> On a related topic, when the NCTM list came back up, reference was made > to news groups on math ed. We don't have the capability to access news > groups. Annie mentioned that there might be a way we could access these > lists through an alternative route. Any ideas on this? > There are numerous networks you can access with a modem that have nothing to do with the Internet. Long before educators in Texas were given Internet access, some of us were using the Educator Echo (an international newsgroup) of Fidonet to communicate. After several years, some of us decided it would be nice to start our own network for teachers and students--we started the K12 Network in 1990. The K12 Network is available through Fidonet nodes. Since approximately 35,000 Fidonet nodes exist worldwide, there is a good chance there is one near you.
A lot of people using the Internet today have less than two years experience using modems and telecommunications. Some of us "old timers" have been doing computer modem communications for 10 to 15 years. Generally, we grew up on smaller systems and networks that are not considered part of the "Information Super Highway." The populist networks are more like "Information Streets, Avenues, Roads, and Alleys." Yet, these little networks provide a very viable niche for a lot of people--particularly for educators on small budgets. And, recently, some of the newsgroups from the K12 Network, such as the mathematics echo (K12.Math), have begun to be gated into the Internet in order to extend their reach. This may be the newsgroup to which you referred. There are teachers (professors) participating in the K12 Math echo that would really love to be here in the NCTM list, but who don't have Internet access, and there are folks here in the NCTM list that have excellent contributions that would be welcome in the K12 Math forum. Many novice modem users are unfamiliar with all the different sizes, specialties, and "flavors" that exist in cyberspace--not to mention all the people out there that are so close, and yet so far away.
I surf and lurk on a lot of different nets and usually pop in when I think the words may be beneficial to the discussion or the general edification of the cyber citizens. So, to answer your query, there are lots of alternatives and it's probably worth the time and effort to explore outside the Super Highway. Take an off-ramp and check out some of the smaller nets on the cyber-side-streets. You might even find some children who want to talk about counting, calculators, patterns, or who knows what!
Ken Blystone, Educational Technologist Ysleta Independent School District 9600 Sims El Paso, Texas 79925 Voice: 915-595-5676 Fax: 915-595-5930 Data1: 915-590-5476 (The CyberSchool System) Data2: 915-598-1987 (The K12 Network/Internet Link) Data3: 915-595-6806 (Ysleta Educational Telecommunications)