Transforming Teacher Use of Technology with Use of Teragrid Outreach Resources

Sharing the Vision of THe Teragrid

Family Science Days AAAS Teragrid Outreach

Three Dimension/Film of the Teragrid Outreach in the AAAS Science booth

You may ask, what is the Teragrid?

Teachers find it an empowering resource…

A formal definition is this:

TeraGrid is an open scientific discovery infrastructure combining leadership class resources at 11 partner sites to create an integrated, persistent computational resource.

Using high-performance network connections, TeraGrid integrates high-performance computers, data resources and tools, and high-end experimental facilities around the country. Currently, TeraGrid resources include more than 2.5 petaflops of computing capability and more than 50 petabytes of online and archival data storage, with rapid access and retrieval over high-performance networks. Researchers can also access more than 100 discipline-specific databases. With this combination of resources, the TeraGrid is the world’s largest, most comprehensive distributed cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research.

TeraGrid is coordinated through the Grid Infrastructure Group (GIG) at the University of Chicago, working in partnership with the Resource Provider sites: Indiana University, the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the National Institute for Computational Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Purdue University, San Diego Supercomputer Center, Texas Advanced Computing Center, and University of Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The research community supports teachers, and education through outreach in several ways.  Each of the research communities has a specific education section . Gateway if you will to the use of the research .

San Diego Supercomputing Center features the subject of Computational Thinking using a well thought out project that was written by Pat Phillips of Microsoft. You can find that here:

You may have noticed that the major teacher organizations, CSTA, ISTE, CoSN, and SITE featured papers, workshops and discussions on the use of computational thinking in the classroom. This was a planned outreach started by the network of educators and researchers within the Teragrid network.

Here is one of the papers presented at the Consortium for School Networking in New Orleans in 2011:

Executive Summary

The 2010 National Educational Technology Plan says “…technology is at the core of virtually every aspect of our daily lives and work…. Whether the domain is English language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, history, art, or music, 21st-century competencies and such expertise as critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication should be woven into all content areas.”

Since the late 1990s, the US has been trying to describe what a 21st century education should look like. Futurists are trying to divine the skills that will be needed for jobs that do not yet exist, employing technologies that have not yet been invented. However, a careful look around can allow us to see many areas that have been virtually unnoticed by those who are focused on 21st century skills.

Supercomputing – sometimes called high performance computing – is not a new technology concept, but the supercomputers of 25 years ago were about as powerful as a cell phone is today, and likewise the supercomputers of today will be no better than a laptop of 10 to 15 years from now. As the world of the biggest and fastest computers has evolved and these computers have become increasingly available to industry, government, and academia, they are being used in ways that influence everyday life, from the cars we drive, to the food in our cupboards, to the movies we enjoy.

Supercomputing is not an end in itself, but rather the technological foundation for large scale computational and data-enabled science and engineering, or computational science, for short. It is a collection of techniques for using computing to examine phenomena that are too big, too small, too fast, too slow, too expensive, or too dangerous to experiment on in the real world. While problems with small computing footprints can be examined on a laptop, the grand challenge problems most crucial for us to address have enormous computing footprints and, thus, are best solved via supercomputing.

As a result, in order to be competitive as a nation, we need to produce knowledge workers in far greater numbers who understand both what supercomputers can do and how to use them effectively to improve our understanding of the world around us and our day to day lives.

The thinking about large scale and advanced computing has evolved, too. Today, we realize that, while not everyone will be using big computing in their jobs, they will need to understand the underlying concepts.

These concepts collectively are referred to as ‘computational thinking’, a means of describing problems and how to solve them so that their solutions can be found via computing (paraphrased from Jeanette Wing, Jan Cuny, and Larry Snyder). Computational thinking includes abstraction, recursion, algorithms, induction, and scale.

Our 21st century citizens, entrepreneurs, leadership, and workforce will be best positioned to solve emerging challenges and to exploit new opportunities if they have a strong understanding of computational thinking, how it applies to computational science, and how it can be implemented via high performance computing. These are true 21st century competencies that will serve our nation well.

