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    Archived pages: 62 . Archive date: 2013-12.

  • Title: Professor Seymour Papert
    Descriptive info: .. Papert misses "Big Ideas" of the good old days in AI.. Papert inspires Maine's bold technology plan.. Papert runs technology program for teen offenders.. Seymour Papert.. Works by Papert.. People laughed at Seymour Papert in the sixties when he talked about children using computers as instruments for learning and for enhancing creativity.. The idea of an inexpensive personal computer was then science fiction.. But Papert was conducting serious research in his capacity as a professor at MIT.. This research led to many firsts.. It was in his laboratory that children first had the chance to use the computer to write and to make graphics.. The.. Logo.. programming language was created there, as were the first children's toys with built-in computation.. Logo Foundation.. was created to inform people about Logo and to support them in their use of Logo-based software for learning and teaching.. Today Papert is considered the world's foremost expert on how technology can provide new ways to learn.. He has carried out educational projects on every continent, some of them in remote villages in developing countries.. He is a participant in developing the most influential cutting-edge opportunities for  ...   develop methods of learning that are too far ahead of the times for large-scale implementation.. He has been named distinguished professor by the University of Maine and is credited with inspiring the first initiative aimed at giving a personal computer to every student of a state.. He spends a large part of his time working in the Maine Youth Center in Portland, the state's facility for teenagers convicted of serious offenses.. Papert's contributions go beyond the field of education.. He is a mathematician and is a cofounder with Marvin Minsky of the.. Artificial Intelligence Lab.. at MIT and a founding faculty member of the.. MIT Media Lab.. , where he continues to work.. Papert collaborated for many years with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.. Dr.. Seymour Papert and MaMaMedia founder and CEO Dr.. Idit Harel discuss ways to enhance children's technological fluency on.. MaMaMedia.. com.. Related Links.. Articles, speeches, and papers by Seymour Papert.. A Web site for children and families, that has playful activities based on constructionist learning theory.. 21st-Century Learning.. Articles from the MaMaMedia Grown-Ups area about exploring the convergence of kids, technology, and learning..

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    Descriptive info: From Lunch Boxes to Laptops: The Governor King Initiative.. On March 2, 2000, Governor Angus King of Maine launched a bold initiative to turn his state and its children into leaders of the digital revolution.. King's proposal, From Lunch Boxes to Laptops, would make Maine the first state to consider a child's ownership of a personal computer as much an inalienable right as the right to attend school.. Specifically, King submits that every student should graduate from sixth grade not only with fluency in using computers but also with a personal computer to keep and use in school and out.. Governor King credits Seymour Papert with inspiring and helping to shape the plan.. (See the link to Blue Hill Man Inspired King's Laptop Proposal at the end of this article.. ).. This unprecedented plan has drawn both high praise and harsh criticism and has sparked discussion across the nation.. Few issues in Maine have given rise in such a short time to so much public writing editorials, op-ed pieces, columns, letters to the editor and discussion on radio talk shows, Web sites, chat rooms, and other such forums.. Papert has commented that whether or not the proposal is supported by the state legislature, which in the end has to approve it, it has already advanced education by stirring up such a wealth of discussion.. The ballpark of discussion has changed, he says.. People who thought that the question about technology in education was whether there should be a computer in every classroom have had their eyes opened to the idea that something much bigger is at stake.. Public opinion and support from lawmakers shifted dramatically in the six weeks that followed the announcement of the initiative.. As late as mid-April not a single legislator had agreed to support the plan.. The state appropriations committee turned it down by a vote of 10 to 1.. But as a result of all the writing and talk, the tide was turned to such a degree that the final state  ...   make a one-time contribution of $250 per teacher, the teacher providing the rest.. An additional $1 million per year in ongoing professional development for teachers would have helped them to integrate the use of technology and the Internet into the curriculum.. That King's plan has struck a chord is demonstrated by the energy of its supporters and opponents and by the polarization of their views.. Those who condemn it criticize its cost and argue that the budgetary surplus should support other priorities, such as the repairing of school buildings or the subsidization of care for the elderly.. Some argue that seventh-graders are too irresponsible to own computers.. According to supporters among them President Clinton, who describes it as an amazing thing the plan provides an opportunity to place Maine and its young citizens in a position of national leadership.. Some believe that it is an essential component of Maine's ongoing efforts to build a high-tech economy.. Others argue that the benefits of increased technological fluency will reach not only children but also their parents, who will use the computers with their children at home.. In any case, the debate in Maine once more illustrates the adage, Where Maine goes, there goes the nation.. The following links show what people are saying there and will surely soon be saying throughout the country.. From Lunch Boxes to Laptops: Giving Our Kids Computers Will Change Their Future and Maine's.. (Governor Angus King, Maine state Web site).. Why Can't Maine Kids Be Plugged In?.. (Bill Nemitz,.. Portland Press Herald Online.. , March 8, 2000).. Blue Hill Man Inspired King's Laptop Proposal.. (Gregory Williams,.. The Ellsworth American.. , March 16, 2000).. Questions That Need Sensible Answers.. (A.. David Trahan,.. Bangor Daily News.. , March 23, 2000).. Free Laptop Idea Not a Good One.. (Edward Perlman,.. , March 24, 2000).. Acute Pencil Shortage Strikes State Lawmakers.. (Bruce Kyle,.. , March 30, 2000).. King Laptop Proposal not Quite What Governor Wanted.. (Glenn Adams, Associated Press,.. The Boston Globe.. 's boston.. com, April 28, 2000)..

