Today in Bloomington, Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corp., told more than 7,500 Indiana University (IU) students, faculty, staff and guests that the Internet will change our society. Gates called the audience pioneers of the
a way of life in which the Internet plays a part in how people learn, conduct business, and stay in touch with friends and family.
The Internet now plays a prominent role in almost every major decision today’s college students make – buying a car, planning a trip, doing research for a term paper, and possibly choosing to attend Indiana University – according to Gates, the fourth speaker in the university’s Indiana Lectures series, which began in 1995.
“We are seeing the first glimpses of the ‘Web lifestyle’ on college campuses, where the Internet has become a part of instructional, administrative and even recreational activities,”
Gates told an audience at Assembly Hall and students, faculty and staff of IU’s seven other campuses via public television throughout the state.
“Colleges and universities quickly realized the Internet’s value for education and have made it a key part of their ‘digital nervous systems.’ The Web enables teaching and learning beyond classroom walls, expands student resources beyond the library’s shelves, and ensures that learning is no longer limited by the usual barriers of time, distance, convenience and access.”
A recent study by Student Monitor, Ridgewood, N.J., confirmed that the Internet is
with college students, with one in five people surveyed reporting Internet access as the single most important reason to own a computer. The study reported that students use the Internet for class research; communication with classmates, professors, friends and family; and for job hunting. More than 13 percent of the students surveyed said they shop online for items like books, software, apparel, and airline and concert tickets.
Gates said he’s excited about the innovative ways that colleges and universities are using the Internet to help students manage campus life. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has developed
an Internet-based service offering undergraduate students personal academic home pages where they can access their own course schedules, current transcripts, class assignments and reading lists, all in one convenient location.
Gates also praised IU’s leadership in using technology to revolutionize the teaching and learning experience. IU’s reputation as an information technology leader was bolstered by the recent announcement that the network operations center for Internet2 will be located at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus; the recent selection of IU to manage TransPAC, the U.S.-Asia network that will link American universities with Pacific Rim countries; and the university’s 1998 ranking in Yahoo! Inc.’s Internet Life magazine as one of the top 10
schools in the country.
IU President Myles Brand confirmed Gates’ assessment.
“Our students, faculty and staff view building our campus digital nervous system and our overall commitment to technology research as one of the critical elements of our academic mission at Indiana University,”
“Today, Mr. Gates affirmed our achievements and inspired us to continue to build our international reputation as a leader in information technology.”
The changing face of computers, such as the electronic book and PC companion devices, also will encourage a Web lifestyle, Gates said. Ensuring that this new equipment, which can handle increasingly complex tasks, runs on easy-to-use software will continue to be the focus of Microsoft’s research and development.
“My vision is of a day not very far away when computers can see, listen and learn,”
“However, we are just beginning to realize the potential of the PC and information technology. We need a strong commitment to research and innovation both by major corporations and colleges and universities to continue developing technology that will improve our lives at school, work and home.”
The Indiana Lectures series brings eminent leaders from technology, business, academia, government, sports and the arts to the university to address the IU academic community on topics of national and international interest and importance. Past speakers include former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezezinski and the Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
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