Digital TV

Reviewing the Free Preview of the digital TV channels.
In a wild attempt to sell more TV services the local cable companies have started a free preview month. This is going all during January. See .

While this gives me a chance to see whether I was right in canceling a number of channels, it hasn’t done much else for me. I used to watch TechTV on a regular basis with shows like The Screen Savers and Call for Help but when the US service was consolidated in Canada as G4TechTV. The channel became largely a gaming channel. nav_01.jpg I still subscribe to BBC world service (news) because there is nothing that really replaces the level of reporting you get from the BBC. bbc_logo.gif

Once I got past those there are some other interesting channels but it is hard to pay $2.50 a channel for something you watch once or twice a week.

The bigger issues is that most of these ‘specialty’ channels spend a lot of time replaying shows that are also on the main channels. In some cases you can understand the concepts of re-runs or even ‘retro’ shows on specialty channels. But these channels seem to do a repeat of the same episode that was on the main channels a couple of days before. So shows like NCIS show on Tuesday and are repeated on the Mystery channel three days later.

So while the cable company is trying to sell me last weeks TV, a week later, I am still trying to get the most out of my HD-home theatre.

Currently Shaw provides 6 HD channels. 3 Major networks plus PBS. There is also a ‘HD’ Channel, that largely repeats what is on the other 4 channels. The last channel is an HD movie channel which you can only see if you pay for the other 5 non-HD movie channels. None of the Canadian channels broadcasting in HD are available on Shaw. So I would have paid to see the World Junior Hockey in HD, even if it was a Pay per view event.

So a bunch of replays on the high end ‘digital’ TV and not much in HDTV.

I was spoiled by 2 years of a US satellite service (DirectTV). That got me hooked with TechTV but also HBO and Showtime. There were also a number of specialty channels but they had the value of developing original or unique programming.

That is not happening on the Canadian Specialty channels.

So much for Not So Great TV.

New Years day in Review

For me, New Years Day is more fun than New Years Eve. Here in Victoria there is a well established tradition of New Year’s Leves.
The major event is at Government House, where you can go meet the Lt Governor . Details of that and the Leves are available here . They generally involve meeting your government, have some free food and coffee and conduct the more socially acceptable version of a bar crawl, as you go from site to site.

Here are some of the ones from this year.

HMCS Malahat: 9-10am, combined messes levee, Wardroom, 20 Huron St.
City of Victoria: 9-10:30am, City Hall (upstairs), 1 Centennial Sq.
Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s): 10-11am, Officer’s Mess, Bay Street Armoury, Field St. off Douglas.
5 (B.C.) Field Regiment RCA: 10-11am, Officer’s Mess, Bay St. Armoury, Field St. off Douglas.
Saanich: 10am-noon, Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave.
Victoria Field Ambulance: 11am-noon, 741 Communications Squadron and 11 Medical Company Victoria, Combined Officer’s Mess. Lt.-Gen. Ashton Armoury, 724 Vanalman Rd.
Langford: 1:30-3pm, City of Langford, 877 Goldstream Ave.
Esquimalt: 1-2pm, Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St.
North Saanich: 2:30-4:30pm, Municipal Hall, 1620 Mills Rd.
Oak Bay: 3-4:30 p .m., Garry Oak Room, Monterey Senior’s Centre, 1442 Monterey Ave.
Royal Canadian Legion: 2pm, Esquimalt Dockyard Branch 172, 622 Admirals Rd.
Maritime Museum: 11am-3pm, 28 Bastion Square.

Welcome to My Site

Welcome to my Site. This will hold my personal content on various isssues.

With all the great Web 2.0 tools my content has been splashed at various sites include .Mac, Bloglines, Flickr, So I am hoping to get is all tied together here.

With all the great Web 2.0 tools my content has been splashed at various sites include .Mac, Bloglines, Flickr, So I am hoping to get is all tied together here.

NCCE ‘99 Notes Northwest Council for Computer Education, March 17-20,1999

Preceedings availible at

  • Ian Jukes

    Handout at

    • In planning for technology we filtering ideas through
      personal mind set. Expodential growth of technology a problem
      but not the Issue. Headgear lags behind hardware. Technology
      forces change in the way we do things.
    • eg: Moores Law Power 2x and price-30% in 18 mo.
    • In the first 10,000 years almost no change, in the last 50
      years explosive change and it’s not over yet. We can not
      be using old mind sets on new technology. Or view new
      technology as an extension of old technology.
    • What does the future hold.