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  • Title: A Glimpse of the School of Tomorrow?
    Descriptive info: A Glimpse of the School of Tomorrow?.. By Lygeia Ricciardi.. Two teenagers sit on the floor, surrounded by a pile of LEGO bricks with which they are constructing robotic cars.. Across the room, students upload digital photos for a newsletter for their community.. In another small cluster, students play video games they have programmed themselves.. These appear to be average teenagers, yet their projects -- and the pride they take in them -- are unusual.. Their school is indeed atypical in many ways; to start, the students here are all convicted by courts of what would be considered criminal offenses if they were adults.. The setting is the Maine Youth Center in South Portland, where two hundred twelve to twenty-year-olds are incarcerated for offenses including theft, vandalism, and even murder.. But in one classroom, a group of students seem to momentarily forget their troubled pasts as they learn with, and about, the technologies of the future.. The students are participants in a pilot program spearheaded by Dr.. Seymour Papert of MIT, a pioneer in the use of computers for learning.. The program grew out of an interest on the part of Governor Angus King Jr.. to find innovative ways to improve education in the state of Maine.. If deemed successful, it may serve as a model for new technology-based programs throughout the Maine public school system.. Papert has assembled a team of project leaders including David Cavallo of the MIT Media Lab, Gary Stager of Pepperdine University, and Fred Taylor, who has taught at the Maine Youth Center for more than a decade.. Under the team s direction, groups of ten students work for periods of several weeks in a one-room schoolhouse equipped with PCs, a scanner, a digital camera, and computerized LEGO blocks that can be programmed to move and to react to stimuli such as light and temperature.. The pilot program does away with the usual school curricula, boundaries, and divisions.. Here, learning flows smoothly from one traditional subject area to another; blocks of time span several  ...   and self-confident.. The students show signs of developing these abilities.. As one boy describes his experience in the program, I did a lot of trial and error, and I found a lot of new ideas.. And I keep going at it, and did not give up.. Another explains, My computer game was having some trouble at first, but I killed the bugs, and I am feeling a lot less anger, and more happy, because I accomplished something positive.. Similar lessons have been learned for centuries without the help of modern technology.. So why is the pilot classroom brimming with the latest digital tools? Papert combines high-tech tools with low-tech materials, such as books, building blocks, and paper and pens.. He believes that computers can greatly facilitate learning, in part because they adapt easily to a wide variety of learning styles.. Computers also lend themselves to the acquisition of certain powerful ideas in science and math, such as those connected with geometric shapes and figures, variables, formulas, functions and graphs.. Through writing computer code, designing simulations, and building robots, students gain a concrete sense of abstract concepts such as speed and torque.. At the same time, they hone their communication skills.. Despite numerous evident successes, Papert s pilot program has had its share of glitches to debug.. Students sometimes become discouraged by the high expectations the project leaders set for them, but most agree that the returns are well worth their efforts.. In addition to those presented by students, the staff team faces other challenges, such as integrating a program based on exploration and intellectual freedom into an environment defined by the enforcement of control and confinement.. Facilitating meaningful change, whether in a learner s mind or in an organization s methods, is not easy.. Students and project leaders alike are grappling with the difficulties of, and learning much from, the pilot program at the Maine Youth Center.. It remains to be seen whether policy-makers and schools on the other side of the barbed wire fence will rise to their challenge..

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  • Title: Works by Seymour Papert, Ph.D.