The authors of the paper have been immersed, involved and integrated into the Teragrid community through attending workshops, NCSI initiatives, online contact with the researchers and outreach specialists over a period of time that has proved to create a powerful network of educators sharing the story of possibilities within the Teragrid.

An initial outreach , Teacher Bridge Day , which preceded  an ISTE and CSTA conference, united teachers and educators who then continued to work together over the period of months . The teachers benefitted from the combined efforts of the many researchers and outreach specialists who participated and contributed to the very first workshop.  Following that workshop, there were involvements with ITest through Joyce Malyn Smith.

I am pleased to say that this year , Joyce and the educators at reported a large number of people interested in the strand. Joyce took the idea and developed it into a specialized strand for the ITest Community.

Here are a few of the 2011 presentations from the Aera Annual Meeting.

There may be more resources that link to the outreach of the Teragrid. I have chosen these to share.

Joyce was also a force at the SITE conference in Nashville, TN. The informal outeach team, those of us who try to broaden engagement and show diversity were there to shake up the force within . We established a SIG for Computational Thinking and fielded a number of workshops.

We worked also at the K-12 levels of technology in Texas at TCEA.

Everything  is Big in Texas:  TACC and Supercomputing , at  TCEA

Ranger?    Stallion ? Computational Thinking and Learning

I  go to Texas a lot. My brother lives there, friends live there,  NASA holds events. I have been to Lockhart for BBQ, to Galveston for a wedding, to San Antonio and other places. I even know lots of recipes and ways to BBQ. But Austin put the icing on the cake for those of us doing digital outreach and broadening engagement in Supercomputing.I took classes at Rice (Teacher Tech) with a Supercomputing scholarship.  I have digital sisters and brothers in Texas.


Why not? Texas is a huge state and I have found lots of friends and educators who support my ways of thinking there.

I participated in a Teacher Tech  workshop at Rice University in Houston, and met Karen North and Dr. Richard Tapia. For a long time I was in constant email touch with a LOT of Texans. We were not sure what kind of reception we weuld get in 2011, this being a new topic to many people. I have been to Austin a lot, so when I see the statue of Barbara Jordan and the big guitars, I feel at home. We had a Supercomputing conference in Austin a few years ago as well.

Ray Rose, Henry Neeman, Vic Sutton and I have been a team at other conferences, we were literally breaking the ice in Austin for educators. It was scary to do.

. (It was very , very cold)  The keynote was a very warm one by Leigh Anne Touhy. The Blind Side was written about her true life experience. She set the tone for broadening engagement and social justice for me. She shared how her life was changed . I had not seen the movie , but I will.

We think that in education there is a blind side to the understanding of technology, particularly computational science, so we put together a workshop for Supercomputing and the use of the Teragrid and we did  a workshop for Emerging Technologies, and a tour of the TACC center.on the campus.

TCEA  Supercomputing and the Teragrid…  no limits, remember?

Henry Neeman has a great presentation , ” What in the World is Supercomputing!“. We took it to a state conference. Did I mention he is from Okahoma? They razzed him a lot, but he just kept on presenting. The interesting thing about it is that he is a reseacher, who can bring the ideas down to earth with fun, and understanding. Henry can do this in person, on line or in a course online. You can fund a lot of the information here.

Nothing like being with him in person however. Think Puzzle. Think a guy moving around at the speed of light, absolutely able to help you understand Supercomputing. This is Henry.

Dr. Neeman also has taught a series of workshops titled “Supercomputing in Plain English”, directed at an audience of undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff not only in computer science but also in a variety of physical science and engineering fields. Dr. Neeman’s research interests include high performance computing, scientific computing, parallel and distributed computing, structured adaptive mesh refinement, scientific visualization, Grid computing and computer science education. You can find his materials on line. He is the Education and Outreach Chair for Supercomputing 2012 in Seattle.

We embarked , engaged, energized , and educated teachers so that they could be empowered to understand the computational sciences. We had outreach materials from the Teragrid. So well put together, and such a hit with the educators.