      -Growth will continue by 2010- a PC will have 1TB HD 8 GHz
      processor 32GB RAM and cost $14

    • Web trends
      • In 1993 no WWW
      • Now 100 million Users
      • By 2000 400million
      • Internet is doubling every 120 days
    • Time to 50 milion Users;
      • telephone.. ~ 41 yrs,
      • Tv 38 yrs,
      • Internet email 3yrs
  • Jennifer James Notes at:

    • Excellent Keynote similar to the one she gave at NECC in
      Seattle in ‘97.
  • WWW Servers for transfering Student data.

    Jill Hanson Sierra Systems

    • EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) system for K-12 Piloted
      in washington state (among others).
    • Intelligent Server that could take specific record file and
      Convert it standard form for dilivery to other school.
    • Washington state EDI Pilot “Charlotte” servers. Exchanges
      between all school systems (macschool, sasi, etc) and Colleges
      (Peoplesoft Student info system).
    • This uses a international standard ANSI x.12 EDI standard.
      The final result will also support XML.
    • Servers use Netscape EC expert.
  • Creating a District Internet Proxy Cache and Filtering system
    – Dave Scott

    Handout at

    • Two proxies Safe Proxy for K-7 that only allows access to a
      specific list of sites. No password or logon required.
    • Filtering Proxy for 8-12 and staff using a filter list
    • The users can surf the intranet without using proxy. Once
      they hit the internet they are requried to athenticate.
    • LDAP server Provides link between IP address and user name.
      Log recorded by user name.
    • Surfwatch of allowable sites for k-7.
    • 8-12 Netscape proxy + Cyber patrol.
    • LDAP Server reacts with Proxy for Name to Slte log.
    • Future plans for proxy and DNS. A local level would be
      better than current district DNS.
    • Local proxies would also improve performance.
  • Learning Space

    www.learningspace. org

    • This is a consortium effort in Washington State to share
      information on planning, instruction, and support of
  • Tom Snyder
    • Intro: Educaitonal Theory Vigotski-“all learning in
      social”. Storytelling is a fundemental social interaction.
    • Schools could be the last vestiage of Coming Together.
    • What if one of the unitended consequences of technology is
      to reduce conversation?
    • To avoid the shock of rapid change to educaiton we need to
      know “How to do it Gently?”
    • Computer Literacy Is not literacy. The word ‘literacy’
      implies a fundemental urgency that is not necessarily
    • The word ‘interactivity’ is only function of education. It
      doesn’t get used in other places. Interaction = ” l don’t want
      a relationship with my WP.”
    • Interaction is intended to let students learn rather than
      having them taught. By letting students Choose their own path
      They might just end up running amuck. Interaction seems to
      involve clicking as fast as possible through a set of links
      with little or no commitment to the information that is being
    • The best Interactive software is about 1/100 as good as the
      worst relationship you can have with a cat!
    • Reference to the “The great geography Scare” – every 7
      years the Geography curriculum gets redone to solve the problem
      of students not finding their own state on a map.
    • Results: The answer to bad teaching and schools is not
      technology; it is better teachers and better schools.
  • SearchEngine Mini session

    Analisa Massanari

  • Linux Session

    • Server Services
      • DCHP,
      • apache (www),
      • CGI PERL,
      • Proxy,Nettalk (appletalk),
      • window Print and File Services (Samba)
    • Deskop
      • Commercial and free solutions availible
      • Wordperfect and Staroffice, Free to individuals, Cost to
    •– Source for cheap CDs of Linux releases
    • List of K12 Linux Resources

    Back To Pro D Page

Bill Kempthorne <> c1999 Web

Bill’s Notes From NECC ’97


Monday – Bill Gates

Three Microsoft Examples.
  • New York- Mott Hall, Office & Notebook computer available
    100% of the time.
  • Jackson Hole WY Certified Education Program (AATP) for NT and
    95 Program at High school
  • Blacksburg VA “Most connected Community” Linking schools to
    community including Elementary Children to Pensioners

