Raymond W. Smith: CEO of Bell Atlantic

It has been almost 20 years since Raymond W. Smith began to consider the impact that technology could have on the lives of dyslexic students.

When my son Paul turned out to have dyslexia, and in the process of doing that I’m remembering what was going on with me. I didn’t know the word back when I was in St. Catherine’s in Pittsburgh. We went and got one of the very first computers and used it primarily as a word processor because Paul was able to hit those keys but he just wasn’t able to form the letters and I knew how tough that was. Using that word processor he turned himself into a wonderful writer and writes beautiful letters today and he found himself able to express himself.

Soon, Smith became an advocate for other children with learning challenges.

We convinced the school to allow him to do it and I said, “My Lord, how many people are like that, either because of dyslexia or because they’ve been disadvantage or because they don’t have a particular skill.” You give them that computer to work with and their lives change and self-esteem just comes roaring out of them
and I’ve seen it in schools.

This led to a dream of how he could help others across the country learn better.

I want to deliver that to every single home in this country. The ability to have the very best teaching devices on your television set will, I think, change the educational structure of this country in a very positive way.