When ComputED published its first Gazette, there were few computers in homes, and parents were concerned about their children having enough computer-based activities. According to recent groundbreaking studies, parents now aren't concerned enough! More about this later.

     First, we'd like to congratulate all the winners of the
EDDIES 2000 Awards (see the complete list). Many entries showed a sophistication and depth not found in earlier software. We rarely find a "Best of the Best," (see our review) but this year the judges were unanimous:
American Memory: Primary Sources [Classroom Connect (800) 638-1639] was just that rare a find. In collaboration with the Library of Congress, Classroom Connect has produced what many of us in educational technology have been waiting for - a program which connects the World Wide Web and its vast resources with the classroom in a dynamic and exciting way. The authentic documents, provided by the Library of Congress, are arranged thematically (Power, Identity, Culture and Environment), with links to fascinating information, covering everything from the Declaration of Independence to President Clinton's Inaugural Address. It is truly a landmark product. Also among the winners are Edmark's [(800) 426-0856] new thematic programs, Talking Walls and Theme Weavers - Animals; SAS in School [SAS (888) 760-2515]; and Destination Math [Riverdeep (800) 564-2587]. Of course, there's something special about each of the winning titles, and we encourage our readers to seek them out.

     Now, about that study: The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a study which found that 69% of children in the US had access to a computer at home, but only 40% used them. With 80% of all new jobs in the next ten years requiring computer skills, this should be of real concern to parents and educators. The so-called "Digital Divide" is actually wider than it was seven years ago - especially among minorities and girls. In our test lab (a small public school with about 75 students, mostly Latino), we see high school students who have no idea how to use a wordprocessor or even turn on the CPU. This issue needs to be addressed by school boards, governing bodies and, yes, parents. Without computer skills, the work force is paid minimum wage and wears a paper hat!

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