The most impressive technology-rich classrooms don’t look like classrooms. Instead, they look like creative businesses on deadline—like advertising agencies pulling together a big campaign, architectural firms drawing up blueprints, or software companies developing new programs.
I recently visited a middle school science class as students toiled away on science fair projects using a classroom wiki: a widely adopted collaborative Web platform. As I watched, students uploaded graphic displays of their data, commented on each other’s hypotheses, and recorded video journals of their progress. The room buzzed with activity, as each of these young knowledge workers made contributions to their collective endeavor. When students got stuck, other students jumped from their desks to help. The teacher circulated through the classroom like a project manager, answering questions, providing feedback, holding students accountable to deadlines, and providing just-in-time instruction.