Guest Editorial (untitled)
by Stan Sanderson CEO, Jostens Learning Corp. Preparing students for the future. It's the precept upon which everything educators do is based. Educators agree that technology will be an integral part of the classroom of the future. The question is, which technologies? To properly prepare students for the future, we must continually work to define the future, to assess educators' needs and determine now what education will require of technology then. Currently, thousands of schools across the nation are independently charging ahead, working to create the best model. But will those models truly support current and future education exigencies? Will they lead to improved learning outcomes? Individual trial and error could end up costing as much to simply define the classroom of the future as will equipping and hooking it up. To ensure that schools don't waste their time or money, Jostens Learning Corp. is taking the lead to help the education industry define a technology blueprint for the 21st century. It's called the Horizon Project. The Horizon Project is a comprehensive, multi-step program based on extensive market research, which will be analyzed and interpreted by industry leaders, scholars and classroom educators. The first phase of the study identified several key issues that will shape the role of technology in the classroom of the future. Among them is connectivity, an important element to support interaction among teachers and students. All schools should be provided with access to the Internet, study participants said. They also feel that state objectives are increasingly driving curriculum change, creating a growing demand for products that are designed to support state standards. Further, participants emphasized assessment as a key issue, identifying the need for technology products that support multiple forms of assessment, including criterion-referenced assessment and portfolios. Like successful companies in the business world, schools are being required to prove that their programs are working—that the taxpayers' investment is paying off. Software-based management systems, which are already in thousands of classrooms nationwide, have been helping teachers to easily manage and assess individual student progress to provide those results. But even sophisticated technology such as this must be enhanced and expanded to meet the needs of the online, inter-connected and interactive world of the future. Today, Jostens Learning's A+dvantage Management System allows teachers to closely track and monitor student progress, and prescribe individualized instruction based on each student's needs. The A+dvantage system correlates objectives to nationally normed tests such as ITBS, CTBS and TAAS. It allows educators to easily identify where students require additional remediation, where they excel, and prescribe an individual lesson plan to meet his or her needs. In addition, A+dvantage includes 22 report templates focusing on student performance and assessment information. Or, educators can use the system to create their own reports. For example, administrators can generate summative reports to see how different classes or schools are progressing, and compare them to one another. Tomorrow, A+dvantage will allow educators to easily manage and integrate information from the Internet into the curriculum, a key capability for the classroom of the future as cited by participants in our study. In addition, information can be easily passed back and forth electronically between students and teachers for review and assessment. Clearly, technology will be an integral component in the classroom of the future, supporting activities from curriculum delivery to assessment. Through the Horizon Project, Jostens Learning is harnessing the knowledge of the industry to define technology's role in education. The results will have a major impact on how we as an industry support educators with the capabilities of technology and how students will learn in the future. Once we truly understand what will be expected and required of technology, we can work effectively to meet those demands. n Stan Sanderson is president and chief executive officer of Jostens Learning Corp., a leading developer of instructional technology. His career includes 22 years with Xerox Corp. where he was president of three Xerox companies—Xerox Learning Systems, Weekly Reader Family Books and Xerox Education Sciences.
This article originally appeared in the 08/01/1995 issue of THE Journal.