National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)

Chapter: OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE

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Suggested Citation:"OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE." 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 23
Suggested Citation:"OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE." 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 24

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The integration The video conference at Jane’s school involves students from five different class- “Why, at the beginning of the of computers into rooms around the country. They’ve been 1980s, did 500 of the top studying evolutionary pressures on the classroom is just microorganisms caused by groundwater Fortune 1,000 companies contamination. The virtual classroom is not survive into the one small part of what joined today by a professor from Canada nineties? They couldn’t who has been studying the same subject, will be needed to reinvent and he briefly describes some of his find- learn how to improve or schools. Consider, for example, ings and takes questions from the assem- dramatically revolutionize what an average day could be like bled students. what they were doing.” for the high school student of the The day has been a busy one for Jane, future. After breakfast, Jane logs onto the —MARGARET EVANS GAYLE, but she’ll need to catch up with a few sub- school’s mainframe from home to upload jects after school that she missed during TRIANGLE MANAGEMENT GROUP her homework assignment. The work is her practicum. When she leaves the school AND 21 ST C ENTURY F UTURE stored in her electronic portfolio, where she takes with her a CD-textbook—a text CORPORATION she and her teachers have been tracking that includes a CD-ROM illustrating the Jane’s progress throughout her high principles described in the book. school years. Then Jane spends some time All of the technologies needed to con- reviewing the original manuscripts of the duct this kind of education already exist. Federalist papers, all fed to her house by Only the information infrastructure and fiber optic cable from the National personal skills needed to make such an Archives in Washington, D.C. education a reality are still missing. This Jane is scheduled to take part in her new, all-encompassing form of educa- practicum this morning, so when she tion—termed hyperlearning by writer leaves the house she heads for the hospital, Lewis Perelman—combines new technolo- where she and a group of other students gies, new educational arrangements, and a are learning the principles behind a new imaging device and how to operate it. On the terminal at the hospital she reads a note from her biology teacher that a video- conference has been scheduled for one o’clock that afternoon. Still there’s enough time to stop by an arcade at lunchtime to check out the hot new virtual reality game. OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE (Above) In the interactive pro- gram “School Life” from Jostens Learning Corporation, students put together a sequence of scenes for a movie they are cre- ating. The use of technologies that span activities that are now largely separated—time spent at home, at school, at “It isn’t a matter of intellec- the movies—offers a way for tual debate as to whether or educational endeavors to per- meate everyday life. not we will or will not have technology. We will have technology, and it will change education. One of these days, every student will have access to a large database and a computer, and then we will have to ask The latest virtual more than one person rapidly expanding mar- the question: What is the reality devices, such to share the same kets for business, cre- as this system from virtual experience. ating an entrepreneurial educational enterprise Virtuality Entertain- The use of such tech- engine that will going to do?” ment, Inc., can be nologies for education help drive the reinven- —ALVIN TRIVELPIECE , OAK RIDGE networked to allow will open up large and tion of schools. NATIONAL LABORATORY

B usinesses and much deeper understanding of how people The much greater involvement of the think and learn to imbue the entire day private sector in education will inevitably venture capital with learning. In its effects be shaped by developments are attracted to on schools, it reflects simi- within both government and lar changes going on in “Educational technology is an good ideas, and private industry. The consumer perfect example of an out- business, where the transi- electronics, computer, software, the new markets tion to a knowledge econ- standing dual use technolo- entertainment, cable television, for educational omy and intense competi- and telecommunications indus- gy where [the defense technologies are tion are forcing compa- tries are all being drawn into a department] can undertake nies to reengineer their web of interconnections. These already drawing basic procedures. collaborative activities that partnerships and synergies will considerable attention. But As technology moves provide new ways to use and will push to the forefront for these investments to pay from the periphery to the interact with information the application of technolo- beyond what we see today. center of education, it is off they must lead to prod- creating many new oppor- Government at all levels must gy in education.” ucts and services that are tunities for established ensure that education receives businesses, for startup —JOHN M. DEUTCH, DEPUTY both interesting and based adequate attention in this com- SECRETARY OF DEFENSE companies, and for ven- munications revolution. The on national standards and ture capitalists to make a huge markets for entertainment, systemic reform. profit while serving edu- personal communication, and The potential for crossover cational ends. The linkages between tech- business information could be powerful nologies used in school and technologies levers for educational technologies, but the between the educational and used at home further increase the size of public and private sectors must work business systems is great. this market. By making educational tech- together to make education a priority. Educators can use new tech- nologies profitable, these trends could unleash a powerful nologies to invest in learning entrepreneurial force activities, while venture capi- within education. talists can invest in educa- tional products and services Cecilia Lenk and David as a way of developing new Dockterman of Tom markets. Children can gain Snyder Productions, Inc., access to interesting educa- lead the convocation audience through a ses- tional technologies, educa- sion of “The Great Solar tors can benefit from chil- System Rescue.” In the dren who are more interest- interactive, videodisc- based program, groups of ed in learning, and invest- students search for ments made today will pro- space probes lost in the duce both short-term and solar system. Using data they uncover during their long-term economic returns search, such as the rela- THE EDUCATIONAL MARKET for the companies and indi- tive mass of the Earth SIMULATION viduals who make them. and Venus (below), stu- dents work cooperatively INTERACTIVE BOOKS to form theories about each probe’s location. PROBLEM SOLVING Though it incorporates many of the elements of CREATIVITY AND PLAY a game, “The Great Solar System Rescue” is a GAMES carefully constructed edu- cational tool. Many of the DRILL AND PRACTICE other educational prod- ucts now available EDUTAINMENT CARTRIDGE GAMES through the information technologies shown at TOOLS/REFERENCE right draw on role play- ing, reward structures, REMEDIAL EDUCATION and cooperative activities to encourage learning. CURRICULUM/TEACHING/ASSESSMENT ENGLISH AS SECOND LANGUAGE CORP/JOB/ VOCATIONAL TRAINING EARLY ELEMENTARY/ HIGH ADULT LIFELONG LEARNER MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHOOL LEARNING

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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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