Students at Franklin Middle School in Wheaton, Ill., are learning what it would be like to be a pilot, engineer, research scientist, or architect in an applied technology lab class. Labs like the one at Franklin are replacing the decades-old concept of industrial arts with simulations that offer a more realistic view of jobs for the 21st century.

The $170,000 technology lab, which uses space that once belonged to a woodshop still occupying a corner of the school's basement, contains 30 modules to give students a sampling of communication, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and bio-related careers....

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