Telecommunications headlines --Nov 10-24

Gary Handman (
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 09:04:35 -0800 (PST)

Old vs New Media **

Title: Listserv Resurrects "Soul" of Old UPI
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
Author: Jeri Clausing
Issue: Old vs New Media
Description: Before there was an Internet, there was United Press
International's message wire. The wire was meant to connect the far-flung
bureaus of the international service, a way to plot news strategy without
costly long distance telephone calls. Every message posted to the wire was
seen by everyone in the company, but that did not deter people from using it
for small-talk, flirtations, and "wire fights." Many UPI veterans insist
that the message wire contributed to the camaraderie that kept the service
competitive through sell offs, pay cuts, bankruptcies, bounced checks and
industry obits. Now the message wire has been reborn and the Downhold
listserv on the Internet. The list has 200 members, all present or former
UPI staff. See UPI <>.

** Arts **

Title: Salon's Digital Art Ends Up Flat
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
Author: Matthew Mirapaul
Issue: Arts
Description: The School of Visual Arts' <> Timothy
Binkley organized the New York Digital Salon <> to
display digitally generated art that could be mounted to a wall ("flat
art"). Now in its fifth year, the Digital Salon has a growing number of
submissions -- in part because there are more digital artists and because
the event has been growing in stature. "The sense I get this year -- and
it's the first year I've had this sense -- is that digital artists are
beginning to feel that they're working with an extremely powerful art form
and I think they're gaining a certain confidence about what they're doing,"
Binkley said. [For more information about the arts online see Open Studio

Title: 25 Films Added to Registry
Source: Washington Post (D2)
Author: Lloyd Grove
Issue: Arts
Description: Librarian of Congress James Billington announced this year's
entrees to the National Film Registry. Perhaps most recognizable are The Big
Sleep, The Bridge Over the River Kwai, How the West Was Won, The Hustler,
Knute Rockne, All American, Mean Streets, Rear Window, The Thin Man and West
Side Story. These films have been deemed worthy of preserving for posterity
because they are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
(Guess that would be the difference between a "film" and a "movie"). Fifty
percent of pre-1950 and 90% of pre-1920 films have disappeared without a

** Internet **

Title: Sponsor of Communications Decency Act Introduces a Sequel
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
Author: Jeri Clausing
Issue: CDA
Description: Sen Dan Coats (R-IN) has introduced legislation that will
require commercial distributors of material that is "harmful to minors" to
restrict access with credit cards or personal identification numbers. "We
think that the Supreme Court was very clear that user-based controls and the
enforcement of existing laws against child pornography and obscenity is the
appropriate way to protect children on the net," said Jonah Seiger, a
spokesman for the Center for Democracy and Technology <>
who successfully fought the CDA in court. But Sen Coats believes that this
bill would survive a constitutional challenge: "Although I think that many
opponents of the CDA, who are feeling very heady, want to call it CDA 2, it
is really very different. CDA cast a very wide net. This legislation hunts
with a rifle. It goes after one specific area." [For more information on the
original CDA see <>]

Title: Fairfax Library Panel Rejects Internet Limits
Source: Washington Post (D8)
Author: Marylou Tousignant
Issue: Libraries
Description: Fairfax County library officials have rejected a plan that
would have allowed parents to prohibit their preteen children from surfing
the 'Net on library computers in an effort to prevent them from viewing
sexually explicit material. This is reflecting the national debate over
whether, and how, to erect roadblocks on the 'Net, especially when children
are involved. The proposal was offered as a compromise between those who
believe in strict limits on Internet access and those who believe any
restriction would be a form of censorship. Charles Fegan, the Braddock
District library board representative, said he was surprised and
disappointed by it defeat, 7 to 3. "This doesn't encroach on anyone else's
freedom. It doesn't do anything with the content of the Internet -- there's
no censorship. It just says, 'Parents, you're responsible.'"

