ANDREA A. DISESSA University of California, Berkeley
The line of argumentation in this chapter is straightforward. First, I argue that what it will mean to be educated in 2020 is much more under our control than might be expected. Second, I discuss some of the directions we might profitably pursue given the degrees of freedom suggested in the first argument. Many of these involve computers in significant measure, but many come just as much from a progressing sense of what a good education should be, independent of the means used to achieve it; a change in goals is as important as a change in means. Finally, I look at some roadblocks and some more practical matters concerning who really has the power to bring about educational change. My concern is mostly with science and mathematics education at the precollege level, but my remarks are not intended to be exclusively aimed in that direction.
It is fashionable to argue that the needs of our technological and information- intensive society are creating demands, indeed, perhaps fomenting a crisis in our educational system. The "information explosion" means that we need faster and better thinkers, able to scan, digest, assess, and act on a bewildering bombardment of facts. If I looked, I am sure I could find a statistic that says something like "the amount of information that will be discovered in the next 20 years will surpass the total in all our previous history!" The implication seems obvious: Everyone needs to learn more and more, and faster and faster.
There is a degree of truth in these statements. Certainly in engineering, for