Sylvia Charp

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The use of information technology in learning is gaining irreversible momentum as it cuts across disciplines and enhances learning opportunities for all ages... Sylvia Charp Dr. Sylvia Charp: 1918–2003.

Quoting from:

The Center for Education lost a friend and one of its most ardent supporters this year. Dr. Sylvia Charp, a pioneer in the field of technology in education, died Aug. 24 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident.
Dr. Charp was editor of the nationally renowned T.H.E.

[Technological Horizons in Education] Journal and was instrumental in developing the Center for Education’s assistive technology program.

Through the Charp-Wiggins Foundation, which supports teachers who are studying the use of technology-based education for the challenged student, Dr. Charp donated funds that enabled the Center for Education to build its assistive technology resources. In addition, a Charp Scholarship Fund was established to underwrite tuition for students in a specially designed, interdisciplinary, Web enhanced assistive technology course. As a continuing legacy and as testament to her interest in Widener University, Dr. Charp’s estate recently donated an additional $50,000 to the Center for Education.
The Center for Education is deeply grateful for Dr. Charp’s vision and enduring support.

About Sylvia Charp

Sylvia Charp died August 23, 2003 from injuries sustained in a car accident. The following was written by Steven W. Gilbert, President, The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group. Sylvia was a Founding Board Member of this non-profit organization.

Sylvia was an educator and leader who helped improve education through the use of computers in this country and throughout the world. She served as Editor-in-Chief of T.H.E. Journal and as a founding member of the board of the TLT Group (and in hundreds of other roles). She provided advice whenever I asked, and sometimes when I didn’t. She never tolerated any pretense, self-importance, or shallow thinking in herself or others. She was insightful, tough-minded, and good-humored.
Sylvia offered a unique perspective on education and technology based on many decades of advocacy and experience in teaching about and with computers. She talked as she wrote: clearly, and bluntly – often skewering a topic with a few sharp insights. She was always looking for what was genuinely new and effective -- what could really help teachers with teaching and students with learning. But she could see through the wild and unproven claims that often accompanied glittering new instructional computing options, and she didn’t hesitate to correct those who were misleading themselves or others. She valued her own time and that of her respected colleagues in education too highly to tolerate imitation progress.
We often laughed together, even in the past few years when she had health problems and still intensely missed her husband who had died suddenly too many years ago. Her frequent comments about Saul and what he meant to her and how much she missed him were a continuing lesson about the depth and staying power of love.
But as I think of her and the pleasure and value I gained from our times together, especially when we could share a meal, I remember her presence and vitality - and how she filled a room. Sylvia never entered timidly; she usually arrived loudly and humorously with an unforgettable scratchy voice and yet without a trace of arrogance or awareness of her own importance.
Speaking of entering rooms, we often enjoyed reminding each other about our own “private dining room.”
Sylvia lived all her life in or near Philadelphia. About a dozen years ago, when I was living in Princeton, New Jersey, we agreed to meet for lunch half-way between in Trenton, New Jersey – for another rambling conversation. I had become a fan of the family-run Italian restaurants in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, and wanted to enjoy one of those meals with her. So, I picked Sylvia up at the Trenton train station well before noon, drove into Chambersburg, and parked near several restaurants. We walked by a few and selected one that looked like it might offer good food and a quiet place to talk.
As we entered, we saw a few people relaxing together at a table in a dimly lit bar room which was otherwise empty. Sylvia immediately began chatting with the people and asked for a menu, and we agreed this was just the place for our lunch. We were shown into the adjoining dining room and seated at a pleasantly appointed table.
We were happy to be early enough to have the spacious dining room all to ourselves. We ordered and enjoyed a freshly almost-home-cooked Italian meal and a leisurely conversation that continued well into the afternoon. When we finished and were preparing to leave, we finally noticed that we were still the only customers in the dining room. We paid our very reasonable check, and Sylvia remarked to the cashier that we couldn’t understand why this restaurant was doing so little business when the food was so good and the prices so low. He gently replied “Well, we’re not open today.”
The proprietor and I were a little embarrassed, but our discomfort vanished as Sylvia just laughed and made the situation into a joke we could all enjoy together. No one had been able to resist seating and serving us in our “private dining room.” No one had been able to resist Sylvia. She filled that dining room – only a little more unusually and obviously than she filled many other spaces during her wonderful life. Now we’ll have to work a little harder to fill the spaces she has left. I miss her already.

