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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Schools of the Future, A 10-Year Old's Vision

You may recall in my post about the student panel at VSS (see VSS2007 - Student Panel) I indicated that Susan Patrick and NACOL should get a copy of what the youngest participant wrote about schools of the future. Well, today that was posted in one of the NACOL forums and I wanted to make sure I re-posted it here.
Prior to 2007 VSS, Susan Patrick (NACOL CEO & President) asked the students: "In addition to the online learning questions, I would like you to consider what the "future of education" looks like for K-12 schools ­ specifically, imagine what schools of the future should look like to deliver the very best education in a global, information-rich, digital world. Please spend some time thinking through how schools should be designed in 20 years. How can time be used differently ­ learning at any pace? How can the buildings be designed differently ­ wireless, flexible spaces with internet connectivity and laptops like a huge Starbucks with conference rooms for teacher-student or student-student meetings? How would it look and function differently? How can information or courses be different and help students prepare for the 21st century?"

Here is one response we'd like to share with everyone:

I think all grade levels will be driven by the latest technology and the buildings will be altered to support that technology. I think instead of carrying backpacks full of books, every student will have a laptop. I also think elementary, middle school, and high school will place different emphasis on the level of technology versus the level of social interaction. For example, in elementary school grades K-2 will have some computer interface (online and teacher classes) with heavy emphasis on physical and social development and interaction. Starting in 3rd grade, students will begin more lessons on line and must master the skill set or subject matter before advancing to the next chapter, grade level, etc.

Middle schools will concentrate mostly on subject matter via online with maybe the exception of related arts classes. Middle schools will emphasize the development of thinking sills including problem solving and analytical thinking. This will also help students with their organizational and time management skills. Teacher interface will still be important at the middle school level.

By the time students reach high school the school will be more like an open campus with limited teacher interface. Students will have the skills to go further into the subject matter that interests them as well as taking harder, more demanding college preparatory classes. Students will have access to the latest in communications, real time videos, etc. which will prepare them for the working world.

I wish this is how the schools are set up now. I mean, having a laptop, how cool is that?!

-Elizabeth, age 10, student from Kentucky Virtual School

Wendy C. Fleming
Communicatins Manager
North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL)
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA 22182
Office 703-752-6216
Fax 703-752-6201

Save the Date!
2007 Virtual School Symposium
November 4-6, 2007 in Louisville, KY

Now, isn't that interesting! What do you think? Should schools look like this? If not, what would you change?

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