Tuesday – Keynote

Pre keynote announcements: Student Technology Leaders

Info available at

Plan for Cyberfair 98, Community day In October

Chris Held Bellvue SD

  • Philosophy = Powerful Ideas
  • Epistemology Powerful Learning
  • Pedagogy , Powerful Teaching
  • Technology Powerful Tools

‘All Things are connected”

Integrated Technology Classroom with 4:1, Kids to Computer ratio

Also includes Camcorder ,Lego-Logo, Laptops,

Wednesday – Jennifer James, Cultural Anthropologist

Author “Thinking in the future tense”

Getting computers and technology is not the major problem.

Rich Poor split is not the major problem eventually either the
disparity resolves itself or the poor defect toward anarchy.james

The gap is a behavioral.”The Truth will set you free but first
it will make you miserable” Technology can be a great equalizer
economically. Mass migration can be a destabilizer but technology
allows people to prosper where they are.

Progress is the Concentration of energy

Skills of teachers vs intelligence of teachers

Economics are the efficient Use of energy

Concurrent Sessions

NECC Wednesday’s Sessions Wed, Jul 2, 1997

Chris Dede – 10 Big Question, with some big answers

“Ten BIG QUESTIONS are dominating current discussion
about educational technology:

  • How do we pay for multimedia-capable, Internet-connected
    classroom computers for every two to three students?
  • How can my school afford enough computers and
  • How do I get my colleagues involved with educational
  • How do we move our community beyond traditional ideas about
    teaching, learning, and the role of schools?
  • How do we prove to our community that new technology-based
    models of teaching/learning are “better”?
  • If we use technology well, what should we expect as “typical”
    student performance?
  • What comes next after the World Wide Web?
  • How can educational technology increase equity rather than
    widening current gaps?
  • Where can I get external funds for innovation?
  • How can I keep up?”
How do we pay for capable computers for every 2-3 students?

– We can’t! Computers aren’t the only, Ignores fhe teacher
training needs, Ongoing costs are prohibitive

-We shouldn’t do it! Wrong model
We need more financial leverage from outside (the school)
technology and develop learning as part of living. This will
require the building community partnerships.

How can we afford enough technology? (ie; without doing
anything else)

”Enough” is a moving target

How do expenditures alter when educational technology is used

-Less textbooks

-Less data managment

-Less Reteaching

-Dillerent ratios Of student :teacher
How do we move our community beyond traditional ideas of
learning and teaching.

-3rd generation thinking

-Active collaborative

-Shared cognition

-Distributed learning
How do we Prove the new models are Better?


Motivational Evidence

Expanding range of topics

Conventional content Mastered by More, Sooner

Skills for knowledge based workplace

Higher outcomes on standardized test
What should we expect as typical student performance?

Beyond TIMSS and Similar tests, beyond dlsipliie based

Beyond new pedegody

Equity Question? Initial Widening but Ultimate Narrowing

Content and services are as Important as access and literacy.

Integrating the internet into the classroom

Four Parts
  • Equipment
  • Access
  • Connectivity
  • Training
Previous experience running a Webcamp for teachers. At the
beginning no one scored themselves below a 3 on the technology
rubric. After the course their scores went down because they
didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Three uses for the internet

Internet as a ProD tool

Teaching and learning about the Internet

Teaching and learning with the Internet

E-merging instructional practices on the Internet us/ ~black/ NECC97.html

lt’s Not the Internet its the Information

Ian Jukes

Handout At :

We Continue to focus On hardware

So the revolutioi isn’t here yet

Don’t blame a pencil if a kid can’t write

Headware not hardware

Who is this guy?