Math Education

Here is the list of members of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Computer-Oriented Mathematics Committee that wrote the 49 page booklet:

Introduction to an Algorithmic Language (BASIC). Copyright 1968. Publisher: NCTM.
Robert L. Albrecht
Sylvia Charp
David C. Johnson
Bruce E. Merserve
John O. Parker
Dina Gladys S. Thompson
William F. Atchison (Chairman)

Begle, Edward; Atchison, William; Charp, Sylvia; Dorn, William; Johnson, David; and Schwartz, Jacob (April 1972). Recommendations regarding computers in high school education. Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences Committee on Computer Education. Prepared with the support of the National Science Foundation.

T.H.E. Journal

About T.H.E. Journal. Quoting from 2/1/2009:

T.H.E. Journal is dedicated to informing and educating K-12 senior-level district and school administrators, technologists, and tech-savvy educators within districts, schools, and classrooms to improve and advance the learning process through the use of technology. Launched in 1972, T.H.E. Journal was the first magazine to cover education technology.
T.H.E. Journal’s franchise consists of the monthly magazine, two Web sites ( and, four newsletters (K-12 Tech Trends, T.H.E. SmartClassroom, EduHound Weekly, and T.H.E. Focus), T.H.E. Institute (research, consulting and professional development), and targeted list rental opportunities.
With a circulation of 90,000 qualified readers, T.H.E. is the largest circulated education technology monthly publication. Each issue contains news, trends, and “how-to” features for K-12 technology decision-makers. Featured topics include networking, security, policy and advocacy, telecom, hardware/software, the smart classroom, mobile computing and wireless, eLearning, technology funding, professional development, technology support--all the important issues for administration and teaching. Each month, T.H.E. Journal also contains product reviews, best practices, peer-written articles, and “in-the-trenches” reporting.

T.H.E Archives go back to January 1994. Sylvia Charp was editor at that time.

When did she first become the Editor?

General Information


Former teacher and administrator--elementary, secondary and university level.

Worked with educational institutions on planning and implementing technology in education.

Consultant on use of technology in education and training to organizations such as Bell Atlantic, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett Packard, Digital Corporation, New York Institute of Technology, University of Hartford, University of Delaware.

International consultant to UNESCO--worked with countries including Turkey, Russia, South Africa, India, Columbia, Japan, South America.

Past President of American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIRS), U.S. Representative to International Federation of Information Processing (IFIPI), and Past President of International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE).

Author of numerous articles and texts.

Comment by Dave Moursund

I knew and worked with Sylvia for many years. My interactions with her were always delightful and enlightening. She was always modest in representing and referring to all of the pioneering activities she had accomplished. In areas such as computer-assisted learning, her breadth and depth of knowledge and her practical experience made her a world class leader.

Through her writing, speaking, and other professional work she was always supportive of the International Council for Computers in Education and the International Society for Technology in Education. I appreciated her insights and help.

References and Sources

This includes references to courses of information about the person as well as references to some of the published works of the person.

1985 interview witrh Dale LaFarenz.

LAFRENZ: Yes, that was about 1963 or no later than 1965, for sure. That was going on in California and we had this

little thing going on in Minnesota. To my knowledge right at that time there weren't any other computer-in-education activities. Soon after the Philadelphia public schools put together a GE computer lab and Sylvia Charp was running that system. She always debates whether she started before we did, but it doesn't make any difference, it was all about the same time. That is what all was happening in the 1960s.

