Internet research: more than click and print

Your article "But I found it on the Internet!" (April 25) was most interesting. I appreciate that you recognized the difficulties we classroom teachers have with the new technology movement.

I have been using the Internet myself for approximately 11 years (pre-AOL). I am continually in discussions with the technology committee at our school, asking them to explain what they believe our students need. It appears they believe that to "have the technology" means our students will cease to be deprived, but they cannot tell me how this will enhance learning.

Some of my students (and their parents) believe that research using the Internet means hitting the "print" key! I try valiantly to remind my colleagues of copyright and trademark questions. So much of your article touched on issues important to me, and your sidebar on Web site evaluation will be quite helpful.

Carol Totilo Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

Your article "But I found it on the Internet!" was right on the mark. Now we need to extend this discussion to the 100 million or so adults who use the Internet as a source of facts. No matter what point of view a person has, something can be found on the Internet that substantiates it. We definitely need to teach everyone something about critical reading and source-bias determination.

Perhaps a small group of bright people could create and maintain a Web site where children and adults alike could go to find an index of subjects and reliable sources of information on them. Instead of leading researchers to every site that addresses a given subject, only sources that had been fully evaluated for reliability would be linked to the subject index.

Terry Zaccone Sunnyvale, Calif.

Benefits of nuclear power

In his April 17 opinion piece, "Subsidizing environmental damage," Norman Myers identifies the indirect support various technologies receive and highlights the difficulty of measuring the true costs of energy sources. The environmental damage from coal burning, for example, is never figured into the price of electricity, except for the expense of only partially successful emissions scrubbers.

On the other hand, nuclear power has from the outset paid its full costs in protecting the environment, from paying for its own regulation to contributing to a federal fund to dispose of nuclear wastes. More effort to bring the real costs of all energy sources into balance can do nothing but improve our environment and help us realize the actual consequences of our various options.

William H. Miller Columbia, Mo.

What about Canadian workers?

Regarding your article "Can Juan Doe keep prices low?" (April 26): Many people fear that Mexican immigrants who are used to much lower wages will serve to severely drive down American wages. Labor shortage is also often the cause of mismatches between employers and employees. Perhaps the Monitor could investigate the effects of further pursuing trade and labor-market co-operation with America's northern neighbor - the current free trade agreement does not cover skill trades or laborers. Due to similar social and economic conditions, Canadians are not as likely to depress American wages while offering highly trained skilled workers. Such an arrangement also brings the potential fringe benefits of helping American businesses expand to Canada, increasing trade and tourism, and thus increasing the efficiency of both economies.

Fergus Young Innerkip, Ontario

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