Technology & Learning, October 1998, p. 30

Senior editor Jean Shields at Technology & Learning outlines two areas of education technology where leaders will begin to see more change.

The first is the emergence of so-called “portal” Web sites. A portal site offers enhanced services such as online travel agents, stock quotes, chat rooms, auctions, and other specialized and customizable features. Yahoo and Netscape are leading this push to add web-based services to their traditional directory and search functions.

Shields thinks the portals are a good concept, but says consumers and educators must be wary: as commercialization on the Web increases, many companies pay owners of portal sites for special treatment in search results and placement. This blurs the traditional boundary between editorial and advertising decisions.

On the computer chip front, Shields advises you to watch for sinking prices on the processors that drive lower-end sub-$1,000 PCs, in addition to more powerful chips that will let these less expensive machines run faster. Plus, the new line of chips mean bargains on the old ones.