Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz/Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
(530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824)
home page:

15 March 2000 [1]

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This presentation draws upon specific ideas & information made in earlier papers (listed immediately below in reverse chronological order) and it does incorporate some new ideas & information for the current audience/reader.'98_Millennium_Paper.html 



"The net is so vast and is growing so rapidly that each person's experience with it can only be a tiny sample of the whole. This is one reason it is so enchanting: you just never know what you will find when you click the mouse and explore a new location. It may also contribute to the diversity of opinions about the net's value in our lives and to society in general. Each of us partakes of different Internet niches, and our experiences can leave us with markedly different views [stress added]." Patricia Wallace, 1999, The Psychology of the Internet (Cambridge University Press), page 233.

Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), an anthropologist of some note (and once a Trustee of the University of California System), wrote that the "unit of survival [or adaptation I add] is organism plus environment" [stress added] (Steps To An Ecology of Mind, 1972, page 483) and this phrase has stuck with me for more than a quarter-of-a-century. I strongly argue that if we, as individuals (and as a collective), are to survive we must (a) be aware of and (b) adapt to the ever-changing electronic world around us by applying all of the most appropriate technologies to all classroom situations. This must occur from (and through) K-12 as well as Undergraduate and Graduate programs. We must be open-minded and we must adapt or we shall perish. As Charles Darwin (1809-1882) once wrote, borrowing from the eminent sociologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), there is such a thing as "survival of the fittest" and as an anthropologist looking at education and technology, I find (and often see) an organic (and clearly Darwinian) metaphor applied to changes in education, and (as stated above) "you ain't seen nothing yet!"



"The average person now changes jobs 8.6 times between the ages of 18 and 32, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Such upheavals in the labor market have forced colleges to adapt....[stress added]." (Emily Bazar, 1999, Number of Students Over 40 Soaring At College Campuses. The Sacramento Bee, August 24, 1999, pages 1 and page A10, page 1.

"You are what you know. ...Today we live according to the latest version of how the universe functions. This view affects our behaviour and thought, just as previous versions affected those who lived with them. ...At any time in the past, people have held a view of the way the universe works which was for them similarly definitive, whether it was based on myths or research. And at any time, that view they held was sooner or later altered by changes in the body of knowledge" [stress added]. (James Burke, 1985, The Day The Universe Changed, page 9)

To the words of James Burke I add the following: you are also what you don't know! Your ignorance (as well as mine) contributes to your actions and attitudes about the things you do know about. Universities must change because K-12 education is changing: in 1999 some 13,064 Senior High Schools in this country had network connections, up from 12,853 network connections in 1998, which was up from 9,565 network connections in 1997 (The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2000 edition, page 247). This same network "growth rate" is evident for the Elementary Schools and Junior High Schools over the same time period and MODEM-usage and CD-ROM usage in K-12 schools is also (understandably) increasing. (Please see for some earlier information.)

In a chapter entitled "American Higher Education at the Dawn of a New Millennium" (in John S. Brubacher and Willis Rudy's 1997 publication entitled Higher Education in Transition: A History of American Colleges and Universities, pages 412-422), the authors cite the 1989 words of the then President of Harvard University, Derek Bok: "media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition [page 416]" (citing The Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 1989, page 13). While that may have been true in 1989, the "truck" that delivers information to our K-12 schools has greatly changed and the media are now well beyond "mere vehicles" and the "diet" of K-12 education and information that our potential students receive via television and the World Wide Web (and higher education) has changed and is constantly changing. Just as K-12 schools will change so will institutions of higher education change:

"Colleges will not, of course, disappear--but over time they will be dramatically altered in nature as students and professors adopt cyberspace as their primary window into the laboratory of life. The distinctions between academic and applied research will become blurred as academic and commercial researchers begin to tap into the same sources of information and exchange in cyberspace [stress added]." (David B. Whittle, 1997, Cyberspace: The Human Dimension, page 217)

"Dramatic" changes will come about because the very environment of the next ten-to-twenty years will be radically altered as a result of the electronic revolution upon us. Although I remain positive, please consider the 1996 words of Winn Schwartau, a cyberspace expert:

"Colleges and universities will be replaced with a higher educational database that provides personally tailored interactive instruction and testing [stress added]." Winn Schwartau, 1996, Information Warfare: Cyberterrorism: Protecting Your Personal Security in the Electronic Age (NY: Thunder's Mouth Press), page 660.

All of education is changing yet not all "environments" are the same: for a 1999 listing of the "50 most Wired Cities and Towns" in the United States, please see; and for 1999 information on 100 wired universities, please see (which will also provide links back to the 1998 and 1997 wired universities listings); for information on K-12 school on the World Wide Web please see as well as entitled the American School Directory: Your interactive Gateway to All 108,000 K-12 Schools.



"Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer deserves to be! [stress added!]" (David Smith; as cited by Mike Cooley, 1999, Human-Centered Design. In Information Design (1999), edited by Robert Jacobson (MIT Press), pages 59-81, page 73.