All three of the sessions were a success. We did not have supertech people except one or two and we had about 50 people in the first workshop.


The second was the tour.My heart fell when I went to the bus, because at first I could not see it was full. We had a grand tour of TACC. I love the visualization images .

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the nation’s leading universities, an academic institution of enormous breadth and depth, with 50,000 students and 3,000 faculty. It’s an economic powerhouse that pumps more than $8.2 billion into the Texas economy each year. It ranks fifth in the world for academic citations and is the recipient of more than 400 patents. Seven of its doctoral programs rank among the top 10 in the nation.

The University of Texas’ intellectual firepower extends far beyond its classrooms and labs. In addition to ongoing research in 18 colleges and schools, the university sponsors 100 separate research units and 10 organized research units, such as the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).

TACC plays a pivotal role in the new culture of computational science at The University of Texas at Austin and is central to UT’s success as a major public research university. TACC boasts world-class resources and expertise that enable scientists and researchers to find solutions to the biggest problems facing science and society. From climate change to medical research to energy resources, traditional and renewable, advanced computing provides the tools that are critical to discovery in science and across disciplines. Faith Singer-Villalobos lead the presentation and discussion.

TACC’s education and outreach programs support their mission to enable discoveries that advance science and society through the application of advanced computing technologies. We all benefit from advanced computing in our everyday lives, from more accurate weather reports, to safer automobile designs, to smaller, lighter electronic gadgets.

TACC’s education & outreach programs introduce K-12, undergraduate and graduate students to the power of advanced computing for science, technology, computer science, engineering, and mathematics. It believes that the students are the next generation of Einsteins, Curies, and Hawkings, who will someday make breakthrough discoveries that we can’t even imagine today.

We wanted to touch the future through sharing with the teachers what the university and supercomputing had to offer.

Teachers touch the future.

Our last presentation was to identify the real 21st Century Literaraies.  about data visualization, and computational thinking, data mining and global collaborations. We were able to share partnership organizations to teachers for field experiences, National Geographic, Earthwatch, NASA , NOAA but most importantly to show ans share curriculum opportunities that were free.

and Scalable Game Design

Meanwhile San Diego is doing outreach of this kind.

Upcoming Computer Science Courses for High School and Undergraduate Students

Introduction to C++ Programming
Mondays, January 10 – March 14, 2011– 4:30pm- 6:30pm (weekly)

This class  introduces programming concepts to students, with no previous programming experience required, and will focus on learning to read and write programs in C++. The class will focus on in-class programming and participation. The course will move quickly and students are required to have access to a computer at home. The course will cover IDEs, programming basics, compilation, execution, flow control, functions, arrays, pointers, file I/O, structures and classes. Weekly homework assignments solidify understanding in preparation for a comprehensive final project.

Introduction to Programming in Python ( this already started)
Tuesdays, January 11 – March 15, 2011– 4:30pm- 6:30pm (weekly)

This course offers an introduction to computer programming via the Python programming language. Students listen to weekly explanation-demonstrations of and gain simultaneous practical experience with basic coding concepts such as calculations, string formatting/manipulation, conditional statements, iteration, file i/o, and the abstraction of functions, as well as programming style. Weekly homework assignments solidify understanding, and a final project offers the opportunity to creatively deploy the class materials. This course is designed to prepare students for the class’s final project, the creation of a computer program that generates a poem.

In our network we can identify lots of opportunities for K-12. Teragrid even features them in a booklet.

How much data is that? Check out the visual idea of it.

Much Ado About Education.. Circa 1995, So Why has it Not Happened?

Alex Repenning

What book are you reading?.. I have three on education that are catching my attention. Some of us have been talkking about preparing for the 21st Century for about 20 years.  Some of this has happened, but many people are on the digital dark road.

Time to put the Edge into Education

Revisiting Common Ground. an NIIAC Document 1995 -Why didn’t this happen?
by Bonnie Bracey Sutton
How much of this has happened? Take a look.
What are the impediments besides the lack of broadband.
I believe the lack of sufficient teacher professional development and the lack of school infrastructure are a part of the problem. Bad teachers? Who says?What about the lack of
understanding what was needed to meet the challenge of transformation?What about the slow understanding of how the world has changed with social media and the ways in which
the whole world has become internationalized? How has thinking changed about content?

