewed (and rejected) by the executive director of the Consortium of School Networking. Disputing the very thesis of the book -- that schools incorporate technology in order to promote "computer literacy" -- Mr. Krueger reminds us that technology is merely a tool towards improving student learning, and can be used by talented teachers to engage and involve students in higher-order thinking activities. Stoll's book, however, seems mostly to point out only the stupid or silly ways computers have been used in the classroom, a clearly one-dimension perspective.


summaries complied by: Jessica Millstone (,Technology Consultant

Media Workshop New York, a special project of the Bertelsmann Foundation


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Last updated: March 22, 2000