    Descriptive info: Works by Seymour Papert, Ph.. D.. Title.. Description/Source.. Year.. "Bode Miller".. Article for the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine).. 2002.. "Computer as Condom".. "Hard Fun".. "It Takes a State".. 2001.. "The Learning State".. "Vision for Education: The Caperton-Papert Platform".. Essay for the National Governors' Association Annual Meeting.. 1999.. "Papert on Piaget".. Time.. magazine special issue: "The Century s Greatest Minds".. "Ghost in the Machine".. ZineZone.. com interview on how computers fundamentally change the way kids learn.. "Diversity in Learning: A Vision for the New Millennium".. Videotaped speech for Vice President Al Gore's Diversity Task Force.. "Let's Tie the Digital Knot".. TECHNOS Quarterly.. 1998.. "Does Easy Do It? Children, Games and Learning".. Game Developer.. magazine.. "What Is Logo? And Who Needs It?".. Essay from.. Logo Philosophy and Implementation.. (Logo Computer Systems).. "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right, but Three Rights Do Make a Left".. Excerpt from.. The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap.. (Longstreet Press).. 1996.. "Learning by the Skin of His Teeth".. "The Wonderful Discovery of Nothing".. "Child Power: Keys to the New Learning of the Digital Century".. Videotaped speech from the 11th Colin Cherry Memorial Lecture on Communication.. "Why School Reform Is Impossible".. The Journal of the Learning Sciences.. 1997.. "Looking at Technology Through School-Colored Spectacles".. Logo Exchange.. "Educational Computing: How Are We Doing?".. T.. H.. E.. Journal.. "School's Out?".. Interview by David S.. Bennahum about how computers relate to school.. "An Exploration in the Space of Mathematics Educations".. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning.. www.. ConnectedFamily.. Website accompanying the book.. The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap.. "Now I Know Why We Have Nouns and Verbs".. Learning story excerpted from.. The Connected Family.. "Ian's Truck".. "My Learning Disability".. Learning Story exerpted from.. "Computers in the Classroom: Agents of Change".. The Washington Post Education Review.. "The Parent Trap".. 1995.. "Technology Works Enterprises Proposal".. Proposal for a program in Bucksport, Maine.. "Technology in Schools: Local Fix or Global Transformation?".. Written remarks for a U.. S.. House of Representatives panel on technology and education.. "Obsolete Skill Set: The Three Rs Literacy and Letteracy in the Media Ages".. Wired.. 1993.. "Preface".. The Children's Machine.. :.. Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer.. (Basic Books).. "Epistemological Pluralism and the Revaluation of the Concrete".. Journal of Mathematical Behavior.. 1992.. "Perestroika and Epistemological Politics".. Essay.. 1991.. "Software Design as a Learning Environment".. Essay (with Idit Harel).. "Situating Constructionism".. The first chapter in.. Constructionism.. , edited by Idit Harel and Seymour Papert (Ablex Publishing Corporation).. "Computer Criticism Versus Technocentric Thinking".. M.. I.. T.. Media Lab Epistemology and Learning Memo No.. 1.. 1990.. A Critique of Technocentrism in Thinking About the School of the Future.. 2.. "The Future of School".. Discussion between Seymour  ...   Between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky.. "The Gears of My Childhood".. Forward to.. Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.. "Redefining Childhood: The Computer Presence as an Experiment in Developmental Psychology".. Paper delivered at the 8th World Computer Congress.. "The Mathematical Unconscious".. On Aesthetics in Science.. 1978.. "Concepts and Artificial Intelligence and Testing for Propositional Logic".. Language Learning and Thought.. 1977.. "A Learning Environment for Children".. Computers and Communications Implications for Education.. "Artificial Intelligence, Language and the Study of Knowlwedge".. Cogntitive Science.. (with Ira Goldstein).. "An Evaluative Study of Modern Technology in Education".. MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Memo No.. 371.. 1976.. "What Is Innate and Why".. Conference on Ontogenetic and Phylogenetic Models.. "Un Piaget ou Plusieurs?".. Symposium on Genetic Epistemology.. "Some Poetic and Social Criteria for Education Design".. Appendix to a Proposal to the National Science Foundation.. "Teaching Children Thinking".. Journal of Structural Language.. 1975.. "Artificial Intelligence".. The Condon Lectures (with Marvin Minsky).. 1974.. "Uses of Technology to Enhance Education".. MIT Artificial Intelligence Memo No.. 298.. 1973.. "A Computer Laboratory for Elementary Schools".. Computers and Automation.. 1972.. "Teaching Children to Be Mathematicians vs.. Teaching About Mathematics".. International Journal of Mathematics Education and Science Technology.. "Making a Theorem for a Child".. Proceedings of the ACM Conference.. "On Some Associative, Parallel and Analog Computations".. Associative Information Techniques.. (with Marvin Minsky).. 1971.. "Non-Counting Automata".. Article (with R.. McNaughton).. Perceptrons.. Book (with Marvin Minsky).. 1969.. "The Syntactic Monoid of a Regular Event".. Algebraic Theory of Machines.. (with R.. 1968.. "Cybernetique et Epistemologie".. Presses Universitaires de France (with G.. Cellerier and G.. Voyat).. "Le Temps et l'Epistemologie Genetique".. Etudes d' Epistemologie Genetique.. (with G.. Chapters in.. Encyclopedia de la Pleiade.. (Gallimard).. "Linearly Unrecognizable Figures".. Proceedings of Symposia in Applied Mathematics XIX.. 1967.. "Unrecognizable Sets of Numbers".. J.. A.. C.. M.. 1966.. "Topological Events".. University of Michigan Summer Conference on Theory of Automation (with R.. "Introduction".. Embodiments of Mind.. by Warren S.. McCulloch.. 1965.. "An Abstract Theory of Subspaces".. Proc.. Camb.. Phil.. Society.. 1964.. "Stereoscopic Synthesis as a Technique for Localizing Visual Mechanisms".. R.. L.. F.. "Sur l'Illusion de Muller-Lyer".. Annee Psychologique.. (with Jean Piaget).. "Mathematical Appendix".. The Behavioral Basis of Perception.. by J.. B.. Taylor.. 1963.. "Sur la Logique.. Piagetienne".. Etudes D'Epistemologie Genetique.. 1962.. "Centrally Produced Visual Illusions".. Nature.. 1961.. "Distorted Stereoscopic Vision".. Technical Paper, National Physical Laboratory (with G.. N.. Seagrim).. 1960.. "Redundancy and Linear Logical Nets".. Procedures of First Bionics Symposium.. "Which Lattices are Lattices of Open Sets".. Cam.. 1959.. "Lattices in Logic and Topology".. Dissertation, Cambridge University.. Sur les Treillis Para-Topologiques.. C.. R.. Seminaire Ehresmann (with D.. Papert).. 1957.. "A Theory of Perceptual Constancy".. British Journal of Psychology.. (with J.. G.. Taylor).. 1956.. "Sequential Convergences in Lattices".. Dissertation, University of the Witwaterstrand.. 1952..

