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Subject: Antonia Stone, provided computers to the poor


Author:
Massachusettes
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Date Posted: November 27, 2002 9:54:03 EDT

Antonia Stone, a prep-school mathematics teacher who left the classroom after 20 years of teaching and devoted herself to instructing the poor and the imprisoned about the importance of personal computers, died on Thursday at her home in Watertown, Mass. She was 72.

Ms. Stone was an early critic of the so-called technology gap between the rich and the poor and set out to narrow it by providing computers to people who otherwise might not have access to them.

She began by establishing a program with the Fortune Society, a group that advocates for inmates, to teach former prisoners how to use computers and to bring computer-education courses into New York prisons.

In 1983, she created Playing to Win Inc., a computer center in the basement of a public housing project in East Harlem. At the center, local children were encouraged, in a casual setting, to use reading, math and geography programs on the computer. Ms. Stone attracted her first participants by canvassing the local playgrounds and talking to children about the crucial role that computers played and would continue to play in society.

Playing to Win, renamed the Community Technology Centers' Network, caught on and eventually opened affiliates across the country and in Europe, Central America and Japan. With more than 1,000 community-based technology centers worldwide, the group tries to create "a society in which all people are equitably empowered by technology skills and usage," according to its Web site, ctcnet.org.

Ms. Stone was raised in New Canaan, Conn., and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1952. She taught math in several private schools in New York City during the 1970's and eventually became the chairwoman of the math departments at the Town School and the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.

She received many honors, including the lifetime achievement award from the Harvard chapter of Women in Technology and an honorary degree from De Paul University's College of Computer Science.

She is survived by her partner, Tim Barclay; her sons, Christopher Stone of Brooklyn, and Nicholas Stone of Falls Church, Va.; and her daughter, Rebecca Stone of Brookline, Mass.

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