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'Four C's' Envisioned in Future High-Tech Schools

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The classroom of the next decade will be a high-technology learning center where teachers emphasize "comprehension, critical thinking, communication, and coping,'' educators surveyed for a new study predict.

Those "four C's'' are essential to preparing students for life in a complex and technically oriented world, according to the participants in the survey, sponsored by the Society for Visual Education Inc. in cooperation with the Association for Childhood Education.

The consensus of the respondents--78 classroom teachers, school administrators, media specialists, college faculty members, and state and federal officials--was that classrooms in the 1990's would increasingly combine technological sophistication with a "smaller, more homelike'' environment.

The classroom they envision would be equipped with videocassette recorders and microcomputers, and its students would be expected to be "computer-literate'' no later than the 6th grade.

By the mid-1990's, the respondents said, children in kindergarten through grades 9 will spend almost a quarter of the school day using computers or video technology, either alone or in small groups that stress such skills as cooperation and problem solving.

The respondents were also asked to rate the importance of specific subject areas for future K-9 students.

They cited reading, mathematics, and science as most important, as well as health, fitness, and sex education.

Though teachers responding to the survey also mentioned courses in the humanities and social studies as important, a summary of the results says, "only a few'' said those areas would be "a prominent part of the curriculum in the year 2000.''

But the respondents said they do expect traditional teaching methods and materials to survive the ongoing technological revolution.

"Though new technology has a significant role to play in the next decade ...,'' a summary of the findings notes, "educators believe that books are vital to good language-arts skills, and will continue to provide a resource for research and information.''

"The responses that we received,'' Suzanne T. Issacs, president of the S.V.E., adds in a foreword to the study, "did not indicate that we should expect a radical change in our educational system.''

More information about the study, "Preparing Schools for the Year 2000: The Impact of Technology on America's Classrooms in the Decade Ahead,'' can be obtained from the Society for Visual Education, 1345 West Diversey Blvd., Chicago, Ill. 60614.--P.W.

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