Title: Federal Act Targets Software Theft From Net
Source: New York Times/CyberTimes
Author: Jeri Clausing
Issue: Internet
Description: Last week Congress passed a bill that would make some Net
piracy a felony with violators getting up to five years in prison and a
$250,000 fine. The bill called, No Electronic Theft (NET) makes it a
federal crime to "willfully" make or possess ten or more digital copies with
a value of $2,500 or more. The bill, which now just needs President
Clinton's signature to become law, is the first of several cyberspace
copyright bills pending in Congress.

Title: Bob's Web Site Puts Greenville Art Scene on Map
Source: New York Times/CyberTimes
Author: Matthew Mirapaul
Issue: Arts
Description: Robert J. Shiffler, a successful businessman who began to spend
his money on art in the mid-80s, launched a Web site six months ago devoted
to expanding the impact of his contemporary art collection. Since his
collection of over 2,000 objects, the majority dating from 1986 or later, is
located in downtown, Greenville, OH, (not exactly a 'hot' vacation spot) he
designed the site to find new audiences. "I'm not concerned about making
them art collectors or museum-goers," Shiffler said. "I'm concerned about
conveying the experience that is available through contemporary art, the
ability to communicate in a different way." You can access 'Bob's Art' at
<>. [For more on the arts online see Open Studio

Title: A Simple DNS Solution Is Doable, But Unlikely
Source: New York Times/CyberTimes
Author: Peter Wayner
Issue: Internet Technology
Description: One of the largest dilemmas challenging the "current system of
self-governance by the techno-elite" is the problem of assigning names on
the Internet. With so much money now on the line the hope for a simple
seems to be out of the question. However, Wayner has a "simple" solution
that he believes
would destabilize the current hierarchy of the Domain Naming System (DNS).
His idea is to give each user the ability to control where his or her
computer turns for information about names on the Internet. By empowering
people in this way, it "would give new top-level domains a chance to win
customers and people." Of course the cost of this freedom would be a bit
more confusion but possibly worth the price.

Title: What's in a Net Name?
Source: Washington Post (A26)
Author: WP Editorial
Issue: Internet
Description: "Anyone who wants to relive the gold rushes of the last century
should be keeping an eye on the complex struggle to determine the allocation
of new Internet addresses." There's big money at stake here -- both for
companies that want to have easy-to-remember Net addresses and for the
people who allocate the registrations. The latest plan is to drop Network
Solutions Inc's monopoly control to make the registry system open, global,
and decentralized. "As national governments struggle with the challenge of
asserting control over a global and borderless medium, that medium's
internal institutions have their own heavy responsibility."

** Television **

Title: Nickelodeon Adds to Children's Hours
Source: New York Times (B8)
Author: Lawrie Mifflin
Issue: Children's Television
Description: Trying to win audiences that are discontent with "Family Hour"
programming, Nickelodeon has announced that it will expand its prime-time
weekday lineup of children's shows to 9 pm starting next fall. The cable
network only reaches 70% of US households, but has attracted the largest
audience of children during the 8-8:30 pm time slot with shows like "The
Secret World of Alex Mack" and "Hey Arnold!" "The networks have gone to
adult comedies at 8, except on Friday," said Steve Sternberg, a senior
partner at BJK&E, who analyses children's programming for advertisers. Shows
like "Full House" and "Family Matter" declined and the networks decided to
go with adult-oriented shows. "That certainly gives Nick an edge," said
Sternberg. [For more on children's television see

Title: New at FCC, A Member Without TV
Source: Washington Post (A19)
Author: Mike Mills
Issue: FCC
Description: New FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth does not own a
television set. The 40-year old Republican said, "I've got five children.
And we have no shortage of live entertainment in our house." The FCC sets
policy on a host of issues including children's programming, TV liquor
advertising, and cable TV rates.

