Hope Katz Gibbs

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Fast Forward / Washington Post

Fast Forward: Microsoft’s Student Misses the Grade [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business: Page 1
The Washington Post
June 2006

WITH MICROSOFT STUDENT 2006, THE Redmond, Wash., software giant has done some serious homework—in the hope that it can help teens and tweens do the same. This $100 release (Windows 2000 or XP) sets out to provide middle and high school students with an easy-to-use reference library. It also aims to help kids get more out of Microsoft Office a copy of Office XP or 2003 is required to install Student. Cynics might say that this makes Student a fine way to get future customers hooked on Microsoft’s products at an impressionable age. But this ambitious release really is a sound idea. It just doesn’t quite succeed at its goals.

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Fast Forward / GVOX: On the Web, Music for Your Eyes [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post
March 15, 2005

I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, but it was always too expensive, or too inconvenient, to take lessons. The one time I actually sat down to learn to play a tune, it was on my daughter’s Little Tykes blue plastic piano; using a color-coded guide I taught myself “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” but I didn’t get much further. I’d like to think my kids wouldn’t have the same problem. A Web site called NotationStation (http://vrvw.Aoiationstation.net) offers one way around this time/space problem by offering its music lessons online. Gvox, the Philadelphia firm that runs the site, launched it in May after shelving its earlier line of music-lesson CD-ROMs. The company had sold less than $2 million worth of software last year and didn’t expect to do much better, given that its customers also had to buy $50 worth of hardware to connect a guitar or other instrument to a computer.

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Fast Forward: Software Reviews [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / Business section
The Washington Post

*Hope has been a regular software / hardware reviewer for Fast Forward in the Business section of The Washington Post. Starting in 1996, she wrote dozens of reviews about the latest educational software programs to hit the market (see examples below). Others were timely reviews of software programs._ Here are a handful of samples:

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
THE MYSTERY OF THE MUMMY
BARBIE EXPLORER
LEGO SPYBOTICS SNAPTRAX S3S
• EXCEL@MIDDLESCHOOL
TAX SOFTWARE: At the top of its forms?

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Fast Forward: Can Distance Learning Go the Distance? [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
Internet Safety for Kids
January 1998

WHEN DOROTHY HENNESSEY GETS HOME from her job at the Department of Defense, she does what most mothers of three do. She makes sure the kids-ages 4, 8 and 12-are playing quietly or doing their homework, straightens up the house a little and starts to cook dinner. Twice a week, though, Hennessey, 33, does what many other parents only dream of: She saunters up to her bedroom, puts on her pajamas and turns on her computer to log on to the online course she’s taking to get her MBA through Strayer College. Classes meet online Tuesday and Thursday from 6:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hennessey simply logs on to the school’s Web page , heads for her class’s page and fires up a special program. The instructor delivers a brief lecture in voice and text, reviews assigned chapters and students respond by typing comments on their keyboards. Often, the class will break into small cyber-groups, working in chat rooms to discuss the issue at hand. Hennessey says she finds this approach to be much more interactive—and a more effective way of learning—than courses she’s taken on campus.

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Fast Forward: Thinking Outside the Blocks [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
May 14, 1999

WHILE TECHNOLOGY OFTEN GETS pegged as the bad guy, it can also just as quickly be praised as the solution. Consider how, in the wake of the Littleton, CO shooters’ use of the Web, parents are looking something, anything, to check what their kids up to online. The answer, it would seem, is a filtering program to blocks kids from violent, sexually explicit or other objectionable sites. There are plenty to choose from, including NetNanny, CyberPatrol, SurfWatch, Edmark’s KidDesk Internet Safe, CyberCop or America Online’s built-in filtering system. They all basically work the same way: If a kid tries to get into a site that is off limits, either according to program’s guidelines or custom filters added by parents—the program blocks access to it. Try to circumvent that, and you are logged off and have to reboot the computer until you enter a secret password (which parents have keyed in and, hopefully, then hidden).

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Fast Forward: Software to Block the Hardcore [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
Kids and Computers: Porn-Free
April 25, 1997

LAST WEEKEND, MY HUSBAND AND I set out to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies a few weekends ago. But when I opened the package of brown sugar, I found it hard as a quarry. I’d once read about a quick way to soften brown sugar, but couldn’t remember how. So I logged onto the Internet and fed the words “brown sugar” into a search engine. I found a lot more than I bargained for—and depending on your disposition, much of it wasn’t sweet. Yahoo! Suggested: “Brown Sugar Shack—instant access to XXX sex images of nude adult black and brown females;” and “Sexy Brown Sugar—erotic and hardcore pictures of beautiful black women.” I clicked on both links (so sue me). On my screen were vivid photos of naked women posed on stacks of pillows. OK, there were dots over their private parts, and a warning did pop up stating that anyone under 18 should click no further. But please. It didn’t ask for my driver’s license.

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Fast Forward: Screen Your Children Well [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
Internet Safety for Kids
May 1996

RICKY, 13, WAS ON AN ONLINE SMUT HUNT. Fortunately, it was just an experiment for the adolescent from Gaithersburg, MD wasn’t the type to sneak around in search of trouble—online or otherwise. But, the honor student was willing to test the waters—supervised, of course. His task: to find sordid material on the Internet. “X-rated stuff?” he asked, looking to his Uncle Mike for permission. Mike nodded. Seated in front of a supped-up Power Mac the pair began their search. Admittedly, neither had a clue where to start their prowl, so they turned to a printed directory: Random House’s NetGuide. In the Contents section, under Lifestyles, Leisure and Travel, was a section labeled Sex.

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Fast Forward: Kidz Online [The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Fast Forward / The Washington Post
Kids and Computers
March 1996

THE KIDS ARE NOT SMILING. Sharon Cruver wants to take pictures at the Silver Spring Boys & Girls Club, but the eight assembled teens are stone-faced. Luckily Cruver, the mother of Sharon teenage twins, is familiar with the routine. “The pictures will help you create your own home pages,” she cajoles. “We’ll post your photo on the computer, and beside it you write your name, e-mail address and a little about yourself so other kids can get to know you.” The idea of being seen by their peers seems to loosen the kids up, and they start to grin. Cruver quickly snaps the shots. But she’s taken on a much bigger challenge than generating smiles-she’s tackling the task of “leveling the high-tech playing field” by helping poor kids learn about computers and online technology. Her main weapon is Kidz Online, a free, closely monitored electronic playground she and her family launched in 1994.

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Handheld Lets Kids Leap Into Learning [Fast Forward / The Washington Post]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Special to The Washington Post
Fast Forward, Business
June 6, 2004

What if, instead of aggressive action games or Hollywood-produced tie-in titles, a handheld offered some sort of educational value?

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More Fast Forward / Washington Post Articles


"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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