  • what is he going to do?
  • overview of Internet from different perspective
  • present and future of Internet for schools
  • outline information literacy curriculum
The Internet Revolution: Do you remember when?
  • you didn’t see gee whiz articles about the Internet in
    magazines and newspapers
  • surfing was done outdoors
  • Java was something you drank
  • the Web was a TV or a phone
  • you didn’t see “http://” written at the bottom of ads
  • you didn’t have to explain the @ sign
  • how long ago was that? 19 months
  • it has been there for some time, but it’s been flying below
    our personal radar
It’s spreading like wildfire
  • become the infrastructure for every company and industry in
  • although many just don’t know it
  • world’s largest economic sector
  • an import surpassing oil and steel
  • driving fundamental changes in business and community
  • new reality for 21st Century
What’s happening?
  • explosion in summer of 1995
  • went overnight from geekhood to coolness
  • from a special thing done by a small priesthood to public
    consciousness overnight
  • abolished distance making everywhere here
  • in ’94 there were no commercial Web sites
  • now they number in 6 figures
  • everyone’s registering domains
  • Yahoo gets 3,000 plus submissions daily
  • Web doubling every 53 days
  • this is biological growth – like red tide/lemmings
The e-mail explosion
  • 30 million messages daily
  • the equivalent of $9 million worth of first class mail
  • total volume by Post Office is up 5% since ’88
  • but business mail is down by 33% in same period
  • only stuff that goes through is at-risk mail
  • post office has become one giant piece of road kill on
    information highway
What is happening?
  • cyberspace now middle class suburb
  • this has happened in a world of $2,500 computers where using
    telecommunications is like trying to suck peanut butter up a straw
What will happen?
  • when we see $500 network computers combined with @Home cable
    modem at 10,000,000 bps
  • will the number of users go up, down, or stay same?
  • obviously it’ll go up – this in part explains Internet fever
    and the rapid stock market
Where are we heading?
  • we ain’t there yet…
  • still hearing lots of criticism
  • there are lots of problems related to slowness, security,
    under/over regulation, and potential overload
  • this shouldn’t concern us as eventually Net will handle them –
    but this takes time
  • but despite problems, a critical mass has been reached – we
    must acknowledge the sheer magnitude of an expanding base of true
Nothing but Net
  • there is controversy over how many regular users there are but
    no controversy about the fact that the Internet is coming at us
    like tidal a wave
  • it’s hard to exaggerate importance
  • it’s opening communications to masses and quickly racing
    toward full-fledged status as commercial medium
So What About Schools?

  • is it really a technological revolution?
  • since late 70’s, billions of dollars and words have been spent
  • in the 1995/96 academic year alone, tech spending in
    K&endash;12 public schools was $4 billion – twice the amount spent
    on textbooks
So what’s the problem?
  • we have endured years of hype and hope for electronic
    education, most of which has been undertaken with the very best of
  • unfortunately, the primary focus has been on tool and hardware
    du jour
  • as a result, the revolution is still not here – why?
  • we primarily focused on the tool not the application of the
    tool to curriculum
  • we can’t blame a pencil if a child can’t read or do math – and
    we can’t blame the technology for failing
  • the problem lies mainly with curriculum and teaching
  • so how does this relate to the Internet?
  • it’s déjà vu all over again!
What about the Internet?
  • 90% of classrooms in America today don’t have access
  • beyond that, classrooms are limited by the available equipment
    as only 12% of computers in schools today are capable of Graphical
    User Interface access to the Internet
  • 35-50% of schools have some access but this is usually a
    single station located in a classroom, the office or the library
  • this is like having a single pencil for the entire school and
    expecting everyone to become pencil literate
Where are we heading?

  • only 9% of classes have access (which is up from 3% in 1994)
    but this will change quickly based on trends about Internet access
    outside of education
  • but based on the trends outside of schools, let’s extrapolate
  • 5 years from now – do you think that there will be more, less,
    or the same level of access for students?
So what’s the problem then?
  • it’s not about access – this will happen
  • very few doubt the power and potential of age-appropriate tech
    to transform education
  • the problem won’t be access to computers or the Internet
  • no – the real problem is about the focus
What’s wrong?
  • instructional technology holds enormous potential for
    instruction and learning allowing access for any student in their
    native language to a world that they are very comfortable with
  • it provides opportunities to take digital field trips and
    access to world-wide resources
  • this isn’t the problem – it’s the mindset that we’re applying
    to the technology
  • we need to prepare for this new world – and we need a new
    mindset that focuses on a new curriculum and new teaching
How is it being used today?