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  • Title:
    Descriptive info: From Lunchboxes to Laptops:.. Giving Our Kids Computers Will Change Their Future and Maine's.. By Governor Angus King.. The following piece was published by Governor King of Maine on his.. Web site.. in early March, 2000.. When President Clinton spoke last week on the digital divide - the gap between those citizens who utilize and have access to computer technology and those who don't - he outlined how the federal government proposes to address this growing problem.. If it isn't solved, he said, many people will be left behind in the new economy, without the skills they need to get the good jobs that pay good wages and benefits.. One solution, he said, is happening in Maine.. It's an amazing thing, Clinton said.. They're going to start by giving every 7th grader a laptop, but the way they're going to do it is to make sure that the 7th grader will also be able to take the computer home and to try to involve the parents in it.. And that, I think, is a remarkably good thing.. And who was the president talking to? It was the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society at the Silicon Valley Conference Center at Novell Headquarters in San Jose, California.. The audience included high-tech executives, educators, and leaders of non-profit organizations and foundations who I'll bet think of Maine as a nice place to visit in the summer, but not as a center for high-tech.. In an instant, their perception of Maine was irrevocably altered.. Maybe next time they're thinking of where to build a new factory or expand their business, they'll remember the President's words.. For more than 100 years, Maine has always been in the bottom third of states - in prosperity, income, education and opportunity for our kids.. In my 30 years of working on Maine economic issues, no idea has had as much potential for leapfrogging the other states and putting Maine in a position of national leadership than this one - giving our students portable, Internet-ready computers as a basic tool of learning.. It's a bold move, I know, one that has raised controversy and lots of questions.. Here are some answers:.. Why should we buy all these computers? The schools already have computer labs and it's an awful lot of money.. There is no question that the jobs of the future, in every area - manufacturing, services, healthcare, retail, government, education, everywhere - all will involve computer and Internet literacy, and those individuals and societies that are the most competent and at ease with this technology will be the most successful.. A better shot at prosperity and opportunity is what this initiative is all about.. The fundamental idea is to make computers an integral part of our educational process - and our students' way of thinking and working.. The key idea is integral part - to move the computer and the internet from the lab - down the hall and once a week - and put them in the backpacks - for use every day in every class and every home.. The implementation of this initiative will move Maine students to the head of the class - the forefront of the world - in access to technology.. 2.. What exactly does the program involve?.. The concept is simple: we set aside $50 million of the unallocated surplus created by the recent upward revenue projections and place it in a permanent endowment fund, the income from which will be used to buy laptop computers for every 7th grader in Maine, forever.. It's important to understand that we're not spending the $50 million; we're saving it and using only the interest.. In this way, at the end of five years, every student in Maine above the 6th grade will have his or her own computer.. The State's contribution to the fund would be matched by $15 million from private or federal sources, and the first round of purchases would begin in the fall of 2002.. The proceeds from the fund would be administered by a public-private foundation that would decide the technical aspects of the computers, negotiate the purchases, and manage the distribution.. Again, I'm not proposing that we spend the $50  ...   for the current computers-for-schools program.. We have already refurbished and upgraded over 1,000 donated computers under this program - creating more access to technology for our schools and valuable job skills for our medium security inmates.. So the system to provide efficient, low-cost maintenance is already in place.. 7.. But won't these computers be obsolete by the time the 7th graders reach the end of high school?.. In some ways, yes, but in a general sense, no.. These computers will be designed for three basic functions: word processing, math (spreadsheets, data manipulation), and, perhaps most important, e-mail and access to the Internet.. Although there are certain to be improvements in technology (and probably price) within any five-year period, the machines will still perform these critical functions, and inexpensive upgrades would be possible as well.. Advanced operations - graphics, for example - will still require the larger, more powerful machines in the computer lab.. The laptops would compliment - not replace - the larger machines already present in the computer labs of most schools.. 