Changes are coming in many areas and we should be aware of them, In February 1997 The Wall Street Journal provided an interesting perspective on our future:

"A population burst unlike any since the heyday of the baby boom has entered the American system. And although its members are still children, their impact on business and society is already immense. ... The annual number of U.S. births started rising around 1980, ending the baby-bust years. In each of the years from 1989 to 1993, U.S. births exceeded four million for the first time since the early 1960s. Today there are roughly 57 million American under age 15--and more than 20 million in the peak years between four and eight. ... 'Technologically, this generation is going to make the Gen-Xers look like fuddy-duddies,' says Frank Gevorsky, a 41-year-old social historian at the Discovery Institute,a Seattle think tank. He predicts that within five years, members of Generation Y will be producing term papers with full motion video. 'They're on fast-forward,' he says. Generation Y was born into a world so different from the one their parents entered that they could be on different planets" [stress added]." (Melinda Beck, 1997, Next Population Bulges Shows Its Might. The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 1997, pages B1 + B2, page B1)

Perhaps this is why I am so interested in technology: individuals, or children, from "different planets!" What an opportunity for cross-cultural research and longititudinal studies:

"It's a cliche of the digital age: Parents wonder how children so helpless in the real world can navigate the virtual world with such skill. Using computers is second nature to most kids--and with good reason, according to many neurologists. Being exposed to the wired world at early ages is effectively wiring children's brains differently, giving them an ease and comfort with computers that adults may never match. Will the new millennium see the generation gap turn into the digital divide? ... The cognitive gap is likely to continue well into the future, even as today's cyberkids become tomorrow's parents. While kids are growing up with brains well suited to the digital world of today, as adults they are likely to face the difficult task of adapting to a future where technology evolves even more rapidly--and more profoundly--than it does today [stress added]." Yocki J. Dreazen & Rachel Emma Silverman, 2000, Raised In Cyberspace. January 1, 2000, The Wall Street Journal, page R47.

Incidentally, one need not go to The Wall Street Journal or various other publications to read what I am trying to convince you about; consider, if you will, the column by Dr. Joni Samples (Glenn County Superintendent of Schools) which appeared in the local Enterprise-Record/Mercury-Register of March 12, 2000:

"...I realized what a different technological life my kids live. [When I was their age] I thought the most modern of conveniences was an electric typewriter, a dishwasher, and a color TV. Today anyone without a computer is deprived. ... Their lives revolve around technology. They were born after the computer chip was perfected. They know only how to turn on appliances containing one or more chips. The students in our schools are in the same bucket. They've grown up with technology most of us only read about in science fiction novels. Our kids can expect even more. I just read an article about kids in a forth [sic.] grade class reading e-books. No textbooks were being purchased for the class this year; information comes from electronic books. ... Their world will be one of computers, video cams, web sites, and who knows what else [stress added]." Joni Samples, 2000, Mom's Memories of the ancient ways of typing. Enterprise-Record/Mercury-Register, Sunday, March 12, 2000, page 3B.

Incidentally, for readers of this paper, you will note that the apparent computerized "spell checker" obviously allowed the incorrect "forth" for the correct "fourth" above! People are still needed!

Continuing with children growing up right now, consider video games that children "play" with: Minoru Arakawa, of Nintendo of America, made a statement which appeared in USA Today on June 23, 1997; discussing the activities of Nintendo, which began in the old days of 1979, the following question and answer appeared:

"Q: How do those older games from the '80s compare with games for the current system, the Nintendo 64? Arakawa: It's like a university compared with elementary school. The graphics are so much better. The sound is much better. Everything is much better [stress added]. "Nintendo Plans Zelda 64 For Next Big Play" by Mike Snider, USA Today, June 23, 1997, page 10B)

"Everything is much better" and this is what our future (and current) students expect (and will expect) when it comes to educational delivery systems. This is also the environment where the "new faculty" of the future will be coming from, into the K-12 and university classrooms. For a report from the Higher Education Research Institute, including an "Executive Summary" of the Freshman class of 1999 and a 1998-1999 survey on how college faculty "feel" about information technology, please see; and even though recent newspaper articles point out that California's Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999, which "ranked" various schools (at needs some revisions, the data will eventually make it into cyberspace: what one knows, all can eventually know--if you know where to look for it, yet please consider the following:

"Teachers Are Lagging Behind in Logging On. With more computers than ever ready to be booted up in classrooms across the country, our schools should be turning out thousands of Bill Gates clones. Not so fast. It seems half the screens are dark because the geeks who backed this rush to get computers in schools forgot one key element--training the teachers. Education Week magazine has just completed a comprehensive report on technology in schools that shows teachers don't know what to do with all that RAM. Almost 50% don't use computers at all in teaching, and only 61% percent [it is written this way in Time] use the Internet. And the educational software that's out there doesn't provide much promise: 71% of high school teachers said finding useful products is nearly impossible, and the software-savvy give materials that are usable a grade C or lower.--By Sally B. Connelly/Washington [stress added]." Time, September 27, 1999, page 26.



