The article by Gary was an interesting take on human nature and adoption and ideally gratification from the adoption of new technologies. I read IP Business, VONMAG and SIP Magazine, my favorites for beefing on everything over IP jargon. Looking for cool language for my writings on our company's latest enabler, using http://www.didx.net/ and http://www.virtualphoneline.com/ and other services. Yeah, it's true, you can call a local number and it will ring on your friend, colleague, customer, or vendor's MSN Messenger.
Back to the quote, it is one I am memorizing because it clearly defines the Internet's influence on business models. I was an English teacher for 18 years. About 1993, I brought my home Tandy 1000 HX into my classroom, configured it with my new teacher's FIRN dialup internet and plugged it into the phone jack in the wall. Actually, I guided a couple students to do it.
Next day, I explained what I had discovered about the Internet at home and asked the students to help me brainstorm ways to use it to learn and teach in the classroom. We started off with a contest in which students took turns at the PC, searching for information from a country in the world they were totally fascinated with. Within a couple weeks, each gave a presentation in front of the room to convince the class, we should use the Internet in every way possible to learn about the nation they chose. We voted. South Africa, Malaysia, France and Pakistan won.
We assaulted mailing lists, forums, email addresses, and more with requests to start e-communications with schools, businesses, families, and individuals. The responses came in droves. The atmosphere in the classroom was like electricity. No one was absent for 85 days in a row, a real record since normally 2-5 students were absent every day. (Thank you, Herman, Clemente, Rehan, Inge, and Arshi.)
Let me describe some of these kids to you. They lived in a small town outside Pensacola, Florida, most with their grandmother. The biggest place to get a job was at the prison located at one edge of the town. Other than that, there was a Burger King, few gas stations, couple of locally-owned grocery stores, and tons of churches. One child did live with her 7 siblings and mom and step-dad. one night the mom had had a bit too much to drink and accidentally backed into the step-dad in the driveway. Another kid came to school in the same clothes from day 1 to the last day of school, never washed. Another's dad drove him to school with a live racoon on his head. I'm not saying there is anything unusual about them. You decide.
Anyways, the kids were learning Afrikaans and Urdu, were trading post mail after a while. They learned different ways to do math and the simularity of meanings in word parts among languages, such as kamiz, camisole, and camisa. They were becoming more computer literate than most adult professionals in NWFL. In fact, they had an open house in which they demonstrated to the Board of the Junior Achievement group how to take advantage of the Internet.
I attended a county teacher's workshop and luncheon. An administrator from another school interrupted me as I was proudly telling consecutive anecdotes about the students' accomplishments. He snidely remarked, "Why are you teaching them the Internet and foreign languages when they can't even speak correctly and they will never leave that small town?"
I laughed back, "I'm not teaching them anything. The world is their teacher and they are the world's student."
"This a marathon, not a sprint, over an unknown course, to an unknown destination, on a track not marked, with contestants that can join the race at any time, without going all the way back to the starting line."