Your thoughts , ideas ? What happened? Why did not a lot of this happen?

A Transformation of Learning:

Use of the NII for Education and Lifelong Learning

Bonnie Bracey <>

Today, we have a dream for a different kind of superhighway that
can save lives, create jobs and give every American young and old,
the chance for the best education available to anyone, anywhere.

I challenge you. . .to connect all of our classrooms, all of our
libraries, and all of our hospitals and clinics by the year 2000.

Vice President Al Gore, speaking to communications industry
leaders, January 11, 1994

I am a classroom teacher. I am a member of the National Information
Infrastructure Advisory Council, appointed by the President and we are
involved in sharing our documents, which we wrote and the “Common Ground”
that links the ideas that will allow Americans to see the future, using

I want to share with you scenarios of technology at work from the Office of
Technology Assessment video, the overarching themes, or Common Ground of the
National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council
and the National Institute of Standards vision for the thinking which will
take us into technology.

Education and Lifelong Learning

Communications technology is transforming the way we live by
connecting us with information and each other. The National
Information Infrastructure (NII) promises every business,
government agency, hospital, home, library, and school in the
nation access anywhere to voice, data, full-motion video, and
multimedia applications. The impact of these capabilities on
learning — for the children, for higher education students, and
for lifelong learners — will be substantial.

The way Americans teach, learn, transmit and access information
remains largely unchanged from a century ago. We find the following
conditions in American education and training:

– The textbook remains the basic unit of instruction. Absorption of
its contents tends to be the measure of educational success.

– Teachers and instructors use “chalk and talk” to convey
information. Students are often recipients of instruction rather
than active participants in learning.

– School teachers work largely in isolation from their peers.
Teachers interact with their colleagues only for a few moments each
day. Most other professionals collaborate, exchange information and
develop new skills on a daily basis.

– Although half of the nation’s school teachers use passive video
materials for instruction, only a small fraction have access to
interactive video, computer networks, or even telephones in the

– While computers are a frequent sight in America’s classrooms and
training sites, they are usually used simply as electronic
workbooks. Interactive, high performance uses of technology, such
as networked teams collaborating to solve real-world problems,
retrieving information from electronic libraries, and performing
scientific experiments in simulated environments, are all too

– “U.S. schooling is a conservative institution, which adopts new
practice and technology slowly. Highly regulated and financed from
a limited revenue base, schools serve many educational and social
purposes, subject to local consent. The use of computer technology,
with its demands on teacher professional development, physical
space, time in the instructional day, and budget … has found a
place in classroom practice and school organization slowly and
tentatively.”[note 1]

Events of the last two decades have proven that we can do better.
We have found that most American children are capable of learning
at dramatically higher levels — levels of performance we now
expect only of our best students. We have learned this from
research in cognitive science, from the educational achievements of
other countries, and from pioneering efforts in our own schools.
Moreover, after 35 years of research, we have found that technology
can be the key to higher levels of achievement.[note 2]

Similarly, in the American workplace we have found that workers can
achieve levels of productivity and quality equal to the best in the
world.[note 3] Well-educated, well-trained, motivated workers can
produce high-quality goods and services at low cost, enhance
industrial productivity and competitiveness, and sustain high
living standards. High-quality education and training payoff for
the individual whose skills are upgraded, for the company seeking
a competitive edge, and for the nation in achieving overall
productivity and competitiveness.

Our major foreign competitors place much greater emphasis on
developing and maintaining workforce skills than we do. Experienced
production workers at Japanese auto assembly plants, for example,
receive three times as much training each year as their American
counterparts. Research in our country has shown that workers who
receive formal job training are 30 percent more productive than
those who do not. Again, we have found that technology is the key
to making training accessible and affordable — especially for
small- to medium-sized firms with few resources of their own to
devote to producing and implementing the training and lifelong
learning their workers need and for workers who, on their own, are
attempting to improve their skills or transfer them to new areas of

Finally, in preparing students for the workplace, we have learned
that interactive, high performance technology can produce
immersive, real world instructional environments. These
environments can smooth longterm school-to-work transitions while
helping to meet the immediate objectives of both schools and
workplaces. Our efforts to develop this capability have been
fragmentary and shortlived at best.

