project-based learning; and dealing with external impediments while fostering approaches within the schools that are as productive as possible.

Presenters were Mary Cullinane, academic program manager at Microsoft’s School of the Future Program; Betty Manchester, director of special projects at the Maine Department of Education; and Vera Michalchik, a research social scientist at SRI’s Center for Technology Learning. Respondents were Joyce Malyn-Smith, director of strategic initiatives at the Education Development Center and Philip Sumida, a physics instructor at the Maine Township High School West (Des Plaines, Illinois) and a former member of the National Research Council’s Teacher Advisory Council.


Mary Cullinane described a “school of the future” project in which Microsoft is a lead collaborator for the School District of Philadelphia. Scheduled to open in September 2006, this school will be a neighborhood high school for 750 local students. “It’s not focused on math and science, and it’s not focused on the arts,” she said. “We are trying to demonstrate the norm in urban education, not the extraordinary.”

Cullinane recounted the “critical questions” that she and her fellow team members asked themselves during their planning for the school, and she suggested that these questions are pertinent as well to cultivating ICT fluency among students at any high school.

  • What are we trying to create? The high school of the future, Cullinane said, should have a learning environment that is continuous (“not dependent on time and place”); relevant (“in its materials, curriculum, and outputs”); and adaptive (“allowing us to address the individual student”).

  • Who are we creating it for? A school ultimately serves students’ future workplaces. It should graduate young people well prepared for success, both in building their own careers and in advancing their organizations’ values—and value to society. But for a school to realize such objectives, she said, it must first and foremost know its students.

  • How will you organize your work? “Key areas of development that we are working on in the school of the future,” said Cullinane, include “innovation in the areas of building design, IT (information tech-

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