This past decade has seen a move away from the chalkboard toward a digitized classroom. And if that has been revolutionary for students and teachers, just wait until 2010 and beyond, notes Francie Alexander, chief academic officer at Scholastic, the children’s publishing, education and media company. She shares with Metro some of the trends she expects for the modern classroom.

More emphasis on the teacher
“I think people are taking a new look at becoming a teacher,” says Alexander. “There are many more alternative paths to get into the profession. For those who have finished military service, it’s a great career move: you get to impact generations, and there are not many jobs that do that.”

 

Transformation by technology
“For so long, people haven’t thought that technology would dramatically change the classroom, but it’s coming; it’s really starting to change” she says. “Whiteboards are really prevalent, and computers are ubiquitous. The next generation of teachers will have grown up in the digital age, and they will pass on that knowledge to their students.”

An expanded focus on literacy
“Learning to read and write is a journey throughout all of education, not just in first grade,”?Alexander points out. “You find that job requirements at all levels are requiring a more sophisticated reading level, even technical jobs and the military, where the manuals are becoming more technical. And look at your everyday life, from your mortgage to tax forms to phone agreements. It doesn't matter what your career is — you need literacy for life.”

More options than just a four-year program
“People are going to be effective consumers of education,” says Alexander. “For example, people in California are opting for two years of community college and then two years at a university. They figure they will get the classes that are just requirements out of the way‚ in a more cost-effective way. Plus, going with the technology trend, we’ll see a lot more students figure out which classes they can take online.”