The early focus of the Petaluma Tech Corps (Founded 9-1-95) was greatly influenced by a talk given by President Clinton, in San Francisco (Sept.,1995) when he “asked Americans to join in a ‘high-tech barn-raising’ that would link every school in the nation to the Internet by the year 2000.” That statement motivated the Petaluma Tech Corps to distribute a flyer with the following goal statement: Our goal is to have each and every school site in the Petaluma School District … on-line with access to the Internet and the World Wide Web by May.” (1996)

WHP“Mr. William Howard Pepper” made a presentation to the District School Board that raised the question, “Are our schools ready for computer literacy?” He asked if first graders (age 6) who enter our schools in 1996, and graduate 12 years later in 2007 (age 17) will be prepared to enter the 21st century with computer skills and knowledge about information communication technology, as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic?

Mr. Pepper also shared with the Board the following New York Times article by Peter H. Lewis titled, “New Technology getting mixed grades in school:”

“Remarkable new technology is introduced into the school system and experts predict education will be revolutionized.

The technology will, as never-before, allow the widespread dissemination of new concepts and ideas that will stimulate young minds and free the teacher for more creative pursuits.

Yet the magic fails to materialize, and within a few years articles appear in the popular press asserting that the failure, obviously, arises from teachers not being skilled enough in the new technology.”

*Are you ready for the final sentence? … The scenario above actually describes the introduction of the blackboard in the 1840s.

Similar questions were raised 155 years later when “computer” technology was beginning to capture the attention of educational leaders and policy makers. They, too, were concerned over teachers being skilled enough in the use of “information and communication technology” to utilize the Internet effectively as a teaching-learning tool.

In an earlier blog we posted several educational objectives for the school year 1995-96 that were identified, along with a proposed plan of action. What was actually accomplished? Stay tuned as our journey along Our Information Highway continues.