  • for most we use a proximal learning model – we put students
    close to the technology and hope or assume that somehow they will
    learn by osmosis – unfortunately, more often than not this does
    not happen
  • the problem is that kids know more than teachers so the kids
    define the context and content
  • so where do they go? to Wrestlemania, the Scooby Doo home
    page, the NBA online, to live chat lines and to the Doom home page
So what’s the problem?
  • most schools today are little more than ISPs because students
    and teachers are using Internet services without an instructional
  • we have to ask whether this new media to be used for higher
    level learning or will it just become a new generation of
    educational Nintendo?
What skills are needed?
  • skills needed to effectively utilize Internet are little
    different than those used in a library – the only difference is
    that we have new technology, but despite this, we’re applying an
    old mindset
  • whatever the medium, users need a set of analytical skills to
    process this information – but schools have never really mastered
    teaching of information literacy
It’s not the tool, it’s the task
  • tools have no meaning without context – if I give you a
    shovel, you have no idea what the context is – but if I give you a
    shovel and tell you to dig a ditch, it has a context
  • the Internet is a great tool, but for what?
  • and this the crux of the problem – many teachers just give
    students the Internet and then get out of the way
  • this is a case of leap of faith, proximal learning!
  • as a result, we are simply replicating old problems and
    processes with new technology – now we get animated, full color
    meaningless, gratuitous information more quickly – this is not
  • for learning to take place, it must do so inside a context
The problem transcends technology
  • in the past, we gave kids an assignment on Saturn and got back
    the Encyclopedia Britannica
  • along came optical disc technology – we gave kids an
    assignment on Saturn and got back the Grolier’s Multimedia
  • now we give kids an assignment on Saturn and we get back the
  • this is simply information bulimia – they suck up the
    information and spit it out with little consideration of what it
    means – as a result, many of our students are suffering from
    intellectual and informational anorexia
  • schools think that if they’re connected, they’re doing it
What’s wrong?
  • instructional technology and Internet are being used to gather
    raw data but much of the writing and research is garbage
  • information is not knowledge; and computer literacy doesn’t
    necessarily cultivate information literacy
  • it appears that the Internet breeds a kind of intellectual
  • the ability to find and list data is no substitute for
    figuring out how to organize information
  • as a consequence, even in schools with full connections
    students can surf the Net but can’t move beyond visiting home
Geraldoization of information
  • the Internet is a wasteland of unedited data without any
    pretense of completeness – it lacks editors, reviewers, and
    critics – as a consequence it is predominantly not information,
    but noise
  • the problem is that this is not recognized by most students
    and teachers
  • this is the crux of problem – people have not been able to get
    beyond oohing and aahing about sites and suffering from terminal
  • as a consequence, we really need to shift gears… because
    it’s not the Internet, it’s the information that’s important
What is needed?

  • people need more than just raw data – they must look beyond
    the data for significance
  • what skills are needed to see significance of data?
An example
  • the Captain Picard model of problem solving
  • how and when does he use technology?
  • only when he has a task to do
  • he asks a question of the computer based on a problem
  • access to technology is transparent
  • he then analyzes the data retrieved and turns it into
  • then applies the knowledge to solve the problem
  • then assesses process_ he has undertaken
5 Stages of Information Literacy
  • Ask
  • Access
  • Analyze
  • Apply
  • Assess
Stage 1 – Ask

  • comes out of a problem
  • if you don’t have a problem, you don’t have a question
  • at this stage you are defining problem
  • problem solving fosters ownership of learning
Stage 2 – Access
  • strategies more important than tools
  • use driven by context created by questions
  • searching techniques used to locate information
  • techniques are media independent
Stage 3 – Analyze
  • how credible is the information
  • need to use the tripod model of analyzing – the stool won’t
    stand unless it has 3 legs so the information can’t be trusted
    unless there are 3 corroborating sources
  • students must be able to look at information critically
Stage 4 – Apply
  • use information to solve problem, write essay, do report,
    create graph, complete argument, make presentations
  • at this stage, you must take what you’ve got and create
  • need to submit both raw material and analysis
  • access is nothing if you can’t both analyze and apply what you
    have obtained – to do this you need both technical and conceptual
Stage 5 – Assess

  • have original goals been met?
  • what has been learned?
  • not just what has been learned but also how it was learned?
  • how could process or product be improved?
This is what the Internet needs to be about!