The Suppes and the Sylvia Charp kind of activity became what we now call integrated learning systems. The computer

delivers instruction, and at that time it was all drill and practice software.

T.H.E. Journal (10/1/2003). In loving memory of Dr. Sylvia Charp. Retrieved 1/31/09:

Elliott I. Organick; Thomas A. Keenan; Sylvia Charp; Alexandra Forsythe (July 1966). Computer science in high school mathematics


Computer science in high school mathematics Elliott I. Organick, Thomas A. Keenan, Sylvia Charp, Alexandra Forsythe July 1966 Communications of the ACM , Volume 9 Issue 7 Publisher: ACM Full text available: Pdf (654.43 KB) Additional Information: full citation Bibliometrics: Downloads (6 Weeks): 1, Downloads (12 Months): 20, Citation Count: 0


Computer science in high school mathematics Elliott I. Organick, Thomas A. Keenan, Sylviarp Charp, Alexandra Forsythe January 1966 Proceedings of the 1966 21st national conference Publisher: ACM Full text available: Pdf (539.77 KB) Additional Information: full citation, abstract, index terms Bibliometrics: Downloads (6 Weeks): 1, Downloads (12 Months): 9, Citation Count: 0

In the spring of 1963 an ad hoc Committee on computing chaired by Wallace Givens, and reporting to the Advisory Board of SMSG, presented a number of timely recommendations. The intent of the recommendations was to extend the mathematics ...

Perspectives on a Quarter-Century: AFIPS Presidents Found in: IEEE Annals of the History of Computing By Willis H. Ware , Edwin L. Harder , Bruce Gilchrist , Paul Armer , Richard I. Tanaka , Keith W. Uncapher , Walter L. Anderson , George Glaser , Anthony Ralston , Theodore J. Williams , Albert S. Hoagland , J. Ralph Leatherman , Sylvia Charp , Stephen S. Yau Issue Date:July 1986 pp. 275-302 On July 14, 1985 all but two former/current presidents of AFIPS gathered in Chicago for a discussion about the organization. The transcript that follows was reviewed and edited twice by the participants, as well as by the editors.

Ball, Marion J. and Sylvia Charp (1977). Be a Computer Literate. Creative Computing Press.

Charp, Sylvia (1985). Telecommunications fundamentals. Bell Atlantic Network Services.

1. Layman's Guide to the Use of Computers in Education by Sylvia Charp (Paperback - Nov 1982) Currently unavailable

2. Feasibility study on the use of computer managed learning in secondary schools in the U.S.A by Sylvia Charp (Unknown Binding - 1984) Currently unavailable

3. Computers in general education by Sylvia Charp (Unknown Binding - 1967) Currently unavailable

4. Telecommunications fundamentals by Sylvia Charp (Unknown Binding - 1985) Currently unavailable

Examples of an editorial from THE Journal:

Awards, Honors, Advisory Boards, Etc.

The Online Chronicle of Distance Education and Communication Advisory Board.

Sylvia Charp, Ph.D. T.H.E. JOURNAL Tustin, California USA Volume 7 Number 2 1994

Coaition for etworked Informatin. Advisor. 1992.

Miscellaneous Other Information

Saleem A. Kassam Solomon and Sylvia Charp Professor of Electrical Engineering

Charp-Wiggins fund, Philadelphia. Project: Charp-Wiggins Graduate Assistant for Assistive Technology Funder: Charp-Wiggins Fund, The Philadelphia Foundation Amount: $18,000 Project Director: Dr. Mary Ann Fedrick, Dean, College of Education and Human Development. Source:

In his recent talk at Columbia University (see "Disfigured Hope" below), Professor Arthur Zajonc assessed the current place of the computer in education. Here are some of his observations:
Sylvia Charp's thirty-year history of computers (Technological Horizons in Education, vol. 24, no. 11, pp. 8ff.) is a history of continuous failure and new attempts -- this despite Charp's own optimism.

Author or Authors of this Page

This document was written by David Moursund