These vital elements position policy makers, cognitive researchers, teachers and administrators, and technologists to work together effectively to harness the power of information technology so that it can transform the productivity of K-12 education, just as it has done for the business community and many other aspects of society.

Cochair Roy Pea followed Wulf. He began his remarks by quoting John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems: “The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education.” (Friedman, 1999). Pea thought this comment indicated that the time was ripe for the ILIT project. He identified the following “megatrends” within the educational landscape that could aid the project by coalescing the three principal communities:

  • Learning Sciences ResearchHow People Learn (NRC, 1999b) explains the solid scientific basis for guiding advances in curriculum, pedagogy, teacher education, and assessment. A corollary project on bridging theory and practice (NRC, 1999c) discusses the divide between what is known in the learning sciences and what appears in teacher education programs, reform agendas, textbook and technology-based curricula, and the public perception. How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice provides powerful insights and paradigms for using technology to support learning, such as incorporating authentic and engaging inquiry-based tasks, drawing upon real-world contexts for learning, connecting experts and communities of learners, and considering the social aspects of computing. New approaches to visualization and analysis make very complicated subjects much more accessible through animation, visualization, and other techniques that tap the multiple intelligences of different learners and sustain new forms of learning conversations. Computing can enable complex problem solving that lets students do more challenging things than they could do without it by “scaffolding ” their activities. Information technology facilitates opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision through paradigms ranging from intelligent tutoring systems to more complicated ones that provide frequent assessment and context to guide instruction. IT also permits more focused attention on teacher learning in online communities of practice and other paradigms. While teachers are unlikely to be replaced by these technologies, IT creates new and interesting opportunities and challenges to the ways in which educators can most effectively organize their working lives and carry out their many tasks as lifelong learners and professionals.

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