Up on a hill, overlooking the Philadelphia Zoo and a West Philadelphia neighborhood where 85 percent of the people live in poverty, sits a sleek, shiny brand new High School. It is called the Microsoft School of the Future and it is the first one in the world.No more teachers (they're called "educators"), no more books (laptops, smart boards, wireless internet, and more). The public school is a multimilliondollar facility, state of the art, Clifford Stoll's worst nightmare.
The 170 freshmen about to start classes here are not only ready for school, but for the future. They will not use pens, paper or textbooks. Instead, each one will be given a wireless laptop computer, with software created by Microsoft specifically for this school's needs. The programs allow each child to learn at his or her own pace and educators and parents to monitor their progress.
Microsoft has a special interest in this Philadelphia school. It partnered with the school district to design the building and the curriculum, a first for the software giant.
If it works--Microsoft is investing in these projects worldwide--it's just one more route to the revolution.
Part I, online academies
Part II, the Google PC
Part III, homeschooling
Part IV, rapid growth
Part V, Olympia goes virtual