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Laptop School Progress Self-assessment
By Gary S. Stager

When I began working with laptops schools in 1990, I fully expected schools to evolve in the following way within a decade. How did we do? How did your school do?

Read the following checklist and determine if your reality has exceeded my dream.

The easy stuff

  • Basic productivity tool fluency would be assumed
  • Electronic publishing of student work would be commonplace
  • Electronically-mediated parent/teacher communication
  • Teachers using the computer for personal productivity/school paperwork
  • Every child and teacher would have a personal computer
  • We would stop referring to computers as technology
  • I.T. would cease to exist as a school subject


The hard stuff
Kids would be:

  • All laptop owners
  • Composing music
  • Writing powerful computer programs
  • Freely communicating online
  • Building robots
  • Conducting scientific investigations with probeware
  • Publishing in a variety of convergent media

School leaders would be:

  • Using computers in personally powerful ways
  • Supporting the imaginative use of emerging technology
  • Participating in the professional development they impose on teachers
  • No longer using computers to quiz or test students

The really hard stuff

  • Principals would no longer be able to get their photo in the newspaper just for standing next to a kid and a computer
  • School would be learner-centered and educators would be able to articulate what that means
    School leaders would spend less time making computer deals and more time collaborating with other learners
  • Students would be able to program and construct their own software tools
  • The supremacy of curriculum would be abandoned & no one would speak of delivery
  • School leaders would join the community of practice
  • Kids would collaborate with other kids and experts around the world
  • Computer science would be offered in most secondary schools

The really really hard stuff

  • Multi-age interdisciplinary ‘classrooms’ would be widespread
  • External forms of assessment would be replaced by more effective humane forms of authentic assessment
  • Kids would spend less time in school
  • Schools would stop viewing the needs of children as an impediment to the enterprise
  • There would be far fewer technology coordinators in schools
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