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  •                                 NETFUTURE
                Technology and Human Responsibility for the Future
    Issue #36      Copyright 1996 O'Reilly & Associates      December 19, 1996
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    *** Quotes and Provocations
          Classroom Revolutions
          Net Politics
          The Net and Perdition
    *** Gildered Dreams (Stephen L. Talbott)
          Do too many corporate banquets kill off neurons?
    *** Indiscretions (Frank Willison)
          At least it meant something to Hester Prynne; all-knowing machines
    *** About this newsletter

    *** Quotes and Provocations

    Classroom Revolutions

    1923--the promise of radio:
    The Hertzian waves will carry education as they do music to the backwoods, isolated farms and into the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. The limitations of "the little red schoolhouse" will pass away; the country schoolteacher will be reinforced by college professors and other specialists. Radio will be an institution of learning as well as a medium for entertainment and communication. [New York Times, February 24, 1923]

    1941--the promise of television:

    While children may be bored and restless when merely listening to a speaker [on radio] without seeing him, living talent or motion pictures broadcast at a certain time to all schools in a given area will capture and hold their interest. The fascination of television for children has already been demonstrated in the homes of those now possessing television receivers in the New York area. [David Sarnoff, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, January, 1941]

    1994--the promise of the Net:

    You can't expect a passive medium like television to contribute much to the education of viewers. But with the advent of interactive computer networks, education will be revolutionized. The child's imagination will finally be set free to roam the world, guided by his or her own interests. [Every discussion group on the Net]

    1999--the promise of virtual reality:

    Why should students be interested in flat-screen interaction with the world? But with full-immersion virtual reality we can present the child with infinitely rich learning environments. He or she lives in the world he or she is learning about, and even helps to create it. [MSNBC news item, coincidentally appearing on the release date for Microsoft's new, virtual reality software, "B U, B Me"]

    2010--at the dawn of a new era:

    The test scores of American students in math, science, reading, and writing continued their long-term decline last year. Some educators have taken consolation in the fact that certain indicators of hand-eye coordination are up. But all are calling for a renewed national commitment to the advanced educational technologies that will prepare our