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The Content of Your Character: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Content of Your Character: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Content of Your Character:
A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Teacher's Student Activities


  • Students understand the use of communications technology today in the demonstration of information and education.
  • Students appreciate the evolution of communications technology in the recent past and how that technology will continue to grow and evolve in the next century.
  • Students learn about careers in communications technology.


Examine these guide materials. Have students complete the pre-program activities so they will be ready and able to participate in discussions regarding the program. Discuss the "Issue Question" and poll your students.


Students will join panelists Barry Diller, Glenn Jones and Marvin Minsky, who will share their vision of the direction that communications technology will take in the 21st century. In the past two decades in particular, communications technology has evolved at a rapid pace -- so rapid in fact that the general public probably is unaware of much of the technology that currently is available or that is projected to be available in the near future.


Barry Diller
Barry Diller is Chairman of QVC Network and one of the most influential forces in the American entertainment. He dropped out of both Stanford and UCLA and started his career as a mail clerk at the William Morris Agency. In 1967, he joined ABC as a programming assistant and went on to pioneer the development of made-for-TV movies and mini-series. In 1974, Diller jumped to Paramount Pictures and helped make films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and TV shows such as Taxi. He got the idea to start a fourth network, joined FOX as chairman, and created a satellite-delivered national program service to broadcast affiliates across the nation. Diller helped develop innovative, sometimes controversial programming, including In Living Color, Married...with Children and The Simpsons. He then purchased the QVC Network, the home shopping cable network.

Glenn R. Jones
Glenn R. Jones is Board Chairman of Jones Intercable of Englewood, Colorado. He purchased his first cable television in 1967 with $400 borrowed against his Volkswagen. Realizing that the key to success in the cable industry was finance for the capital-intensive task of buying equipment and supporting the negative cash flows during the construction phase of new systems, Jones became the first to organize public limited partnerships to raise capital to finance cable acquisitions. His limited partnerships have raised more than $1 billion for the purchase of cable properties. Jones is one of the largest cable television operators in the United States.

Dr. Marvin Minsky
Dr. Marvin Minsky is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is heralded as the "Father of Artificial Intelligence" and a "Twentieth Century Renaissance Man." Dr. Minsky is one of the most influential leaders in the computer science community. He is striving toward the exciting, real promise of artificial intelligence which may become "an incredible tool for extending man's intellect further than was ever dreamed, lifting human creativity itself to new heights of achievement. Minsky is forging a man machine symbiosis that could represent the next great development for mankind, equivalent in its portent, perhaps, to walking erect or building the first tool."


Regardless of what curriculum you are teaching, your students will benefit more from the telecast if they read the student handouts and complete the pre-telecast activities. Discuss featured guests and the reasons they are on the program.


The world is in the midst of a telecommunications revolution that, if successful, will forever change the way most Americans receive information and the way they work. A fast, flexible information network or highway is essential for the United States to compete effectively in a global economy.

On the simplest level the revolution is most evident in the merge of the computer, television and telephone. The same wires that transmit phone service can carry cable television, if the government will allow it.

Driving this explosive merger are some rather simple technological advances:
The ability to translate all audio and video communications into digital information.
New methods of storing these digitized data and compressing them so they can travel through existing phone and cable lines.
Fiber-optic wiring that provides a virtually limitless transmission pipeline.
New switching techniques and other breakthroughs that made it possible to bring all this to neighborhoods without necessarily rewiring every home.

Who will shape the "information highway?" What role should the government have in regulating and controlling telecommunications?
What should the highway consist of: a huge cable system bringing shop-at-home services and video on demand; a huge computer bulletin board; or a highway devoted to business uses? In the end each consumer will be voting with remote control.

The objective of this program is to explore what this revolution will mean to our nation and most importantly to the life of each student.


The abundance of new technologies and the information they provide have placed new demands on the workforce to keep us with, and to adapt to, the changes they represent. People in the workforce are being termed knowledge workers, workers required to update their skills frequently in order to stay current and competitive. Key to this process is harnessing the technology to permit access to information.

How is technology in the near future expected to change the transmission of entertainment into the home? For example, what options are television viewers going to have that they do not have now?


Research the development of computers for office and home use. Compare the capabilities of computers designed for home use 20 years ago with the capabilities of computers for home use today.

How have computers revolutionized home entertainment? How are they projected to change in the future? For example, explore the entertainment possibilities offered by virtual reality.

How has the storage of information been changing, and how will it continue to change in the future? What kind of education is going to be required of people who need to retrieve information in the future?

What kinds of careers are going to be available in communications technology in the future? Are they expected to grow, or will they require such technological expertise that only a few will be available in the job market?


Following are a number of computer terms and their corresponding definitions. Match up the correct definition with each term.

  • mainframe
  • microcomputer
  • software
  • hard copy
  • memory
  • microchip


  1. A computer language
  2. Readable copy produced on paper from computer storage
  3. Computer with cabinet and internal circuits, usually large and can handle multiple tasks simultaneously
  4. Integrated circuit
  5. Small computer that uses a microprocessor to handle information
  6. Set of programs and/or documentation related to a computer system
  7. Capacity for storing information
  8. The first all-purpose, all-electronic digital computer