A Vision for the Use of the NII

The NII, will be the vehicle for improving education and lifelong
learning throughout America in ways we now know are critically
important. Our nation will become a place where students of all
ages and abilities reach the highest standards of academic
achievement. Teachers, engineers, business managers, and all
knowledge workers will constantly be exposed to new methods, and
will collaborate and share ideas with one another.

Through the NII, students of all ages will use multimedia
electronic libraries and museums containing text, images, video,
music, simulations, and instructional software. The NII will give
teachers, students, workers, and instructors access to a great
variety of instructional resources and to each other. It will give
educators and managers new tools for improving the operations and
productivity of their institutions.

The NII will remove school walls as barriers to learning in several
ways. It will provide access to the world beyond the classroom. It
will also permit both teachers and students access to the tools of
learning and their peers — outside the classroom and outside the
typical nine to three school day. It will enable family members to
stay in contact with their children’s schools. The NII will permit
students, workers and instructors to converse with scientists,
scholars, and experts around the globe.

Workplaces will become lifelong learning environments, supporting
larger numbers of high skill, high wage jobs. Printed books made
the content of great instruction widely and inexpensively available
in the 18th Century. The interactive capabilities of the NII will
make both the content and interactions of great teaching
universally and inexpensively available in the 21st Century.

Education and Lifelong Learning Applications for the NII

The NII will provide the backbone for a lifelong learning society.
Education and training communities will better accommodate an
enormous diversity of learners in an equally diverse variety of
settings. In addition to schools and work places, interconnected,
high-performance applications will extend interactive learning to
community centers, libraries, and homes. Education, training, and
lifelong learning applications available from the NII may include:

– Multimedia interactive learning programs delivered to homes to
immigrant children and their parents to collaborate on learning
English as a second language.

– Troubleshooting and operating applications that access the
computer-assisted-design (CAD) databases used to design workplace
technology and to integrate the CAD data with instructional and
job-aiding capabilities to provide just-in-time training and
maintenance assistance.

– Comprehensive interconnectivity for students that allows them to
receive and complete assignments, collaborate with students in
distant locations on school projects, and interact with teachers
and outside experts to receive help, hints, and critiques.

– Simulated learning activities such as laboratory experiments and
archeological digs.

– Universal access interfaces for computers and telecommunications
devices for students, workers and others with disabilities to allow
access to the NII.

– Affordable, portable personal learning assistance that tap into
the NII from any location at any time and provide multimedia access
to any NII information resource.

– Immersive, realistic interactive simulations that allow emergency
teams made up of geographically dispersed members to practice
together on infrequently used procedures that may be urgently
needed to meet local exigencies.

The Educational Benefits of Technology

Evidence from research, schools, and workplaces around the country
tells us that communications technologies are powerful tools in
reaching the highest levels of educational performance.

– Students with disabilities, who previously had at best limited
access to most educational and reference materials, will have
fuller access and will have the ability to participate in the
learning experience with their peers.

– A 1993 survey of studies on the effectiveness of technology in
schools concluded that “courses for which computer-based networks
were used increased student-student and student-teacher
interaction, increased student-teacher interaction with
lower-performing students, and did not decrease the traditional
forms of communications used.”[note 4]

– Research on the costs of instruction delivered via distance
learning, videotape, teleconferencing, and computer software
indicates that savings are often achieved with no loss of
effectiveness. Distance learning vastly broadens the learning
environment, often providing teaching resources simply not
available heretofore. Technology-based methods have a positive
impact on learner motivation and frequently save instructional
time. Savings in training time produce benefits both by reducing
training costs and by shortening the time required to become and
remain productive in the workplace.

