CALC Article in "Commodore Magazine" by Howard Millman

October 1988

If Margaret Morabito's energy could be tapped, it could power a small city.

Margaret, operating out of her Rindge, New Hampshire headquarters presides over two of Q-Link's services, Community College and the Tutoring Center; she writes professionally; and also directs the Computer Assisted Learning Center (CALC).

Six years ago, Master of Education degree in hand, Margaret set out to expand the role of computers in education. With a diverse background as a college English instructor, director of a U.S. Army computer center, and an instructor of English for the Navy, she's well qualified for the task.

In January, 1988, she organized [the] CALC [newsletter] to assist and encourage teachers and parents to more effectively use the Commodore 64 and 128 computers in a formal or home learning environment. Margaret clarifies CALC's purpose as expanding the use of computers "not merely to further computer literacy, but to enhance their use in education." Margaret's conduit for getting the word out is CALC's newletter. Each 12-page issue contains features, letters, subscriber questions, and answers as well as reviews of commercial educational software.

Additionally, public domain and shareware software is available directly from CALC at $10 per disk. Each double-sided disk contains between 20 to 100 prescreened programs. One of the more exceptional collections of programs resides on side two o disk #6. Its focus is on helping handicapped students transcend their disabilities while supplementing more traditional educational opportunities.

Education Online

The Tutoring Center that Margaret directs on Q-Link features real-time interaction between students and teachers. Instructors, available in various subjects, hold hour-long classes for students of all ages who require remediation or just a bit of help over the rough spots. Between sessions, students leave their questions on the department's bulletin board.

Q-Link's Community College is more formal. This semester it's offering 35 diverse classes ranging from Mythology to Math to Medical Malpractice. Students formally register for each course and are expected to attend each regularly-scheduled class. In the future, Margaret hopes to issue college-level credits to students who successfully complete each course.

Margaret sees the computer as an underutilized implement. "If any one tool exists that parents and teachers can use to help children, all children, from grade school through college, or adult learners, the computer is that tool." And that help is sorely needed. A recently released study, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, revealed that most children had difficulty with computer applications and programs. Only twenty to thirty percent of computer-related questions asked in a nationwide random sampling of third, seventh and eleventh graders were answered correctly.

Not willing to ignore the needs of teachers or parents who share her enthusiasm of computers in education, Margaret has recently expanded CALC to include coverage and programs for the Amiga and Commodore PC-10 (MS-DOS). She requests that anyone willing to donate public domain educational software for either of these computers, as well as the Commodore 64 and 128, submit them to CALC for national distribution.

Margaret and her dedicated nationwide staff have completed the first steps of a long journey; they deserve the success they've achieved through their diligent efforts. For Margaret, the end is not yet in sight with her many years of experience in education, she well knows that some seeds take longer to bloom than others.
Originally published on page 69 of "Commodore Magazine", October 1988.
Edited for Web page display by CALC, October 1997.
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