What shape the school of the future will take is amorphous, but most educators and observers agree that the future school will go electronic with a capital E.
"Next century, schools as we know them will no longer exist," says a feature in The Age publication, based in Melbourne, Australia. "In their place will be community-style centers operating seven days a week, 24 hours a day." Computers will become an essential ingredient in the recipe for an effective school of the future.
Students, The Age asserts, will see and hear teachers on computers, with "remote learning" the trend of tomorrow. Accessing "classrooms" on their home computers, students will learn at times most convenient for them. Yet some attendance at an actual school will be required to help students develop appropriate social skills.
At Seashore Primary School, an imaginary school of the future created by the Education Department of Australia, technology is the glue that holds classes together. At the imaginary Seashore school:
all teachers and students have laptop computers.
teachers check voicemail and return students' calls on a special telephone system.
students use telephones to find information or speak to experts in subject areas they are studying.
all lessons are multidisciplinary.
all students have individual learning plans created by teachers.
As Seashore's acting principal says, a laptop computer is the students' "library, homework, data storage, and connection to the wider world. (Technology) has changed the emphasis to the learning of kids rather than the teaching of kids."
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