BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 25, 2000 ISSUE
SPECIAL REPORT

Schools of the Future


There will still be neighborhood schools, as there are now. But a decade from now, if districts take full advantage of emerging e-learning technologies, it could change much of what will happen in these schools. Here's a look at how some of the most important players could be affected:

PLUGGED-IN PUPILS
Forget the Sherpa-like loads kids carry around on their backs. They will use devices such as wireless handhelds, PCs, and e-books to access the Internet anytime, anywhere. Advanced voice recognition will make them easier to use.

ADMINISTRATORS
With more information about how students are doing, administrators will become more effective. Today's bloated bureaucracies will shrivel as schools adopt e-business practices, saving billions of dollars that could be redirected to areas that will improve quality, such as increasing teacher pay.

TEACHERS
Soon, teachers will collaborate across the country with colleagues to develop lesson plans electronically. They, too, will rely less on textbooks as they use intelligent search agents to develop digital projects.

CLASSROOMS
As students spend more time doing projects, rows of desks will give way to cooperative learning tables where students work in teams to solve problems.

DISTANCE LEARNING
Students will have far more courses to choose from as distance learning explodes. This technology also will allow students to take virtual field trips, collaborate with experts and students around the world, and do research at the Library of Congress.

PARENTS
Mom and Dad will get more plugged-in as they exchange e-mails with teachers and view their children's work online and through Webcasts.

TESTS
Today's paper-and-pencil relics will give way to electronic assessments that provide just-in-time updates on student progress while measuring performance on complex tasks.

HOMEWORK
More learning will take place at home, as assignments become interactive and individualized to meet a child's needs. An army of online tutors--from grad students to retired engineers--will give more students one-on-one help.



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