Harold M. Brewer, Supt.
Montgomery County Schools
"The Business of Schools is Student Success"
FrEdMail was a God-send. Just as I was learning the use of the computer and some internet, here was this marvel that allowed two-way communication, free and at almost the same pace as the postal service. It would take 2-3 days for a message to get a turn-around, but, it was the best thing going and it created a link with me and my son in school at West Point that was not available any other way. It was a lifeline. It was the best thing going. Thanks for the memories. Thanks even more for moving us forward. FrEdMail will always have a place in my heart. When I observe the difference in the service now and then, I stand in awe. One is made to believe that there is no limit.”
I was taught so much by the folks at Global SchoolNet. I want to thank you Al, and Erica and later Graham for your patience and persistence in serving as an early window to the world of the future, and for introducing me to the mysteries of remote login. I think I was the only school in Indiana that was a FrEdMail site, first at UIUC, then through a local provider to Bonita. I presented the system at a state media conference, but those folks who understood the value of the resource were able to adopt newer, much more expensive technologies. I appreciated FrEdMail maintaining support for a system that was invaluable for areas that lagged in fancy technology, but wanted the benefits of telecommunications in their classrooms. When the state provided money for us to adopt newer technology, our teachers had the expertise to put it to use immediately. While other districts struggle to get teachers to use technology, ours is blessed with those pioneers who learn and then help their colleagues to get up to speed.
We have gone on to the slicker, more expensive technologies, but the gold that we sifted from FrEdMail has stayed with us – the vision of its creator and early supporters. It is that vision of a world-wide medium for teaching and learning that made FrEdMail more than just an email service. It is that vision that will lead teachers everywhere to open their classrooms to the future and connect with learners throughout the world. Quite a different vision from using computers as automatons for skill development and one that has proved to be more true. Now, where will the next fifteen years take us?
So mark the passing of FrEdMail well, award its labors with sweet smiles, and turn again to your purpose: helping us all (kids and teachers) see the world through new eyes!”
Technology Curriculum Coordinator
"What I remember most was this group of laughing giggling 8th grades jostling for seats, flirting, joking around with each other as we gathered in front of the computer to try out this new thing called FrEdMail. At the first second that the connection sounded, that strange singing whirring song of a modem connecting our classroom to someplace far away, in an instant, that whirling mass of adolescence became transformed. In one motion every eye turned to the screen, every breath was held, every body became still in anticipation of what...I do not know. Their future? Their dreams? We hadn't even really talked about how we could use it, we were just testing the new modem and software. As a teacher I did not know what to expect, I was trying this for the first time, something fun, something extra, but seeing this response from kids at that moment of ‘connection’ I knew something important had just happened and the world would never be the same. I suddenly saw a whole world of possibilities open up for students for classrooms for human beings. That tableau of the students learning toward this new portal, waiting in breathless anticipation still stays fixed in my mind like the figure head of an old sailing ship, sailing off to new unknown worlds and explorations...”
Director of Technology
FrEdWriter, FrEdMail and even FrEdBase were a huge part of my tools in the 1980's and early 90's. At one point, about 1987, I taught a full day worshop at the TIE conference in Snowmass Colorado called ‘FrEdStuff!’ We had to lug the machines in from local schools and spent hours playing with control keys, cutting, pasting and copying. For many it was their first experience with a word processor.
In the Steamboat Springs School District we used FrEdWriter for writing projects including poems, short stories, and science in 3rd through 8th grades. This was pre-hard drives and networks, so every student had their own floppy disk they could save and take home if they wanted or needed to. We even used FrEdWriter to teach keyboarding in all the 5th grade classes with a dictation/beat combination style of drill. No fancy games or programs were used, just simple text and a rhythm. I loved using it as I could send it home with no worry about the students or teachers copying illegal programs to work.
We installed the first FrEdMail BBS at the Junior High in about 1986 after working for a long time to get a phone line in one classroom. I remember having to train the janitor to leave the computer turned on so it could connect at night. We ended up using this BBS more locally as there was not a lot of funding for long distances calls for our connections at night.