– A review of computer-based instruction used in military training
found that students reach similar levels of achievement in 30% less
time than they need using more standard approaches to
training.[note 5]

– A Congressionally mandated review covering 47 comparisons of
multimedia instruction with more conventional approaches to
instruction found time savings of 30%, improved achievement, cost
savings of 30-40%, and a direct, positive link between amount of
interactivity provided and instructional effectiveness.[note 6]

– A comparison of peer tutoring, adult tutoring, reducing class
size, increasing the length of the school day, and computer-based
instruction found computer-based instruction to be the least
expensive instructional approach for raising mathematics scores by
a given amount.[note 7]

– A landmark study of the use of technology for persons with
disabilities found that “almost three-quarters of school-age
children were able to remain in a classroom, and 45 percent were
able to reduce school-related services.”[note 8]

Of course, these benefits depend upon several contextual factors,
including the instructional methods used, the quality of the
applications, the availability of professional development for
educators, accessibility of instructional materials, the presence
of school technology support staff, and family involvement.[note 9]
We must learn through experience how best to ensure that the
benefits we intend to obtain from NII-based applications become
routinely realized in practice.

Telecommunications networks provide a range of resources to
students and educators that were never before available or
affordable. Students and workers can now gain access to mentoring,
advice, and assistance from scientists, engineers, researchers,
business leaders, technicians, and local experts around the globe
through the Internet, using a level of access and connectivity that
was previously unimaginable. High school students in West
Virginia, for example, can now study Russian via satellite and
telephone with a teacher hundreds of miles away. Few West Virginia
school districts could afford to offer such a course any other way.
Less well understood are changes in the types of learning that
occur with the use of certain technologies. Current evidence
suggests that some technology applications are more effective than
traditional instructional methods in building complex problem
solving capabilities for synthesizing information and in improving
writing quality. The effects are achieved in part by permitting
alternate methods of “reaching” and motivating learners.

The Administration’s National Information Infrastructure initiative
can trigger a transformation of education, training, and lifelong
learning by making new tools available to educators, instructors,
students, and workers and help them reach dramatically higher
levels of performance and productivity. The impact of this
transformation in teaching and learning is in-estimable, but
clearly enormous. Knowledge drives today’s global marketplace. The
NII will permit us to take learning beyond the limitations of
traditional school buildings. It will take our educators and
learners to worldwide resources. Learning will be our way of life.

PART II: Where Are We Now?

Today, compelling teaching and learning applications are the
exception, not the rule. Several federal agencies provide services
that meet specific, focused needs, while hundreds of state and
local networks and private service providers have begun to address
the technology needs of education. Current uses, while expanding
rapidly, reach only a small number of technologically-literate
school communities.

Current application of NII capabilities to work place training is
more extensive and technologically advanced than educational
applications, yet it lags well behind what is needed and available.
The story of workplace training seems to be a case of the haves
receiving more and the have-nots remaining neglected. Small firms,
those with 100 employees or less, provide about 35 percent of total
U.S. employment, but they lack the expertise to provide in-house
training, the resources to pay for outside training, and sufficient
numbers of people who need training at any one time to justify
focused training efforts. Larger firms are more likely to provide
training than smaller ones, but the training they provide is mostly
limited to college-educated technicians and managers. The lower the
level of skills possessed, the less likely the worker is to receive
training from any source. Transportable, quality controlled
training and lifelong learning could be made readily and
inexpensively accessible using the NII and will have a major impact
on improving worker skills and workplace productivity.

While much remains to be done, the opportunities offered by the NII
put many of the needed capabilities within reach of schools, homes,
and the workplace.

Current Uses of Telecommunications for Education

The existing telecommunications infrastructure is composed of
telephone, broadcast, cable, and electronic networks. It is used
for education, training, and lifelong learning in five basic ways:
1) instructing with video; 2) gathering information from remote
libraries and databases; 3) communicating using two-way
asynchronous capabilities such as e-mail and information bulletin
boards; 4) distance learning; and 5) electronic transfer of
instructional software and simulations.