Information literacy

  • transcends Internet
  • applies equally well to magazines, newspapers, textbooks,
  • it’s not the tool, it’s the task
  • it’s an issue of headware not hardware
It’s not the Internet, it’s the information
  • what we have is data explosion not knowledge explosion
  • we have the best educated, least prepared generation
  • we need the tools but we can’t stop there
  • we need repeated opportunities within formal, structured
    informational context
Achieving information literacy
  • students need to work with the information resources that will
    bombard them throughout life
  • this is not just about the ability to read and regurgitate
    facts – it’s about knowing where to find facts and then how to use
  • it’s about using real-life information resources for solving
    real-world problems
  • my greatest fear is that if students view and use the Internet
    the way they view and use encyclopedias and CD-ROMs, we will
    continue to get what we’ve always got
It’s time to shift gears

  • we must move students and teachers from a quantitative to
    qualitative mindset
  • it’s not how much information they have, it’s how much
    knowledge they’ve gained
Making the shift
  • the bottom line is that it’s not what you use but how you use

NECC Tuesday’s Sessions, Tue, Jul 1, 1997

Steve Wozniak – Creativity in the Classroom

Felicia Oram – What Does Television “Edutainment” Do for the

Editor for Bill Nye (Post Production)

Collaborative Process

Tv + science + entertainment

Mission to raise science curiosity In 4-7 grade when kids
start to turn away from science.

This Is also the age where student make independent Tv

No we don’t give out t-shirts

Companion to classroom environment. 1 subject Per show + a
curriculum path for season.

Curriculum and science advisors pick 2 to 3 concepts.

Background sheets 10-12 pages. Comedy and science writers
cneate content and directors rewrite everything.

Show Organization

  • Start with tease.
  • Continuous rotation not a 1 time experience.
  • Bill Nye open
  • The Walk
  • Big demo
  • Anything short that doesn’t have Bill in it
  • Rest of Show is fast Bill and fast kids
  • “Check it out”
  • “way cool scientist”
  • ” Music video”
  • prat falls
  • see-say technigue
  • chanel surf feel, static and jump cuts
Funded by NSF, PBS, Disney

Off air rights for teachers to tape and use in classrooms

2 versions one for PBS no Commercials other from syndication
(3min off)

Syndication has Shorter tease and some other cuts.

18:1 shoot rate can be as high as 30:1

4 directors and 2nd film unit

Avid video (Mac)

Cut List made using compress low res Video Using frame index. This
is a compromise of Resolution vs Storage. 32GB barely holds 1show.
500-800 edit per show. Digital Editing can give you the temptation to
do everything. The final adjustments boost primary Colours to give
cartoon look.

Well Connected Educator- Gwen Solomon

Beyond the firewall

66% of corporations are Inside Intranets (1996 survey)

TCP/IP-Content Irrelevent

fully scallable and cross platform

Info Services

Clients – freely availible

Authoring tools-

  • Open standards
  • Ubiquitous
  • Ease of use
  • Scalable

NECC Monday’s Sessions Mon, Jun 30, 1997

Guy Kawasaki – Rules for Revolutionaries

  1. Don’t Worry be Crappy
  2. Churn baby Churn
  3. Make what you do a cause
  4. Market Share death Magnet
  5. High and to the right
  6. Let 1000 flowed bloom
  7. Eat like abird shit like an elephant
  8. Never ask people to do soneth iis you wouldn’t do
  9. Suck down n or accross but not up
  10. Never let the bozos grind you down

Back to Main Page

From The Net by Bill Kempthorne

This space is intended to bring to your attention some of the more useful things that you can find on the internet. Specifically I will be mentioning WWW sites for educational use. If you have any you think should be shared please send the address to me at <>

This months notables

The Ministry of Education has started posting Exams an Answer Keys for previous Provincial Exams (1995 only right now) under the Examination and Assessment Branch Listing of the Ministry’s Web Site. The full address is;

While I’m mentioning Ministry resources, the IRPs, ILOs, and all the other letters of the alphabet are available at the Curriculum Branches Page at;

The neatest part about this is you can save the information by using the “Save as” command under the File Menu of you Web Browser (ie: Netscape) and you have an electronic version of the curriculum that you can manipulate. I use it to create my new course outlines and for unit plans. Great Stuff!