In 1990 I moved to California with my husband and was a programmer for a software company. I became accustomed to the Internet and email. In 1992 I changed careers again and ended up back in education in an independent high school. My new school had no such access as I had been using in industry. So I installed FrEdMail on a [sic] Apple//GS and connected directly to Al's bonita node. By this time were only a few retailers selling Apple II products and Al connected us with one that is still in operation. We bought an external hard drive and modem. We worried about how to do backups to floppy disks. We could only check email one at a time by dialing in, but it was great stuff. We opened up our BBS for teacher training at a couple of local schools and allowed other faculty and students to have email accounts. The day I pulled the plug I had two girls almost cry via email not believing that it would be gone. I had to do it though as the phone line was needed to run a fire alarm to the gym. Of course now we are fully wired and have T1 access, but the feel of it is not any better than what we had with FrEdMail…”
Darlene J. Owens
State University of West Georgia
I recall learning about FrEdMail while teaching 3rd grade at The Heritage School in Newnan, Georgia. One of my parents had met Al Rogers at a conference and shared the excitement of FrEdMail ...the possibilities of connecting with teachers and students around the globe via the computer sure excited us!
I contacted Al Rogers and over the next two or three months, we involved the Headmaster, faculty, parents, and students in becoming a FrEdMail Node. Once connected, I was hooked on checking our email and communicating with other teachers! I couldn't wait to get up in the mornings to see what had arrived!
Our FrEdMail computer was installed in a hall closet and I spent so much time in there...my fellow faculty members joked about my having an affair with "FrEd". "Where's Darlene?"..."She's in the closet with FrEd".
Our students participated in several FrEdMail projects over the next 3 years. Some exciting projects were exchanging poems with a second grade class in Australia, sharing the excitement of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona with students there, and completing a successful Veterans of World War II project with students around the world.
FrEdMail enabled us to understand the impact of telecommunications via the Internet. Al Rogers will always be a champion to me...truly a visionary. Thank you FrEdMail and Al Rogers for all the hard work and dedication to education.”
Little Red Elementary
Eau Claire, WI
FrEdMail changed everything for the students at Little Red Elementary. Suddenly, every student in class had access to a personal email account that had only the world as its boundaries. It was like a mania with the kids, trying to get keypals from around the globe. Between the newsgroups and the email, kids were engaged in the writing process in a genuine way that they had never experienced before. I'll never forget the looks on their faces when they realized that they were actually communicating with kids and classrooms in other parts of the world.
To my knowledge, we were the first Wisconsin elementary school to use FrEdMail. We became a HUB when I was able to set up several other schools in the district. One of the high points came when you visited Eau Claire and spoke at our Micro Computer Fair. People who attended became very excited about FrEdMail, and a number of the CESA schools in the area soon subscribed.
The sad part of seeing FrEdMail end is that districts like ours, who have fallen far behind in technology acquisition, will not be able to afford to replace what FrEdMail offered us. Essentially, our students will not have the opportunity to ride the next wave.
Thanks, Al. It's been a great experience.”
9-12 Student at Grossmont High School, GUHSD
El Cajon, California
I first got on FrEd when I was in the fourth grade almost 7 years ago. At that time – I thought this was the all time coolest thing in the whole world. I still think it's amazing. :) My original account was removed, but FrEd lives on... I really hate to see it shutdown, and see those perfectly good Apple IIe's goto [sic] waste :), but that's the way things go. I got my first glimse of the beginnings of the ‘Internet’ on this system, now I'm a full blown systems administrator…in Los Angeles, CA. Everytime I think about how I got where I am now – I think about the first time I got an e-mail on the internet…and the first time I was able to use a modem and connect to a remote computer and communicate with people worldwide – it just amazed me. So I guess FrEd was one thing that inspired me to become what I am not -- despite the fact that I *love* computers, and always have – I think FrEd opened up new doors for me…Thanks FrEd…”
<email@example.com> ------------- 32.39.28N, 117.01.45W
Jesse Rosenberger 9-12 Student at Grossmont High School, GUHSD El Cajon, CA
Lisa S. Monteith, Sysop
Maplewood Middle School, Calcasieu Parish Schools
During the fall of 1990 a supervisor from our Tech Center gave me a FrEdMail brochure she had picked up at a conference and remarked that it sounded like something I would enjoy doing. After contacting Al Rogers, at the FrEdMail office in Bonita, California I was hooked!
Southwest Louisiana Free Educational Mail Network node began in the 1991 - 1992 school year with funds I received from writing a grant to Frito-Lay, Inc. Under Al's patient tutelage and with advice and encouragement from Dave Roth, I managed to get everything installed and configured! I conducted workshops at our Tech Center to get parish teachers involved. The project was such a success that Calcasieu Parish Schools agreed to include FrEdMail in their annual budget.
