George Lucas Educational Foundation
Teacher Development

What's Next: 2006

Our predictions -- and resolutions -- for the new (school) year.
    Credit: Bruno Budrovic

    The prospect of a new school year brings both hope and gnawing questions. For students (Can I pass algebra? Will I keep or lose my friends?) and their teachers (Can I reach the troubled student assigned to my class? Will I be able to handle the new demands heaped on me?), the future, contemplated in the final sizzling days of summer, can seem murky. This blank slate often inspires fresh goals and sharpened senses, but even the most ambitious agenda can't erase the fact that so much of what is to come cannot be known.

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    At Edutopia, we work to assess the big picture -- a task made possible by our freedom from designing daily lesson plans. In this report, we are ambitious, forecasting trends for the coming academic year. We've tracked the news, checked with the experts, and scrutinized those distant glimmers of light that we expect to grow brighter. What we found has something, but not everything, to do with the stratospheric boom in technological options. Immediate change springs also from tectonic shifts in our lives as individuals and as a nation, in the spheres of health, community, culture, and competition in a global economy.

    Falling into a broad spectrum of arenas -- nutrition, national and local security, personalized learning, and yes, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) -- these are the most imminent, influential changes we foresee. You will find them punctuated throughout by resolutions for the new school year from folks in every aspect of education culture, starting with U.S. secretary of education Margaret Spellings.

    1. Healthy Business: Making Nutrition a Part of School
    2. Rain Check: Backup Systems Move Front and Center
    3. NCLB: Calling for a Cease-Fire
    4. Digital Diversity: Engaging All Students in Education
    5. Cell Sanity: Mobile Phones Ring Changes in the Classroom
    6. The Long View: Taking a Look Ahead
    7. New (School) Year's Resolutions: The Leaders Speak
    Grace Rubenstein is a senior producer at Edutopia.