8.. But everybody's saying we should fix the schools first; why should we buy computers when lots of kids are going to school in trailers?.. The short answer is we can do both.. In the last several years, the state has provided more funds ($43 million in cash) for school renovation than ever before.. This year, there's at least another $20 million on the table for this purpose.. On top of that, we are about to release $200 million for new school construction.. All told, this is the largest commitment to repairing and replacing our school facilities in the state's history, and this will continue to be a high priority.. The question is whether we have to wait until every roof is fixed before taking this step, which will have such a tremendous value to our kinds and the state; if we do, we'll never get there.. 9.. It still seems like a lot of money - are there any other benefits beyond those to the kids themselves?.. Absolutely - if we can pull this off, it will put Maine on the national technological map.. This is a huge step that has already made headline news around the world - and will place us in the front rank of the states in terms of education and the integration of this essential technology into the everyday life of our students.. Having taken this step will undoubtedly be a huge help in our ongoing and critically important efforts to build a high-tech economy.. 10.. But aren't there other important things we could spend this money on?.. Sure, but remember this is a one-time investment.. We're not going to have this $50 million obligation next year or the year after - for tax cuts, elderly drug assistance, aid to education, job training, or any other ongoing programs.. Viewed in that way, it's hard to imagine any single investment or group of investments matching this in long-term impact.. 11.. OK, OK, but can you guarantee it will work - that the price will be affordable, that the investment returns will be adequate, that the kids will take care of the machines?.. Of course not.. All we can go on now are best estimates of how it could come together - and those estimates are that it will work.. And if it doesn't work, we still have the money.. If we find that we can't raise the private match (or find it within our own future resources) or that the price of the computers we need is too high, or that the machines prove nonfunctional in the classroom, we can reallocate the fund and the only loss, if any, is the income expended.. But if it does work, think of what we'll accomplish, for our kids and for Maine.. This is a bold step, and any such attempt involves risk.. But the returns - to the state, our economy, and especially to our children - are immeasurable.. For good or ill, this technology is with us and will transform us.. If we resist it, we will decline; if we accept it, we will survive; if we embrace it, we will flourish.. Why shouldn't Maine be first?..

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  • Title:
    Descriptive info: Why Can't Maine Kids be Plugged In?.. By Bill Nemitz.. The following piece was published by the.. on March 8, 2000.. The e-mail to Gov.. Angus King's office last Friday said it all: Dear Governor King, Maine is a poor state.. Let someone else lead.. Wow.. Wow is right, King said Tuesday.. I've tapped into some kind of fear here.. or something.. Whatever it is - a statewide inferiority complex, a sudden outbreak of myopia - the howls against King's proposal for putting a laptop computer into the hands of every Maine seventh-grader demonstrate two things about our beloved Pine Tree State.. One, bold and revolutionary ideas don't often hatch in Maine.. Two, on the rare occasion that they do, they're attacked by an army of can'ts.. We.. can't.. buy every kid a computer, critics say, because some schools' roofs leak.. risk giving a 12-year-old such a high-tech tool, they warn, because he or she might break it.. worry about telling the entire country that Maine is shooting for 100 percent computer literacy because.. because.. well we just.. King, however, is right.. Maine.. can.. do this.. What's more, in an age where the haves and the have nots are fast being defined by who reaches for the mouse and who runs from it, Maine is crazy at least not to try.. King said the idea evolved in recent weeks after he decided to use a chunk of the state's latest $70 million in unexpected surplus for a one-time expenditure that would really be an inspiration.. His wish list, like most, began and ended with education.. He thought about beefing  ...   to get the most bang out of, say, 50 million bucks.. Their response: Create an endowment and use the interest to buy a state-of-the-art laptop for every kid starting seventh grade, year after year after.. year.. I was stunned, King said.. The beauty of the idea lies in its inevitability.. Laptops, like it or not, will be standard issue for junior-high school in the next five years with or without the governor's plan.. But without it, as King noted, it will happen district by district and it will happen in the rich districts first.. (Welcome to Two Maines, 21st century edition.. ).. Nationally, everyone from Bill Clinton on down greeted King's proposal with oohs and ahhhs.. But opponents here at home, including a startling number of legislators on both sides of the aisle, now argue that this is too big, too bold, too.. scary?.. They say it will waste much-needed money.. Not true - by relying only on the interest, the state doesn't spend a dime of its $50 million nest egg.. They say the kids won't have access to the Internet.. Not true - they can surf the Net by dialing up their school servers from home.. The school network is already in place, anti-smut filters and all.. They say, echoing King's e-mail correspondent, that a poor place like Maine is in no position to lead the race down the information highway.. Not true - and if given the chance, a state full of seventh-graders will gladly prove what their governor, for one, already senses.. Maine can.. Bill Nemitz is a columnist for The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram..

