SHIRLEY M. MALCOM
American Association for the Advancement of Science
"There are many possible futures . . . Not all possible futures are equally probable. Not all possible futures are equally desirable. What is most desirable among the possibilities is not necessarily the most probable in the absence of some concerned effort to make it so."
With that statement, Nickerson prefaces the charge to the panel convened to consider the role of technology in education over the next several decades. I focus on the diverse student population to be served in the Year 2020, their educational needs, and how technology might help to meet those needs.
Raul Gomez walked in the door of his inner-city middle school classroom rather down in the dumps. "Here we go again," he thinks. If it were not for the compulsory education laws and the possibility that his mother could be arrested if he were truant, he wouldn't bother to come at all. He spends a lot of his day sitting in front of the computer doing endless drill and practice.
To increase educational efficiency and to help Raul's teacher cope with 35 students the district put computers in the classroom. Some of the children work on the computers while the teacher works directly with the others. For 14 students, English is not their native language. Among them, there are seven different languages spoken. If he had to go through another set of practice problems and subject/verb agreements, he'd go crazy. Occasionally, just for a