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Our Task: Seizing the Opportunity
by Ferdi Serim, Editor, MultiMedia Schools
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Information we'll need to provide your local decision-maker with a copy of March/April MMS:

Your Name

Your School

Address (City, State, ZIP)

Phone

E-mail

Name of Person to receive MMS

Congressional District

Position (Senator, Representative, Education Staffer)

Address (City, State, ZIP)

Phone

E-mail

Please e-mail this information to me, ferdi@infotoday.com or fill out and submit the form on our Web site, http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools/promise.html.

We are about to enter a new season, both physically and culturally. While the changes spring will bring are assured, the transition from a nation divided by partisanship into a nation united in common cause is less certain. However, as new leaders take the reins in Washington, DC, and in statehouses across the nation, their understanding of education as a top priority crosses political and philosophical lines. These leaders are now faced with the challenge of acting on their promises to improve our education system. Whether they realize it yet or not, they need our help. This is an opportunity we must not let slip by.

One of the first influences on their thinking has been the release of a powerful report, "From Promise to Practice," from the Web-Based Education Commission, which spent a year examining the role of the Internet in improving education. The recommendations from this report, as well as the call to action they represent, provide us with more than a cover story for MultiMedia Schools Magazine—they form a blueprint for galvanizing public support for extending these benefits to all the students and communities we serve.

The Commission has done an exemplary job of gathering input from a diverse cross-section of our nation and capturing the essential issues. The Commission has articulated the "promise of the Internet":

In a rare moment, what is needed by decision-makers, community members, and parents alike is a vision that can only be informed by our daily perspective.

Only by experiencing and sharing the real-life transformations we see in our classrooms can people understand what is possible, what it takes to get there, and what they must demand and support if all learners are to enjoy these benefits.

The report notes, "Those who work with the technology that supports access must have the skill and understanding to apply it well. If the user—whether teacher or learner, parent or administrator—does not know how to work with technology or where to go on the Internet to find material of value, that learner does not have real access to what the Internet offers." Clearly, how these goals translate into individual needs at the local level is a story that only we can tell. For once, people are poised to listen.

For a change, we don't need to take on any additional aspects of saving the world. All we need to do is invite these people into our world, inform them of our needs, and engage them as partners. MultiMedia Schools Magazine is prepared to help in a practical way. We will provide a copy of this March/April issue for any of our readers who are willing to invite a local representative into their school to see Information Literacy in action, or to experience the results of students as knowledge builders. Our thought is that by building this personal bridge between decision-makers and you (as a representative of the new worlds of learning unfolding in your school), a deeper understanding of what's required can shape the deliberations that will happen at the local, state, and national levels.

Each member of Congress maintains a local office. Each member also has a particular staffer whose focus is education. If you identify this person, introduce yourself, and invite this staffer to share your students' experience, you can offer a copy of MMS as a way to begin the conversations that will help translate the global lessons of the Commission's report into practical actions that your community can support.

Please consider this course of action, and either e-mail me the information, or visit the MMS Web site and fill out a form. We will see that a properly addressed copy of our March/April issue is sent to the appropriate person with a letter of explanation. Together, we can enter a new season for learning!
 
 

Communications to the author may be addressed to: Ferdi Serim, MultiMedia Schools, 11 Palacio Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505; 505/466-1901; fax: 505/466-1901; ferdi@infotoday.com.
 

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