WMU News

WMU professor and educational technology expert goes global

Dec. 9, 2003

KALAMAZOO--WMU educational studies professor Dr. James Bosco, a recognized expert in educational technology, has been tapped by international officials to attend the World Summit on the Information Society Dec. 10-12 in Geneva.

The United Nations-sponsored meeting is expected to draw heads of state and dignitaries from at least 50 countries and high-level delegations from many others. The summit is the result of a 1998 resolution adopted by the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union and is intended to examine ways nations can work together to improve access, affordability, infrastructure and other methods that may narrow the technology gap between developed and developing countries.

"One of the purposes of the summit is to develop principles and plans to make use of technology that can help to make the world a better and more peaceful place," Bosco says. "Information technology has had tremendous benefits in terms of corporations and economic development, but in terms of human development, there's more we can do."

In addition to attending the full summit, the WMU professor has helped set the agenda for a concurrent meeting sponsored by the U.N. and schools in the European Union. At that gathering, participants will consider ways in which education networks in countries around the world can connect and provide resources for school-aged children.

Overall, international government and quasi-government officials, along with leaders from the civil and business arenas, are expected to tackle several critical areas. Organizers have three definitive goals in mind: raising awareness among world leaders of the implications of the information society; getting firm commitments to tackle the injustice of the digital divide; and developing new legal and policy frameworks appropriate to cyberspace.

In part, that means looking at technology as a tool for improving humanity, Bosco says.

"A substantial number of world leaders and many people from the private sector will be there to focus on the question 'Is this making us have a better world?'" he says. "A lot of people are getting rich with it---sure, it's a better world for Bill Gates---but to what extent is the rest of world benefiting and how is it affecting our ability to live together in peace? Information technology may not necessarily be the solution, but it can be part of the solution."

As director of external technology relations for the WMU College of Education, Bosco is involved in many projects like the summit. He is active with organizations working to improve the way technology is integrated in K-12 classrooms and developing standards for technology administrators around the world. His work also extends to efforts aimed at improving teacher preparation and continuing technology training for classroom educators.

In addition to teaching and conducting research, Bosco has held leadership roles with such organizations and initiatives as the Consortium For School Networking, Technology Standards for School Administrators, National Education Technology Standards for Administrators, the International Research and Policy Symposium, the Advisory Committee for Freedom to Learn, and the Michigan State Board of Education Task Force on Embracing the Information Age.

For more information about the summit, visit <www.itu.int/wsis>. To learn more about educational technology initiatives at Western Michigan University, contact Dr. James Bosco at (269) 387-3485 or <james.bosco@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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