Title: Digital TV Advisory Committee Meeting
Source: NTIA
Issue: Digital TV
Description: Notice of the December 5 meeting of the Advisory Committee on
Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters has been
published in the Federal Register. The meeting will be held on Friday,
December 5, 1997 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. in the Lounge of the
Export-Import Bank of the United States, 11th Floor, 811 Vermont Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20571. Further information about the meeting will be
available on the Advisory Committee's homepage at
<>. Public comment welcome:
email your comments to <> with subject "Public Comment"

Title: Paxson Shares Fall Amid Plans For Family TV
Source: Wall Street Journal (B10)
Author: Kyle Pope
Issue: Television
Description: Shares of Paxson Communications slipped as Wall Street
panned the company's plans for a new family-oriented TV network called
PaxNet. It will be launched next August with a mix of movies, infomercials,
and network reruns. Instead of simply selling the air time to a Hollywood
studio or cable company, the company said it will buy programming and
sell the
ads itself. Some analysts questioned whether the new Paxson programming will
be distinctive enough to attract advertisers. Company Chairman Lowell "Bud"
Paxson, said, "We would like to be able to say that we have wholesome

** EdTech **

Author: Mary Dalton, Dept of Communication, Wake Forest
Issue: EdTech
Description: All Wake Forest University first-year students were issued an
IBM ThinkPad and a color printer this year. The university's provost David
G. Brown said "If we are to empower each individual student to communicate
frequently with professors, to access customized reading lists, to
collaborate with colleague learners on campus and at distant locations, we
must provide the tools to do so. The computer is such a tool." There are
critics of the program and the additional $3,000 cost to students, but the
university is making massive investments in teacher training, computer
support and evaluation of the program as it progresses. One evaluator said,
"The computer really changes what teaching is all about. For one thing,
office hours now are outdated. The students can get to you and, perhaps,
expect that they will get to you and that you'll respond via the computer.
The faculty member's central nervous system is now expanded with the
computer; it's dispersed across social space more than ever before. The
whole interpersonal climate between students and teachers is changing." [For
more on the introduction of computers to the classroom see The Learning
Connection <>}

Title: A New Way
Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Lisa Bransten
Issue: Education Technology
Description: Doug Kirkpatrick, a middle school science teacher in Walnut
Creek, CA, has been collaborating with researchers in the Knowledge
Integration Environment (KIE) project at the University of California at
Berkeley's Graduate School of Education for the past 12 years to use
computer technology in his classroom. His students use donated computers
to take guided tours of the World Wide Web and specialized software to
conduct lab experiments. Mr. Kirkpatrick says that it isn't the computers
themselves that excite him as much as the freedom they allow him in his
teaching methods. He now can spend more time with small groups of
students, as opposed to acting as a "sage on stage", and has been able to
dispense with techniques used to assist students in the memorization of
facts in favor of using a more exploratory approach to learning.
It is not only the students that are benefitting from this most important
experiment, through their classroom observations, KIE researchers have been
able to refine the teaching software and offer advice to Mr. Kirkpatrick.
The software allows students to build upon ideas that they already have and
connect them to new ideas to help them better retain information. As
Marcia Linn, head of the KIE project, puts it, with Doug Kirkpatrick's
teaching abilities and the use of computers, "Every child in the classroom
feels very much like their ideas count."

Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Robin Frost
Issue: Education Technology
Description: Christopher Columbus middle school, in Union City, NJ, is
being hailed as "a standard for the successful integration of high
technology and education." In 1992, the Bell Atlantic Corp. brought
computers into the schools classrooms and homes of all seventh graders and
their teachers as part of Project Explore. But it wasn't just the
computers that made the difference, it was their integration into
Christopher Columbus's new curriculum, known as whole language learning.
In the classroom a new emphasis was placed on research, textbooks were
replaced with actual novels and the essays they originated from, and
traditional student/teacher roles were exchanged for cooperative student
groups. Classes are now longer and more interdisciplinary and the standard
classroom desk design has been replaced with group tables. Combining the
whole language learning approach with technology allowed the computer
network to become an integral part of the education process, not something
that was just thrown on top of an established curriculum. "You can't
just put computers in the classroom," says Time Ireland, a Bell Atlantic
spokesperson. "We knew that the computers by themselves couldn't do
anything without the teachers." And not just any teachers, he says: You
have to have teachers "who are trained to integrate technology into
classroom instruction." "I think a lot of schools think they can do a
quick fix," says Gary Ramella, the district's supervisor of technology.
"They say to themselves, 'OK, let's spend $5 million on technology.'" "But
that isn't what reform is about," he argues, pointing instead to the
educator's efforts to use that technology toward a larger goal. The
progress Union City has made towards this goal is apparent. Now,
Christopher Columbus middle school, once in danger of a state takeover
due to poor test scores and attendance, among other problems, has seen a
dramatic reversal with test scores that are almost twice that of other
inner-city school districts and is being looked at for recruitment by top

Title: Hard Lessons
Source: Wall Street Journal (Technology, R1, Nov. 17)
Author: William M. Bulkeley
Issue: Education Technology
Description: The great promise of high-tech learning too often seems
unfulfilled, but amid all the dissatisfaction educators have picked up some
concrete lessons: Computers can improve education, but not without serious
planning from schools and teachers. Martha Stone Wiske, co-director of the
Educational Technology Ctr. at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, said,
"The backlash is coming from people who thought simplistically about how
technology could revamp schools and are disappointed." Here are the
10 hard lessons learned from educators in the trenches: 1-computer labs are
a lousy location for computers. 2-Struggling students often get more out of
computers than average or above-average performers. 3-Most teachers still
don't know how to use computers in class. 4-School systems must plan their
computer use carefully. 5-Computers are a tool, not a subject. 6-Kids
flourish when everyone has a computer -- but schools aren't spending
enough to guarantee that. 7-Schools can't handle hand-me-downs.
8-Computers don't
diminish traditional skills. 9-The Internet and email excite kids by giving
them an audience. 10-Kids love computers.

Title: Dewey Wins!
Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Robert Cwiklik
Issue: Education Technology
Description: As many schools look to change their teaching style to work
with computer technology, the methods that John Dewey developed almost 100
years ago are being integrated into high-tech, cutting edge, reforms.
Dewey's method, described in "School and Society" in 1899, was based on the
theory that instructional styles were in direct opposition to students'
natural ways of learning. Instead of attempting to hammer facts into
student's brains, Dewey wanted schools to set up curriculums that presented
students with a series of problems that called upon children to come up
with solutions using their innate methods of the scientist, historian and
artist. Through this process, students would develop a greater
understanding of the subjects they studied. While classrooms have changed
since Dewey's time their essence has remained the same in many ways.
Reformers now hope that with the introduction of technology into the
school learning. "Progressive education ideas that didn't work
particularly well
prior to the technology may prove very effective in an educational
environment well-equipped with good technological resources," says Robert
McClintock, co-director of the Institute for Learning Technologies at
Columbia University's Teachers College, New York. And in a report
presented from a panel of President Clinton's top private-sector advisers
on education and technology in March, they said that while much research on
the question is still called for, "the student-centered constructivist
paradigm may ultimately offer the most fertile ground for the application
of technology to education."

Title: Cyberdegrees
Source: Wall Street Journal (Technology, R26)
Author: Paul Cox
Issue: Education Technology
Description: Though "distance-learning" isn't new, the advent of the
Internet has given earning a degree a whole new direction. Students can
discuss topics in real time with professors or fellow students over the
World Wide Web, download a digitized seminar or click on a link to get
reading assignments. According to Mike Lambert, executive director of the
Distance Education and Training Council, more than 400 colleges and
universities in the U.S. offer accredited distance-learning programs.