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    Descriptive info: Blue Hill Man Inspired King's Laptop Proposal.. By Gregory Williams.. The following piece was published in.. on Thursday, March 16, 2000.. BLUE HILL -- When Seymour Papert, a Downeast da Vinci, envisions the future of education, he foresees every student packing a personal computer.. He is not alone.. Papert has been an influential voice --.. the.. influential voice -- behind Governor Angus King's proposal to equip every seventh-grader with a laptop.. On Tuesday, King referred to Papert as a Ted Williams or Ken Griffey of his field, a leading voice on technology in education.. Though he is the man making the proposal, King credits Papert with hatching the idea two years go over lunch and helping him finalize the proposal just a few weeks ago.. Papert said during an interview last week at his home on Route 15 that personal computers can provide students with more than information by giving them an alternative way of learning, thinking and exploring.. In short, they could allow students to think outside the box.. A pioneer in artificial intelligence and a leading advocate of computers changing the way we learn, Papert said personal computers eventually will be an everyday tool for writing, drawing, calculating, designing.. whatever.. Born and educated in South Africa, Papert has dedicated much of his life to studying how children think and learn, collaborating with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva.. What began as a hobby has since become a preoccupation, if not an obsession.. Among his many involvements, Papert is a professor of media technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a founder of the school's Media Lab, the inventor of the LOGO computer language, the author of six books and often is called upon to testify before presidential commissions and congressional committees.. Though he is a man of international renown,  ...   road for Maine by luring better-paying, high-tech jobs.. Papert said he already has seen this occur in Third World countries, such as Costa Rica, that have made a commitment to technology in school curriculum.. King said this is the biggest opportunity to leapfrog and make a significant gain [in the job market], instead of an incremental gain.. The additional cost to equip every student in America with a personal computer, Papert said, is miniscule when compared to the potential rewards.. King said his role as a leader involves providing a vision for the citizens he represents, which often means listening to and understanding what the thinkers and philosophers are saying and turning it into public policy.. Papert is one of these marvelous minds, he said.. King said he agrees with Papert that computers can serve as everyday tools and not just as a means of gathering information.. A laptop, he said, is a combination of a book and a calculator, a source of information and a mathematical tool.. King likened having laptops all the time to a young hockey player wanting some day to be in the NHL.. If he is going to succeed, he will need more than one hour of ice time each week.. Getting good at something takes lots of practice.. Governor King calls his proposal the most powerful public policy he has come across in the past 30 years.. But at the same time, the Governor sympathizes with those resisting change.. After all, he did not use a computer until he was 45, and even then it was limited, he said.. Papert thinks the Governor did a great thing by opening the debate, calling it an important step.. It is the intellectual tool of our time, Papert said.. It's unconscionable if we don't give this to teachers and students..

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    Descriptive info: Questions That Need Sensible Answers.. By A.. David Trahan.. The following piece was published in the.. on March 23, 2000.. Gov.. Angus King has unleashed all the weapons in his arsenal to arm-twist legislators into supporting his $50 million "Lunchbox to Laptops" Program.. He is calling in everyone he has influence with to lobby legislators, and he is personally inviting representatives to his office for one-on-one meetings.. Newspapers and others are depicting his idea as forward thinking which is paramount to King's legacy.. What a sad day when government officials put personal legacy before the critical needs of the people they represent.. I cannot imagine an elected official sleeping at night if he or she supported such a lavish proposal knowing of the vital health and safety issues facing our youth.. There are questions that need answers first before we should proceed any further with this overwhelming technology initiative.. A recent conversation with Mike Kucsma of the Department of Education revealed more than $80 million in high-priority school construction needs.. Repairs including leaking roofs, outdated heating systems, poor air quality, outdated science labs, structural weaknesses and overcrowding.. The list of priority schools totaled 70 and of those only 22 will be funded.. Whose child or spouse will be the unlucky one who will continue to breathe unhealthy air or face unsafe conditions at school?.. During research into the proposed law to conduct background checks  ...   have had the misfortune of being injured or becoming sick without insurance could end up losing everything they have worked hard for, falling into financial disaster.. Whose grandparent will have to choose between their next meal and paying for medications they need to stay healthy?.. Another concern is the transportation fund that is carrying a 14 percent debt load and a structural gap for the next biennium.. We have already been told by Commissioner John Melrose of the Department of Transportation that there will have to be another gas tax increase to cover these shortfalls.. With the present prices of fuel oil and gasoline and projected increases of up to $2 a gallon, how stable is our economy? Who is going to make up the shortfalls in school, municipal and state department budgets next year for the unexpected overruns?.. It should be obvious now that as a state, we could not possibly consider such a lavish proposal, whether it has merit or not.. There are too many critical issues affecting too many people crying out for help.. The only usefu1 purpose this has served is to show how out of touch with the common citizen some people in government have become.. Personally, I will sleep peacefully knowing I have put the needs of the many Mainers who feel this program is unjustified first.. State Rep.. A.. David Trahan is a Republican from Waldoboro (District 59)..

