Students show Gore their link to the world

January 13, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Vice president Al Gore, the nation's most prominent advocate for technology, stopped at Cupertino's Monta Vista High School yesterday to meet some of the first young travelers of the new information superhighway.

As Mr. Gore circled the classroom, the 23 students in the nation's first class devoted to the Internet global computer network showed him how they converse on-line with their counterparts in Germany, scientists in Antarctica, and NASA researchers. Then they downloaded a copy of the speech Mr. Gore made Tuesday at a Los Angeles forum on the shape of the "superhighway."

"I can go anywhere in the world with Internet," said junior Mark Wang, 16, one of the students in the class. "With Internet, geographical barriers are no longer relevant."

The Internet is a web of computer networks that links universities, research centers, libraries and numerous other facilities throughout the world. Many people consider it a first step toward a national information superhighway.

During his visit yesterday, Mr. Gore said he has challenged executives and their companies to "commit to provide access to the national information infrastructure for every classroom, every library, every hospital and clinic in the United States of America" by the year 2000.

Donnie Chang explained to the Vice President how he improves his German by sending E-mail messages to students and teachers in Bremen, Germany, who then respond to him in English. "This kind of communication between students in different countries is an exciting prospect," Mr. Gore said. "I think it's a great way to learn a foreign language."

During the one-hour visit, Mr. Gore repeatedly told students that he wished he had had Internet when he was in high school.

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