– Instructional video. Seventy-five percent of America’s schools
have cable television, and half of its teachers use video material
in their courses.[note 10] The Stars Schools program is reaching
200,000 students in 48 states with advanced placement courses in
mathematics, science, and foreign language instruction using fiber
optics, computers, and satellites.[note 11] Cassette videotapes
for instruction are widely used in schools and work places, and the
development of these videotapes for both education and training has
become a vigorous industry.

– Information collection. This activity includes location and
retrieval of documents such as lesson plans and research reports,
but it also includes newer data sources such as CAD databases for
workplace technologies and equipment, and multimedia information
retrieval from digital libraries that can be accessed by students,
workers, or people in homes, libraries, and museums. Over 60,000
electronic bulletin boards are used by more than 12 million
Americans every day.[note 12] The annual rate of Gopher traffic on
the Internet, which directly represents an effort to use NII
facilities to gather information, is growing at an annual rate of
approximately 1000%[note 13] The Department of Education has a
Gopher server which points to or contains educational research
information, such as the AskERIC service and information from
sources such as CNN, Academy One, and the Educational Testing
Service. NASA Spacelink makes lesson plans on space flight and
related science topics available on the Internet.

– Two-way communication. This includes communication via electronic
mail and conferencing among teachers, students, workers, mentors,
technicians, and subject matter experts of every sort.
Approximately one-quarter of the teachers in Texas regularly sign
on to the Texas Education Network, or TENET, to share information,
exchange mail, and find resources. A professor at Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University teaches a writing course
entirely online. Students swap writing projects and discuss their
assignments online. In the workplace, electronic mail is used by
more than 12 million workers, increasing to over 27 million workers
by 1995. Just less than a sixth of U.S. homes now have at least one
computer connected to a modem, and this percentage is growing
rapidly. As of July, 1993, there were four Internet hosts for
every 1000 people in the United States. There are now 60 countries
on the Internet. About 137 countries can now be reached by
electronic mail.[note 15]

– Distance learning.
Hundreds of thousands of students in schools,
community colleges, and universities now take courses via one-and
two-way video and two-way audio communication. In South Carolina,
high school students across the state study with a teacher of
Russia based in Columbia through South Carolina Educational
Television. Boise State University offers a masters degree program
conducted entirely over networked computers to students all over
the country. The Department of Defense is investing well over $1
billion in the development and implementation of networked
distributed interactive simulation. This technology, which allows
dispersed learners to engage in collaborative problem solving
activities in real time, is now ready for transfer to schools and
workplaces outside of the defense sector.

– Transfer of instructional software and simulations. Instructional
programs, simulations, materials, and databases can all be accessed
over the NII and delivered to schools, homes, libraries, and
workplaces wherever and whenever it is desirable to do so.
Currently, there are massive exchanges of software, databases, and
files using the Internet, but relatively little of this activity
occurs in the service of education, training, and lifelong

Nonetheless, compelling applications that will become indispensable
to teachers, students, and workers are not yet available. All the
capabilities of computer-based instruction and multimedia
instruction can be distributed using NII facilities to schools,
workplaces, homes, libraries, museums, community centers, store
fronts — wherever and whenever people wish to learn. Yet the
infrastructure and applications to support this level of
accessibility for education, training, and lifelong learning uses
have yet to be developed. Until compelling applications are
available, educations will not realize the potential of the NII.

Efforts to Build the NII for Education and Lifelong Learning: Roles
of the Private, Nonprofit, and Public Sectors

Successful implementation of the NII to serve the nation’s
education and lifelong learning needs will require significant
contributions by the private sector, state and local governments,


D. Lewis and E. McCracken, Common Ground: Fundamental Principles for the
National Information Infrastructure, NIIAC,
March 1995.(

A new book by Milton Chen of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, picks up the discussion.

Where are we now?

Since information is no longer bounded by time and space, and I know you are all savvy digerati who get all your information from the Internet, you can listen to the live stream or archive at this link, where you’ll also see info on how to call in or send an email during the show:

For more info about the book and a short video of me introducing it on

Now that we’re into a new school year, it’s time to put “the edge into education”!