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    Descriptive info: Free Laptop Idea Not a Good One.. By Edward Perlman.. on March 24, 2000.. King's laptop giveaway would be an educational Trojan Horse.. If you don't know what that means, just look it up on your home laptop computer.. Simply fire up the machine, wait for the software to load, plug into your phone, dial up the Internet, ignore the moving advertisement pictures, log onto a search engine, and enter Trojan Horse.. Sift through the entries about condoms and horseracing until you get to the ones about the ancient Greeks, and if you still remember what you were looking for, try to find the answer even though you will now have instant access to much more interesting information at your mouse fingertips.. Giving away computers to seventh graders is not about whether the Internet is good, or whether computers are an integral part of our future.. We nearly all agree about that.. The laptop giveaway plan is a Trojan Horse because it hides many unstated requirements, and may well have unintended consequences.. As the owner of a small business that depends heavily on sophisticated computer use, I applaud the rapid development of technology.. But it may surprise you to know that when looking for a new employee, computer skills are no longer high on my list.. My best employees arrived with the most basic computer skills and have learned the rest on the job.. What makes them good workers is that they can think for themselves, grasp the purposes and strategies of the company, and respect communication enough to speak honestly, listen well, write and spell well.. The intimidating fear that our kids may  ...   of power tools instead of hiring a teacher to teach shop.. When I worked for the Chicago Master Learning Reading program, I learned that most kids of that age move from empirical to logical thinking, but those who do not are vulnerable to educational setbacks.. With computers becoming ever faster and more powerful, we increasingly think empirically.. We can try out anything and the computer shows us results in a flash.. Indeed, the Internet is designed to foster empirical thinking.. It's easy to play with software, surf the Web and spend time on emails both useful and useless, regardless of priority.. If computers make us think empirically, what do they do to children learning to think logically?.. On a practical level, what happens to the giveaway laptops when they are stolen, break, or crash? What happens if parents decide to commandeer their child's free laptop? What do we say to families who, by choice, have no Internet access at home? Should seventh graders feel entitled to have a computer regardless of the cost of purchasing and maintaining one?.. Maybe school libraries should have laptops that students can check out.. Perhaps we could consider more computer availability in high school.. If the governor asked me for an educational initiative he can leave as a legacy, I'd point to the fact that students learning musical instruments consistently score better academically than their peers.. Give every child a musical instrument and good instruction.. I guarantee they'll be able to handle any computer technology that comes down the pike.. Edward Pearlman owns Portland America Distributing, a national wholesaler of CDs and tapes primarily from Scotland and Nova Scotia..