My students and I have participated in many projects sponsored by FrEdMail that have enriched our educational experience and allowed us to develop lasting friendships with students and teachers all over the world. Geogame, moderated by Lorna Pasos, is a perpetual favorite. Many of my former students who helped me operate our FrEdMail node still try to email me at my old Sowela address! I receive regular email from these young people from places like the climatology center at LSU or the U.S.S. Gettysburg in the Persian Gulf.
Over the last seven years, I've seen FrEdMail's grassroots beginnings evolve into a highly-polished, sophisticated operation on the web. There are many people such as Al Rogers and Yvonne Andres who deserve recognition and praise for this vision reaching fruition. As a Global School Network Board of Directors member, I'm proud that our main focus is still to provide free, quality learning projects for teachers and students. I consider my involvement with this organization to be one of the greatest achievements of my nineteen year teaching career.
I operated the Sowela node from my little 1 Meg Apple IIGS computer in my classroom until May 1997. By then Calcasieu Parish Schools had installed direct Internet access in all their classrooms and teachers could get more reliable access to Global SchoolNet on the web. Even though my Sowela FrEdMail node has been closed almost two years, I still look at my computer screen first when the phone rings in my classroom.”
Hemet Elementary School
I knew that this was coming, but it's alike [sic] a faithful pet being put to sleep before it's time. With Global School Net (FrEdMail), the Apple IIe in our classroom satisfied 99% of our classroom needs. Our students could send pictures, stories and questions throughout the world, develop relationships with keypals in a safe environment and be amazed that the thoughts, hopes and fears of other children were very much the same as their own (have you noticed how they all listen to the same music groups in KIDS.CAFE -- no matter which country they are in?). FrEdMail fostered the "Global Village" before the term had any real weight.
If there hadn't been a fire in the telephone line trunks, I'd like to believe that Global School Net would have continued FrEdMail well into the next century. It's text-based bulletin boards demonstrated the power of words and the importance of their crafting to students with interactive, real-life experiences. Many were the papers written by those young writer finding pain and torture when being told to proof-read their rough drafts. Nothing brought the need to self-correct your own work such as trying to read their keypals' letters also needing a once-over.
Indeed, FrEdMail would have made even a greater impact if there had just been telephone lines into each and every classroom. I lucked out. Out of the four classrooms that I have worked in during the last five years, bouncing between two or three schools a day, one classroom has had both an Apple IIe computer AND a telephone line (after a three month work order). With these and FrEdMail, the students at each of my schools touched the WORLD…”
<firstname.lastname@example.org> ---------------- 33.44.00N, 117.01.30W
JAY EDWARDS, TEACHER K-5, HEMET ELEM
Al's Final Shutdown Announcement
Received: from acme.fred.org
by gsn.org Sun, 3 Jan 1999 12:26:14 -0800
X-Path: cerf!bonita!arogers Sun, 3 Jan 99 11:49
Received: by bonita JA342582: Sun, 3 Jan 99 11:49 Version 2.6.3dig 25mar95
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 99 11:49 pst
Subject: FrEdMail to Shut Down June 30, 1999
NOTICE: On June 30, this FrEdMail BBS will cease operations.
FrEdMail was originally written in 1985 to connect students and teachers around
the world. It has faithfully fulfilled this mission for 14 years...
using the venerable and indestructible Apple IIe and IIGS computer.
With the advent of the year 2000, and the Y2K problem, the Global SchoolNet
Foundation has announced that it will cease support of the FrEdMail Network
on June 30, 1999. At that time, GSN's original FrEdMail computer in Bonita,
California will be shut down permanently after 14 years of continuous operation.
Many pioneer telecomputing teachers had their first introduction to the benefits
of collaborative learning at a distance on FrEdMail, and in many ways those
teachers have "written the book" on how to use telecommunications technologies
in the classroom.
We grew to love FrEdMail over the years, and it is with some sadness... but also
a great deal of satisfaction... to finally shut down this venerable old network
of teachers and students so that we can focus on our primary misison now of
building the global learning community on the Internet.
As a final tribute to this phenomenon known as FrEdMail, I'd like to invite
you... whether teacher or student... to send me an email message recounting your
introduction, trials, triumphs, and anecdotes with FrEdMail... I'd like to
create a "pioneers'" web page with your stories.
Please send them to me at email@example.com. I'll collect them and post them on the
Web as we approach the final shutdown day of June 30, 1999.
Executive Director, Global SchoolNet Foundation
Home of the Global Schoolhouse
Author of FrEdMail and FrEdWriter
<firstname.lastname@example.org> ---------------- 32.39.28N, 117.01.45W AL ROGERS
Teacher K-12 at GSN, Bonita Bonita, CA