National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)

Chapter: BURGEONING MARKETS

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Suggested Citation:"BURGEONING MARKETS." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Page 21
Suggested Citation:"BURGEONING MARKETS." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
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Page 22

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A five-year-old hardware and software for home use are accelerating. Led by companies such as “Technology is competing sitting in front of Broderbund Software Inc., Davidson & with gymnasiums, with the Associates, and the Learning Company, a computer monitor sales of home learning programs have acquisition of new school been growing by 50 percent a year. With is interacting with an buses, with a wide range of the entry of large firms like Nintendo, on-screen zookeeper who is things that schools have to Microsoft, and Paramount into the home feeding baby animals and giving education market, sales of education soft- spend their dollars on.... a lesson in measuring. Nearby, a ware for the home are projected to sur- So while there is a very classmate is directing the movements pass $1 billion annually by the end of the definite role for technology, of a computer-animated dog built from decade. blocks that is teaching about combina- The market for software in the schools we have to identify what tions of shapes. On a third monitor a fel- is even larger. In the 1993-94 school year, the needs are in a school low student explores the properties of pri- schools spent over $600 million on educa- system. How can technology mary numbers with the computerized tional software, and the amount is project- image of a boy blowing soap bubbles. All ed to grow by 20 percent per year. effectively help a child of these interactive lessons are being con- However, steady and effectively support the trolled by a single file-server computer, as growth does not mean “Many of the products that needs of a teacher?” are dozens of other lessons being shown an easy road for the are popular in the home or —PROCTOR HOUSTON, JOSTEN’S on monitors throughout the school. companies trying to Just a few years ago such capabilities serve the school mar- retail portion of the busi- LEARNING CORPORATION would have seemed many years away. But ket. Funding for pub- ness are also products that systems like this are already being used in lic education is tight are popular in the school some schools across the United States. To and comes from many the extent that educators are able to use different sources. The market. So the home-school the full interactive capabilities of these market is also frag- connection is not as far powerful new devices, technology is mented and diverse, away as you may believe.” already catalyzing the reinvention of which makes it diffi- —FOREST BARBIERI , schools. cult for companies to Powerful learning systems are also target education cus- EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES showing up in homes. Today about a third tomers. The best of the households in the United States school software is dif- contain a personal com- ferent from home software, taking advan- puter of some kind, tage of groups of students and teachers to and purchases of promote communication and collabora- In “Feeding Time” BURGEONING (top), a videotaped zookeeper asks for help 22 MARKETS in feeding baby ani- mals; in “Geodog” (middle), students use the computer to control an animated dog made of blocks. These two programs and dozens of others can run simultaneously under the control of a single The Educational Hardware and Software Markets computer, with addi- tional input from satel- Estimated K-12 Public School Technology Expenditures in Millions of Dollars lite links or videocam- 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 eras (bottom). These so-called Integrated Non-ILS* Hardware 1,146.4 1,315.9 1,451.3 Learning Systems (ILS) ILS Hardware 144.8 172.4 252.5 offer comprehensive and individualized Non-ILS Software 347.4 412.8 459.6 instructional activities ILS Software 90.1 158.6 168.1 that are orchestrated by a central computer. Other 56.6 68.8 95.4 1,785.4 2,128.5 2,426.8 TOTAL *ILS=Integrated Learning System

W “One of the exciting things t ion. And a suspicion of tions are increasing, but not at ith more than that we can do with this technology lingers among a rate that will enable most 23 million wonderful new technology many educators, particularly students to use these tech- computers in among those who have seen nologies. Similarly, sophisti- is to engage young people’s highly touted technologies cated educational software American minds in a way that has fail in the past. that takes advantage of the homes, the never been done before. Parents have been an capabilities of new systems is consumer important prod to many With the kinds of simulations just starting to appear. schools. As they buy digital Given the pace at which demand for edu- that we can create, we technologies for use in the the market is changing, many cational and can actually take children home, they see how signifi- school systems are reluctant entertainment products and cant these technologies are to make a strong commit- and put them into worlds in the lives of their children. ment to educational tech- services has created a sub- that they have never They then begin to ask why nologies. But their reluctance stantial economic market seen before.” the same capabilities cannot is misplaced. The rapid rate that is surpassing the pro- —LAURA LONDON, be offered in schools. of change today is an oppor- Yet the job of outfitting tunity, not a problem. The fessional and business mar- AUTODESK , INC. schools with the most recent objective for schools should kets for new information technologies will not be not be to buy into a given technologies. This new and easy. Today U.S. schools technology and then set have about 3 million computers installed, about using that technology to do what quickly growing market is an average of about 30 per school. But they have always done. Schools need to supporting new ventures many are older and cannot run the more use constantly changing technology to and services and is trans- sophisticated and interactive software achieve their underlying objective of being developed today. The numbers of preparing students to live in a constantly forming the companies that more powerful computers, CD-ROM dri- changing world. helped create the informa- ves, videodisk players, and network connec- tion revolution. Expansion and turbulence within the entertainment industry, the textbook pub- lishing industry, and the computer hardware and soft- ware industry are translat- ing K-12 educational possi- bilities into K-12 educational realities. Educators, par- ents, and students are quickly learning with their home computers what new products and services offer. And as the cost of buying and using these new prod- ucts drops, these con- sumers are building a base of experience that will con- tribute to lifelong learning. “When you ask a parent what is the number one The allure of video the line between educa- games spans all ethnic tion technologies and thing that is important in groups and many ages, information technolo- an educational piece of offering an engaging gies will blur, forcing software, surprisingly the entrée into the world of educators to reexamine information technolo- the educational poten- answer is ‘that my child gies. As schools tial of technologies that likes it.’ It has to be fun embrace the goal of are used widely outside enough to compete with educating students for of school. the information age, video games.” —BILL DINSMORE , THE LEARNING COMPANY

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Today's children have grown up immersed in a world of computers and other information technologies. They play video games; they listen to music on digital compact disks; they help their families program the computerized controls of videocassette players. With all of the exciting innovations in computer technology, children have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving home. Schools by comparison can seem dull.

Education reformers have been developing new approaches for improving the way in which children learn and interact in the classroom. They now must consider the "technology gap" that exists between the technologically rich experiences children have outside the classroom and the comparatively low-tech, in-school environment. The aim is not just to outfit more classrooms with computers. Schools should be changed so that they encompass and guide out-of-school activities that already embrace technology.

Not only is this vision possible, it also is feasible, according to Reinventing Schools. This document, available only as an on-line publication, is based on a meeting at which hundreds of leaders -from government, education, and the entertainment and information technology industries-developed strategies for reinvigorating the K-12 educational process by integrating the school experience with the information technology that has captured children's imaginations.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Academy Industry Program of the National Research Council, Coca-Cola Endowment Fund of the National Research Council, and Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

This is a web-only publication available at:

http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/techgap/welcome.html.

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