Paul Becker:
My name is Paul Becker and I live in Melbourne, Florida. I teach Creative Writing, Technical Writing, and World Literature at Eau Gallie High School. The course I enjoy teaching right now is the Technical Writing course as it is part of our School-to-Work initiative, and the possibilities seem to be endless when we deal with this subject.

I grew up with a computer in my house. As a young person, my parents thought it would be important for me to be computer literate. I learned BASIC on a Apple II +, and we bought the early Timex Sinclar 1000 computer (you know...instead of a keyboard it had a touch pad).

We moved into the Commodore 64 when it became affordable. (The Timex Sinclair started to smoke at 64K. ) A friend of the family gave me a Vic Modem (speed to 600 bps), and I got involved in local BBS. I believe that this was the early beginning of "cyber-space."

It was also the beginning of the darker side of electronic communication. As I learned that some of the users (one of them my friends) spent their nights hacking into systems lifting long distance phone codes (phreaking) and one even met the FBI. I soon dropped them as friends.

The Commodore 64 came with me to college, and it smoked later on. The monitor even blitzed during my last 15 page paper I wrote. I started learning the IBM PC (386, 16 mhz, 4 meg Ram) in 1992. I purchased a new computer in 1994, and just purchased a laptop for school.

The minute I had the chance, I joined AOL for the Internet access. The advent of the Web was in its early stages. I left AOL for an ISP, and wish I had more time to read the plethora of newslists/newsgroups that deal with education. (Admittedly, some just complain about education.)

My interest lies along the ideas of ethical uses of email communication with students and educators. No firm policy or rules are governing how the Internet is used for research since a great many of our students can get around any "firewall" that our districts put up. When a student or an educator abuses the email communication, or doesn't use the Internet responsibly, no one really knows just what to do. I guess indirectly the committee will address this along with everything else we come across.

The charge is very broad. This again might be because we are still very new at this. We know the power and the possibilities, but how can we focus a huge universe of electronic communication for education? Tough job I think, and that's what inspired me to take a chance and apply to this committee.

I look forward to working with all of you...and I promise to type everything I write! ;-) (People have said I write in Arabic with my feet...and I USED to disagree with them. My wife feels that I can be doctor with my writing....I wonder if I can be paid like one? )

Paul Becker