Broadly Speaking

In this month’s Broadly Speaking we speak with Joan Fenwick, the national director of the AT&T Learning Network. A former math teacher who has been with AT&T since 1979, Fenwick is a frequent speaker at many national forums and events on the uses of telecommunications and technology in the K-12 classroom, with a particular focus on new models of professional development for teachers.


T.H.E.: What is AT&T’s specific vision of broadband in education?


Fenwick: I think our vision for broadband in education is to look for ways that we can use this medium to bring together richness in content with fast delivery through broader and fatter pipes. Our vision is to use the power of this new technology to do more than just deliver existing Web sites faster or with more sound and graphics. We really want to see what these new high-speed pipes can deliver in the ways of new models for education.


T.H.E.: In what ways right now can broadband technology impact the way learning takes place?


Fenwick: We’re exploring those now, and I think it’s a combination of the realism that video and video streaming bring to the education process, coupled with the depth of Internet resources that exist today. However, it’s the convergence of those technologies along with those of real-time chat and real-time dialogue that I think will create a new model.


T.H.E.: Why should a school invest now to wire their facility for broadband delivery? What is the advantage of doing it now rather than a few years from now?


Fenwick: I think many schools are right now in the process of wiring their schools for high-speed delivery. That is the technology of today as well as the technology of tomorrow. So as a school or a community is investing in wiring, they should really be looking toward the future and planning with changing technology in mind. But the possibility, and I think the reality, of high-speed is very much available today.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.