"The Internet will not totally replace schools and universities [and libraries!], but these traditional institutions must transform themselves if they are to prepare tomorrow's students for lifelong learning." Joseph Pelton, 1996, Cyberlearning vs. the University: An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object, The Futurist (Vol. 30, No. 6, December), pages 17-20, page 17.

"WEB HAS MORE THAN A BILLION PAGES: The World Wide Web now contains more than one billion unique documents, according to Inktomi and the NEC Research Institute. Nearly 55 percent of URLs end in .com. The second most popular ending is .net, with 7.82 percent, followed by .edu with 6.69 percent, .org with 1.15 percent, .gov with 1.15 percent, and .mil with 0.17 percent. Most Web documents -- 86.55 percent -- are in English. For more information see (Nua Internet Surveys, 8 February 2000)

"The World Wide Web, long the province of men seeking techno-gadgets, sports scores and pornography, now is drawing a nearly equal share of women users. An estimated 49 percent [~34,000,000] of Web users at the end of 1999 were women and it's forecast they will be in the majority within the next 12 months, according to a recent survey by AdRelevance, a Seattle-area research group. That marks a huge jump from just four years ago, when women accounted for just 35 percent of Internet users" [stress added]. Clint Stewart, 2000, Web Losing Gender Gap: Men Soon Online Minority. The Sacramento Bee, January 22, page 1 and page 20, page 1.



The future of "Education Materials" (as well as educators) will be interesting, and I end with some words from the 1978 Physics Nobel Laureate, Arno Penzias:

"Throughout the ages, technology has helped shape the facts we humans think about. As our knowledge has increased, so have our tools and the ways we employ them. Today, technology is so complex and pervasive that it dominates much of the environment in which human beings live and work. For this reason, I feel we need a better understanding of how technology affects the ways in which we now create and explore ideas." Arno Penzias, 1989, Ideas And Information: Managing In A High-Tech World (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 179-180.



For readers of this paper, I ask you to consider where you were and who you were (and how old you were) in February 1986 and consider the changes in 14 years; in Time magazine of February 10, 1986, a full-page advertisement appeared which stated (in part) the following:

"IT'S SO FAST, YOU'LL FLY THROUGH YOUR WORK. Introducing the NCR PC6. Whoosh! That's information up on the new NCR PC6. The PC6 is NCR's most powerful personal computer yet. It's powered by the advanced Intel 8088-2 microprocessor. So you can process information nearly twice as fast as the PC XT.™ At that rate, you can load programs faster. Recall files in an instant. Calculate in a flash. And get home earlier. The PC6 stores a lot, too--up to 40MB of hard disk space, or about 7,575 single-spaced typewritten pages. Of course the PC 6 is compatable--running over 10,000 business software programs. In fact, a special switch lets you operate at either 8 MHz or 4.77 MHz, allowing you to run software that some other high performance PCs, like the PC AT,™ can't run. And, just in case, you can get a built-in streaming tape back-up system to guard against accidental erasures, disk damage, or coffee spills. The NCR PC6. To see it, fly on down to your NCR dealer today [stress added]."

Whoosh! And today, fourteen years later in March 2000, please consider the following:

"Intel Ships Fast Chip, Catches Up With AMD. Driven by their intensifying competition for bragging rights in PC processor speed, both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices this week began shipping 1-gigahertz chips, well ahead of their previously announced schedule. ... A gigahertz is 1,000 megahertz, or 1 billion cycles per second. The more cycles per second, the faster a microprocessor can chew through its assigned tasks. The actual speed users experience on real-life tasks, however, depends on a variety of factors, including other aspects of a chip's design, the performance of other PC components and, increasingly, the speed of the machine's Internet connection--not to mention the users typing and thinking speeds [stress added]." Henry Norr, 2000, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, March 9, page B1.

Finally, if you will, not only can you read about the potential of "paper computers" in the latest issue of Wired (April 2000, Vol. 8.04), that-is-to-say, computers "printed" on paper and thrown away (for approximately $1.00/computer), consider this:

"In a development that could help telecommunications companies keep up with the flood of Interent traffic, TRW Space & Electronics Group said it has created a telecommunications chip that can operate at a blazing 69 gigahertz. At that speed, the chip can transfer data through a fiber-optic network at 40 gigabits a second, or the equivalent of 10 software comapct disks in one second. ... it is expected to begin shipping world-wide next year [in 2000]. ... the fastest [current] silicon chip from Intel Corp. runs at 733 megahertz, or almost 100 times slower than the TRW chip, which operates at 69,000 megahertz [stress added." Dean Takahashi, 1999, TRW to Make Chip to Speed Web-Data Flow. The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 1999.

You ain't seen nothing yet!

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