“By the year 2005, changes in the basic materials and processes of education will be demonstrated … throughout the country,” according to the authors. “Five years from now, you will see considerable technology-based innovation in many school systems, and there will be technology-based alternatives for accomplishing instructional, management, and communication processes.”

To keep track of how your school or district is moving toward this vision of the future, the authors suggest using the following framework, first developed by the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools (http://www.defenselink.mil):

  1. Computers. Computer-to-student ratio will be 1 to 5 by 2005. Handheld and wireless devices will make inroads, though PCs will be most common.

  2. Curriculum. At least 40 percent of instructional materials that are now provided in print will be provided electronically. Already, some estimates say 10 percent of today’s instructional material is web-based. Not only will the amount grow, but its sophistication will increase as the dynamic and interactive capabilities of electronic information are realized. This will enable more student-directed learning, especially from software that provides feedback on a student’s progress.

  3. Corporatization. Outsourcing of data management will become common, spreading far beyond tentative steps into online purchasing and curriculum development.

  4. Connectivity. High-speed networks truly will create an anytime, anywhere learning experience. Specialized classes, such as Advanced Placement or foreign languages, will be available to all students.

  5. Competence. Professional development will continue its rise in the consciousness of administrators. Training programs that allow teachers to learn at the time and place of their choosing will become the models for upgrading all types of educator skills.