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Back to the Future - Tech Learning

Back to the Future

View the Timeline Mobile Computing "In 1991, each student might travel to and from school with a dynabook — a small, book-size electronic device with a display screen and a small, touch-sensitive typewriter keyboard — which can plug in to a student workstation and be connected to a school-wide and
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Mobile Computing

"In 1991, each student might travel to and from school with a dynabook — a small, book-size electronic device with a display screen and a small, touch-sensitive typewriter keyboard — which can plug in to a student workstation and be connected to a school-wide and national information network." — Ricky Carter, Classroom Computer News, 1981

"In 1998, students can plug their own workstations in to the whole-school network. Or the school might be equipped with a wireless network, much like a cellular phone system." — Tom Greaves, 1990

Hands-On Learning

"In 1997, having attained outstanding visual displays, developers are now focusing on tactile displays as well. For example, mice are available that allow users to 'feel' the things they're 'touching' on the screen. The amount of resistance they feel from the mouse corresponds to the size of the object being moved on the screen. Advances in this arena make a big difference to young children because they learn so kinesthetically." — Alan Kay, 1990

Games

"In 1992, Nintendo not only continues to dominate the home market, it is also having a significant impact on schools. Seymour Papert's work with the company leads to continuing debate about educational versus commercial policies, ethics, appropriate pedagogy, and so on." — Stephen Marcus, 1990

Equity

"In 1999, a presidential commission has been established to study the growing inequity in computer allocation. Apparently, most computers are being used to deliver instruction to poor inner-city schools, putting these students at a clear disadvantage. All of the best jobs and places in incoming college classes are going to applicants who were 'fully teacher taught.'" — Tom Snyder, 1990

Virtual Reality

"As a new century begins, students enter the classroom and don virtual reality body suits, cleverly designed computer interfaces that take the place of today's mice and keyboards. The body suits...enable an entire class of students and their teacher to journey back to the American Revolution, out to the farthest limits of the solar system, or into the nucleus of an atom. Student research teams, traveling on their own, send electronic 'hyperpostcards' to their teacher, telling her they wish she were there. It is not always clear, however, where 'there' is, or if there is really a 'there' at all. In the virtual classroom, some students are physically in the room while others attend through two-way interactive computer, voice, and video hook-ups. Electronic 'teachers for a day' (ranging from authors to sports stars to incarcerated prisoners) visit the classroom as computer telepresences and participate in group discussions and lessons. — Fred D'Ignazio, 1990

Global Competition

"In 1991, as the United States steadily loses its worldwide lead in technology, a worried federal government initiates a program of significant funding for school technology support. It is titled the 'National Defense Educational Technology Act' to ensure its passage." — Don Rawitsch, 1990

Internet

"Every future scenario for our information society projects a world linked entirely by telecommunications, a world in which teachers and students interact daily with vast amounts of data that circle the globe at the speed of light." — Odvard Egil Dyrli, 1993

Where Now?

For predictions of what "school" will look like in 25 years, stay tuned for Technology & Learning's third special anniversary report, "Envisioning the Future," in November.

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The Back Page(7)

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