To avoid typing all of the address you can just go to and navigate from there.

A few others worth checking out
Want to see some of the Bill Nye Science Stuff Check out his web site at
All the info from the CBC including some great Science and Current Events Programs
A rather good index to see what other schools are doing is the BC Education Server

And just for fun; If you want to see what the seats you are buying for that Canucks Game look like check out the GM Place Seating Plan at

More fun next month. All this info will be availible on my web site at

.. The end of the beginning. Schools and Internet Content Provision

The initial skirmishes in the electronic information wars have been completed. It now should be apparent to most that internetworking and the internet (TCP/IP) standards have won. Even attempts by giants such as Microsoft and Compuserve to develop and hold proprietary information systems have been lost to the wider internet movement. Now that the internet has established itself in major institutions and in growing numbers in homes, the question whether schools should access and use the internet is moot. The internet is a fact just as newspapers, video, computers, and television.
The question being asked is what will schools get from the internet. With the proliferation of internet, specifically World Wide Web (WWW), sites, there is a large question around the value of the information that is available on the free internet. The term ‘free internet’ was given meaning in a recent presentation by Jamie MacKenzie ( where he distinguished between sources that the Bellingham School District paid to access using internet tools and the general WWW. The value of the free internet is minimal in many education situations because of the difficulty for students to easily find relevant information using the search tools generally available. In most case preresearch is necessary so that the internet information can be retrieved expeditiously. This may be done by the student but in many cases this will be job of the teacher. This is a keen problem in schools that have limited bandwidth internet connections. In these cases the limited access has to be shared by many giving little time to develop information by exploration and discovery.
Starting Points
The ability of teachers to develop starting point pages on the internet that their students can go to and have direct access to relevant information is one answer to how to use the internet. By making the starting points part of the internet, students can access it from school or home. In many schools, home internet access is the only place for students to do indepth research. This also frees up the school resource for use by students that don’t have home access. With the initial starting points there will be need for elaboration and guidance. With one very small step, the school and the teacher move from internet users to internet content providers. This aspect of the internet could be more powerful for schools than any of the information currently available on the free internet.
Schools are in a unique position in their communities. In urban areas elementary and secondary school names are the major landmarks of what used to be an autonomous community. In newer areas, the positioning of schools define the community that will grow up round them. This ability of a school to define a community need not be limited to symbology of name. In the development on any aspect of human communications their have been standard bearers that show the potential of the genre. The rhetoric of Plato, the poetry of Keats, the oratory of Churchill, the films of Kapra, or the electronic journalism of Cronkite have served to define the role of the method.
Schools can be the standard bearers of their communities into the information age. For the most part schools operate independent of the profit motivations of business interests and lack the political aspects of governments. Public schools still represent a cross section of interests, biases, economic levels, and political ideas. While no institution can be bias-free, schools have the potential for equal representation.
Schools can bring to the internet aspects of the community from mundane tourist information to profound questions of public interest. The ease of this role is apparent if we consider that this is what we do already. In classrooms everywhere, questions are asked and answered about art, science, geography, economics, and history. The value in the past has only extended to the classroom wall or the fridge door at home. Whether it is the health of the local salmon stream or the history of a local heritage building, the ability to display the work of students and teachers in a broader forum is a valuable information source for our communities. This has to be done with a mind to the privacy and property of the creators of this information but in most cases these are easy to accomplish with the correct level of forethought.
This brings us to the point where schools will not simply use the internet but be major contributors to it. This will happen for four very good reasons. It makes sense for the school because it shows people in a concrete way what happens on a daily basis behind the walls of their local school. It makes sense for the community because it develops interest and gives identity on a large scale. It makes sense for the students because it helps show them and others that what they do has value beyond the mark at the bottom of the page. It makes sense for teachers because it moves them along the road to creating meaning for their students.
So if the first skirmish of the information age is over have no fear, there will be more. The best we can say, in the spirit of past standard bearers of human discourse; “It is not the beginning of the end but it may, in fact, be the end of the beginning”

Bill Kempthorne ( is the Physics Teacher at Chilliwack Senior Secondary (  in Chilliwack, B.C.