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December 1, 2003
Vol. 61
No. 4

ASCD Community in Action

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The Communication Age: The 1990s and ASCD

Today, computer technology touches every aspect of our lives, affecting the way we learn, work, shop, and share information. It's difficult to remember that at the beginning of the 1990s, most people had never heard of the Internet.
Hyperlink and HTML became publicly available in 1992, making the World Wide Web possible. A year later, fewer than 200 Web sites existed (Kantor, 2003), but by 2001, 30 million Web sites encircled the globe (Wright, 2002).
ASCD recognized early on that new information technologies would transform its member services and communications. The association's Technology Futures Commission, comprising a cross section of ASCD staff members, representatives of the board of directors, and selected technology futurists, released a report in 1995 recommending that ASCD use technology to create “communities of inquiry”; provide equitable access to information; increase productivity and the quality of services; provide programs, products, and services in a timely manner; and extend ASCD's influence (ASCD, 1996). In 1996, ASCD launched its first Web site. (Visit http://web.archive.org/web/*sa_/http://www.ascd.org to view the original site.)
ASCD also wanted to help school leaders use the new information technologies to improve teaching and learning. Educational Leadership's April 1994 theme, “Realizing the Promise of Technology,” contained several articles pointing out that schools lagged far behind the rest of society in using computers and related technology. David Thornburg stated, “Many schools have barely entered the Information Age” (Betts, 1994, p. 20). Kyle L. Peck and Denise Dorricott complained that “businesses have been building electronic highways while education has been creating an electronic dirt road” (1994, p. 11). Articles in the issue covered many emerging applications of technology, from laser videodiscs to microcomputer-based labs. The Web, however, was not yet in the picture.
Just 18 months later, articles in the theme issue “How Technology Is Transforming Teaching” described how students were using the Web for research, sending e-mails to people in other countries, consulting CD-ROMs for information, and preparing multimedia reports. But in the issue overview, Ron Brandt (1995) acknowledged that only a “few teachers in a relatively small number of schools possess the equipment and knowledge to have their students do the sorts of things described in this issue.” And he identified a problem that persists today: “If technology is used simply to automate traditional models of teaching and learning, then it will have very little impact” (p. 5).
Throughout the decade, Educational Leadership themes revisited the topic of technology many times, tracking the latest developments and the evolving concerns of educators—from debating the merits and perils of wiring schools and creating school Web pages (November 1996) to shopping for technology and providing professional development for teachers (November 1997) to integrating technology into the curriculum (February 1999).
Although we now take computers and online connections for granted in public schools, the question still remains: Is this technology transforming and improving education? As Tom March's article in this issue (p. 42) shows, we now know much more about how to use the Internet to provide rich, authentic learning experiences for students. The ongoing information revolution will shape the future of schools—and ASCD members will continue to lead the way.
This concludes the series celebrating ASCD's 60th anniversary.
<BIBLIST> <HEAD>References</HEAD> <CITATION> ASCD. (1996). The executive director's 1995 annual report. Alexandria, VA: Author. </CITATION> <CITATION> Betts, F. (1994). On the birth of the communication age: A conversation with David Thornburg. Educational Leadership, 51(7), 20–23. </CITATION> <CITATION> Brandt, R. (1995). Future shock is here. Educational Leadership, 53(2), 5. </CITATION> <CITATION> Kantor, P. L. (2003). Internet history [Online]. Available:http://academ.hvcc.edu/~kantopet/misc/index.php?page=net+history </CITATION> <CITATION> Peck, K. L., &amp; Dorricott, D. (1994). Why use technology? Educational Leadership, 51(7), 11–14. </CITATION> <CITATION> Wright, J. W. (Ed.). (2002). Growth of the Web. In The New York Times Almanac, 2003 (p. 806). New York: Penguin Reference Books. </CITATION> </BIBLIST>
—Information compiled by Deborah Perkins-Gough, David Snyder, and Ben Licciardi

Write a Book for ASCD

Through ASCD publications, educators discuss the most significant ideas in the field of education. If you would like ASCD to consider publishing a book that you have written or plan to write, send a book proposal and sample chapters to Scott Willis, Director of Book Acquisitions, ASCD, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311-1714 USA. For more detailed information, visit www.ascd.org/readingroom/books/authorguide.html.

A Special Report on No Child Left Behind

The ASCD SmartBrief Special Report helps educators keep pace with the No Child Left Behind Act. It features tips and resources that administrators and teachers need to address such issues as federal testing, accountability, and teacher quality. For a free copy of the inaugural report, please contact Christy Guilfoyle atcguilfoyle@ascd.org. To sign up for SmartBrief, visitwww.smartbrief.com/ascd.

ASCD—A Great Place to Work

The November 2003 issue of Washingtonian magazine named ASCD as one of 50 Great Places to Work in the Washington, D.C., area. The magazine highlighted ASCD's mission, staff, benefits, stability, employee development, and community involvement, especially its dedication to volunteering in the community and its display of artwork throughout the building, much of it donated by ASCD affiliates. The Washingtonian conducted surveys, office visits, and research to select and celebrate the best of the region's employers in terms of workplace culture, quality of work life, and employee benefits.

From New Mexico, Tracks to the Future

ASCD's New Mexico affiliate has recently published Tracks to the Future: Integrating Technology into Today's Schools. Edited by Elwyn C. Hulett, Chris Milyard, Judith Tanner, and Patricia Miller, it features a chapter by Alan November and explores such topics as how to use technology for professional development and how to incorporate technology into the curriculum and classroom. To order the book, contact Sheila Hartman; (505) 546-8841, ext. 1014;sheila.hartman@demingps.org.

Resources for New Needs, New Curriculum

  • Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide. (2003). By Judith Lessow-Hurley. Price: $13.95 (member); $16.95 (nonmember). Stock No. 102043.
  • The Respectful School: How Educators and Students Can Conquer Hate and Harassment. (2003). By Stephen L. Wessler with William Preble. Price: $18.95 (member); $23.95 (nonmember). Stock No. 103006.
  • Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn. (2002). By Lynell Burmark. A SNAP Gold Award Winner. Price: $18.95 (member); $22.95 (nonmember). Stock No. 101226.
  • Maximizing Learning for English Language Learners. (2003). Three 35-minute videos with a Facilitator's Guide. Price: $440 (member); $540 (nonmember). Stock No. 403326.
  • Reading Strategies for the Content Areas. (2003). By Sue Beers and Lou Howell. 84 research-based Reading Tools in a 396-page three-ring binder. Price: $99 (member); $119 (nonmember). Stock No. 703109.
  • Educational Leadership. (2002, November). “Reading and Writing in the Content Areas.” Price: $6 (individual copy). Stock No. 102307.
On the ASCD Web Site - New Education Topic - Environmental education is the latest addition to the Education Topics section of ASCD's Web site. Education Topics are short multimedia lessons that explore such issues as standards, differentiated instruction, problem-based learning, multiple intelligences, and school culture and climate. Go to www.ascd.org and click Education Topics.

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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