Overcoming the Grand Canyon

23rd February 2001 at 00:00
IN a northern market town, with no railway, no cable and an ancient hill blocking Channel 5 my family sometimes feel shut off from the modern world.

The Supai people, living at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, have a much deeper set of communication problems. They also have a solution - six satellite dishes and a link with Arizona State University.

Their story is one of many case studies in the final report of the US Web-Based Education Commission. Now on-line at http:interact. hpcnet.orgwebcommissionindex.htm The Commission has reviewed current network provisionin the US (including the Grand Canyon) and concludes that the faster broadband access - that would give video and audio on the Web for all learners - should be a major policy goal.

The essential requirements are said to be staff training, a new programme of research, better content, deregulation to allow flexible learning, protection and privacy for on-line learners, and sustained mainstream funding.

The full report is now available in pdf, Word and text-onlyformats.

Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to JP Saunders@leeds.ac.uk

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