Author: Evan Ramstad
Issue: Ed Tech
Description: Early exposure to computers is a big help for children.
Hundreds of research studies have found that computers improve student
performance, particularly when teachers are trained well in the technology.
Marylyn Rosenblum, president of Sanctuary Woods Multimedia Corp., said, "For
better or worse, parents understand that computers are tools of business.
Forget whether they're useful for education. Parents perceive kids need to
know about computers if they are going to be successful later in life." Many
parents buy computers based on the assumption that the more opportunity a
child has to work on a computer, the more comfortable he or she will be with
one in the future. Some experts say children can learn important computer
skills from video games or even the electronic "pets" that became popular
earlier this year. Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children's Software Revue,
said, "Most of that is incredibly intuitive, so they pick it up anyway."

Source: Wall Street Journal (Technology, R32, Nov. 17)
Author: Robert Cwiklik
Issue: Ed Tech
Description: Computers in the classroom, it seems, have broad support
from the political and educational establishments. Proponents say the
machines will empower students as never before, yet skeptics argue that many
of the technology's promised benefits for schools are yet to be realized and
rely mainly on the hype attendant on computers in general and on the
Internet in particular. The question was posed in a discussion with
Professor Seymour Papert, creator of Logo -- a computer language for
and Professor Theodore Roszak from Calif. State Univ. at Hayward. Under
headings like "What the Computers Don't Teach", Prof. Roszak said, "Speaking
as a historian, I find that the entire discussion of Logo and of computers
generally is historically illiterate. It seems to assume that education
-- and
maybe childhood -- began with the invention of the computer..." In response
under the heading, "Blame Schools, Not Technology", Prof. Papert said,
"Thinking about the educational value of computation requires the same leap
of imagination beyond its early forms as was needed to see the tiny hop
of the Wright Brothers Flyer as the start of a revolution in
transportation and
indeed of the world economy."

Title: Those Who Can't...
Source: Wall Street Journal (Technology, R8, Nov. 17)
Author: Robert Cwiklik
Issue: Ed Tech
Description: Teachers, long the neglected stepchildren of the movement to
computerize the nation's schools, are beginning to get invited to the party.
Many experts say that a lot of training for teachers to date has been
ineffective. Often, schools collect teachers in large groups representing
varying levels of computer skills for one-size-fits-all lessons that tend to
focus on the basics [wow, sounds like a classroom]. Some experts advocate
more individualized approaches, while one program enlists children, with
their demonstrated enthusiasm for
using computers, not only to train teachers, but to also build and maintain
an entire school-district technology infrastructure.

Title: Creating A Community
Source: Wall Street Journal (Technology, R10)
Author: Lisa Bannon
Issue: EdTech
Description: "Pueblo", a joint venture between Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto
Research Ctr., Phoenix College, and Longview Elementary, is an
Internet-accessible virtual world with its own geography, characters, and
objects. Pueblo's main aim is to jump start educations often stalled by high
dropout rates, lack of guidance, violent neighborhoods, and poor role
models. The project uses text-only software and is designed to give users a
sense of being present with others in a physical space where they can talk,
manipulate objects, or move around the "community" to see what others have
created. Jim Walters, Pueblo's director, says the original idea behind the
project was to boost literacy, but now it provides badly needed mentors from
around the city and country for children who don't have a strong support
system at home. Mr. Walter said, "What we're really doing is building a
community that exists not just in the virtual world but in the real world,

Title: Texas may Drop All Textbooks, for Laptops
Source: New York Times/CyberTimes
Author: Houston
Issue: EdTech
Description: As the Texas Board of Education debates how to most effectively
replace old textbooks, a remark made by the chairman of the board, Dr. Jack
Christie, to give all public school students laptops instead of textbooks,
is receiving some serious consideration. With the board looking at $1.8
billion in textbook costs over the next six years, it may be cheaper, as
well as innovative, to lease a laptop for each of the state's 3.7 million
students. This move would not only allow schools to maintain up-to-date
information within the classroom but could also be used as a way to close
the technology gap between wealthy and indigent students.

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000