Yvonne Marie Andrés: So, thank you to the Internet Society for this won­der­ful hon­or. I accept this recog­ni­tion on behalf of all of my glob­al col­lab­o­ra­tors, some of who are in the room tonight. 

I start­ed my career as a teacher, work­ing with very low-achieving stu­dents, many com­ing from trou­bled fam­i­lies with drug, gang, and prison con­nec­tions. But I had a life-changing moment in 1984 that final­ly got my stu­dents excit­ed about learn­ing. Apple launched a pro­gram called Kids Can’t Wait and gave every school in California a com­put­er. Unfortunately the com­put­er did not come with soft­ware. That was when Al Rogers, anoth­er San Diego teacher, and I teamed up to cre­ate a free word pro­cess­ing pro­gram that we called Free Educational Writer, or FrEdWriter. 

Next came FrEdMail, which stood for Free Educational Electronic Mail. FrEdMail ran on an Apple IIe and used a store-and-forward pro­to­col. That meant that stu­dents would write dur­ing class time, save their work on a flop­py disk, and in the mid­dle of the night when no one was using the phone line at the school and cost was the cheap­est, FrEdMail would for­ward their writ­ing to the next loca­tion. It some­times took sev­er­al weeks to get from one place to the next. 

Everyone who heard about FrEdMail want­ed to be part of the net­work, and it rapid­ly grew through­out the US and to oth­er coun­tries. There was an Aussie FrEd, a New Guinea FrEd, and I remem­ber a col­league from Argentina who man­aged to get a Spanish ver­sion of FrEd into his coun­try by hid­ing the instal­la­tion disk under his shirt. 

Then in 1991, thou­sands of FrEdMail mail users gained access to the NSFNET via new gate­ways at Merit in Michigan and SURFnet in San Diego. Thank you, Susan! Through the FrEdMail/NSF gate­way, edu­ca­tors world­wide were able to share class­room expe­ri­ences and con­nect stu­dents with sci­en­tists, busi­ness lead­ers, and explor­ers. At its peak, FrEdMail was used by 12,000 schools and had 350 nodes around the globe. 

When the World Wide Web became avail­able to the pub­lic in 1993, we launched our first web site called the Global Schoolhouse. That was the year we teamed up with Cisco Systems, Network Solutions, and MCI to facil­i­tate an inter­na­tion­al CyberFair, which is an online world’s fair where youth cre­ate vir­tu­al exhibits about their local com­mu­ni­ty. More than five mil­lion stu­dents from 105 coun­tries have con­tributed. Hi, Tracy, wher­ev­er you are. She was involved. You’ll you’ll meet her lat­er. This year we’re cel­e­brat­ing our twenty-second year run­ning CyberFair and I would love to see projects from every one of your coun­tries in this room. 

One of my proud­est moments came in 1994 when I received a National Science Foundation grant to intro­duce Internet-based desk­top video con­fer­enc­ing called CU-SeeMe to K‑12 edu­ca­tion. Working with Cornell University, we used CU-SeeMe to engage stu­dents with many nota­bles, includ­ing for­mer Internet Hall of Fame inductees, Vice President Al Gore, and Vint Cerf. We even used CU-SeeMe to launch the first ever tele­vi­sion broad­cast live over the Internet with World News Now. Thank you, Victor! Spoiler alert, I pre­dict­ed that even­tu­al­ly we would be using the Internet to share news and learn together. 

For me the Internet has always been about encour­ag­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions and peo­ple con­nec­tions. For ten years I ran a pro­gram for high school stu­dents sup­port­ed by the state depart­ment called Doors to Diplomacy. And after 9‍/‍11 I was invit­ed to the White House to meet with President George Bush to cre­ate Friendship Through Education, a pro­gram aimed at using the Internet to increase cul­tur­al understanding. 

Fast for­ward to today. GlobalSchoolNet has grown to 150,000 reg­is­tered mem­bers from 194 coun­tries. I am always look­ing for new oppor­tu­ni­ties to use the Internet in inno­v­a­tive ways that will improve the qual­i­ty of life for all of Earth’s inhab­i­tants. I cur­rent­ly coor­ga­nize the Global Forest Link project, which con­nects youth and sci­en­tists around the world to col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly ana­lyze for­est health, and last year GlobalSchoolNet joined forces with The Lavender Effect to orga­nize the LGBT History Student Filmmaker Competition to encour­age youth to pro­duce dig­i­tal sto­ries that cel­e­brate sig­nif­i­cant LGBTQ lumi­nar­ies, land­marks, and con­tri­bu­tions to society. 

While I’m hon­ored and hum­bled by the Internet Hall of Fame recog­ni­tion, my great­est hope is that there are indi­vid­u­als and busi­ness­es lis­ten­ing today, or tomor­row, or next week, who will step up to offer sup­port for the work that we do at GlobalSchoolNet. Thank you.

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