Gary Stager shared his presentation, “10 things you can do with a laptop” at the 2009 uLearn Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month. Gary’s summary of this session is available on his website. This presentation is based on Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon’s 1971 paper, “Twenty Things to Do with a Computer.” Check out the sixty minute presentation on CORE Education’s EDTalks website.

Gary shared this presentation in 2007 at the Learning 2.0 Conference in Shanghai, and that is available as an audio podcast as well.

All of Gary’s uLearn 2009 presentation resources are available on his site. Of particular interest to educational leaders implementing or considering the implementation of 1:1 learning initiatives are his papers/presentations, “Optimistic outcomes for teachers and students resulting from 1:1 computing” (PDF), “1:1 school technology self-diagnostic instrument” (PDF) and “How to Sell the 1:1 Computing Dream in Your Community.”

I find Gary’s references to W. Daniel Hillis’ 1998 book, “The Pattern on the Stone: The Simple Ideas that Make Computers Work” particularly thought provoking. If we each consider the computer, and laptop computers in the hands of our students specifically, not as information access devices but rather as “IMAGINATION MACHINES,” wouldn’t our efforts and focus in 1:1 learning projects take on a very different flavor? We should, and our perspectives should.

Gary exhorts the audience that 1:1 computing is NOT about hardware, it is about SOFTWARE. Software determines what you DO. What you learn depends on WHAT YOU DO. Very important thought leadership from Gary on 1:1 computing here.

Another of my favorite quotations from this presentation by Gary:

The best way to keep kids from being destructive is to engage them in things that are constructive.

I totally agree with Gary’s contention that we should focus on empowering students with agency, and find ways to help students authentically become intellectually powerful. His citation of Papert’s quotation, “Does the computer program the child or does the child program the computer?” is needed today in our conversations about 1:1 computing more than ever.

Kudos and many thanks to CORE Education (New Zealand) for making this presentation (and many others) available on EDTalks.

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