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    Descriptive info: Acute Pencil Shortage Strikes State Lawmakers.. By Bruce Kyle.. on March 30, 2000.. In a recent speech at Bates College, Seymour Papert -- MIT scientist/educator, world renowned technology/artificial intelligence expert and Blue Hill resident -- asked his audience to imagine some ancient time before there was writing.. There were schools, but all knowledge was word of mouth.. Then, one glorious, epochal day, writing was invented.. And along with it, an implement.. Say, the pencil.. The Sumarian School Board, seeing the potential of this marvelous device, decided to get one.. If it worked out, next year they'd get two.. Eventually, they foresaw having a whole pile of pencils and once a week, for perhaps an hour, the pupils would march down to the Pencil Lab for cuneiform class.. Professor Papert then observed that all kids today have a pencil, the lucky few perhaps several.. They use them even before they know their ABC's -- they scribble, doodle, explore, express, create.. The naughty ones even run with them.. He further observed that the leaders of the Soviet Union saw momentous, inevitable democratic change coming and did their level best to ignore it.. The result is that today, while several former Soviet satellites are progressing nicely, Russia is in year 10 of trying to rebuild from economic and social rubble.. By this point, the perceptive audience (this was, after all, Bates College) figured out that Seymour Papert wasn't really talking about pencils or the Politbureau.. In general, he was talking about how kids learn with computers and how the digital transformation of learning is a force as unstoppable as democracy.. In particular, he was talking about Gov.. King's laptop proposal.. The governor also gave a speech somewhat recently, his State of the State.. In it, he told lawmakers he was developing a major technology/education initiative, with details coming soon.. He also said the rising cost of health care was an urgent problem that only a Blue Ribbon Study Commission could solve.. Legislators greeted the former with curiosity.. They, especially Democrats, greeted the latter with ridicule.. What, they snorted, has been studied more thoroughly than health care? Health care doesn't need a blue ribbon, it needs  ...   what the Rockman researchers found:.. Reading and writing improved markedly and, students said, became more fun.. Critical thinking and analysis skills soared.. Research projects took on new depth and creativity as high-order thinking and problem-solving replaced dronish copying.. Time spent on homework increased.. Students and teachers became collaborators.. Teachers quickly learned how to integrate the Internet into lesson plans.. Teachers enthusiastically embraced computer-oriented curriculum.. All of these improvements were significantly greater when students had access to a laptop full-time, instead of just in the school computer lab.. It was actually found that students who had full-time laptops spent far less time playing computer games than students has only intermittent access to computers.. Three years ago, the Beaufort County (South Carolina) School District put laptops in the hands of 300 sixth-graders, full time.. After two years, the University of North Carolina evaluated the results by interviewing teachers, pupils and parents.. The findings were much like those of Rockman; virtually every measurable academic skill improved substantially.. Parents were especially pleased with the part about less game-playing and more studying.. Teachers and parents who started as skeptics became converts.. Pupils who worried that the computers would make their classmates withdrawn and solitary found just the opposite -- communication and interaction increased, kids found that the computers and the Internet led to new interests and new friends.. Not one study -- Rockman, UNC or the many others -- found evidence of any of the major objections that have been raised in Maine.. Kids didn't drop their laptops, they didn't lose them, they didn't pawn them to buy drugs.. I heard the Papert speech in a rebroadcast the other afternoon on the radio.. As I listened to this well-crafted presentation, this deft combination of off-the-cuff, casual delivery and compelling, logical structure (he is, after all, an MIT guy), I thought it was a shame legislators weren't hearing it, too.. Then I remembered -- legislators had heard it.. Seymour Papert gave this presentation several times to lawmakers in groups large and small.. Apparently they just weren't able to take notes.. Somebody else was using the pencil.. Bruce Kyle is the assistant editorial page editor for the Bangor Daily News..

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    Descriptive info: King Laptop Proposal not Quite What Governor Wanted.. By Glenn Adams, Associated Press.. The following piece was published by.. on April 28, 2000.. AUGUSTA, Maine -- Gov.. Angus King is not getting what he wanted when he asked for laptop computers for every seventh grader in Maine, but he is getting time to justify his ambitious request.. A special panel is being set up to study how to spend money from an endowment of up to $50 million for technology in classrooms.. That could buy the laptops, if King can convince the panel it's a good idea.. He fully believes his idea can stand on its merits, King spokesman Tony Sprague said Wednesday.. But if the panel comes up with a better idea for spending the money on technology, so much the better.. Two months into Maine's legislative session in early March, King announced his proposal to give every one of Maine's 17,000 seventh-graders a laptop computer that will be theirs to keep, beginning in 2002.. He proposed an endowment funded with $50 million in state surplus funds and bolstered with $15 million in private and federal grants.. The laptops, as King envisioned it, would be bought with interest from the ongoing endowment.. King campaigned passionately for his proposal, saying he wanted Maine to be the first state to pull off such a venture.. Computer literacy, he reasoned, will be as important as knowing how to read and write.. His proposal attracted the attention of President Clinton and drew praise from business groups and out-of-state editorial writers.. But legislators in Maine responded with a collective yawn and public school officials said easing  ...   year to make his case again.. There are no preconceived notions of what their final product will be, said Sprague, noting that it could be anything from desktop computers for middle-school students to expanded computer labs or block grants for the schools.. King did not feel comfortable when the session started in January asking for money for laptop computers because he wasn't sure surpluses would be there, so he held off until March, when the financial picture was clearer but the session was half-over.. Getting more time to make his pitch for laptops, said Sprague, could turn out to be an advantage for the independent governor.. What we did find out was that the more people learn about the idea, the more they like it, said the spokesman.. And being the first with such an effort is no longer quite so important to King, who is glad to have advanced the debate.. The governor also takes satisfaction, when he's traveling out-of-state, in hearing the words Maine, extraordinary and technology said in the same sentence, said Sprague.. Similar programs have been launched in other states on a smaller scale.. In northern Georgia's Towns County, all 270 middle school students were given computers in the beginning of the school year in 1998.. The equipment was paid for by a grant.. The Maine Legislature's commitment to technology does not come at the expense of state funding for local schools, which the newly enacted budget increases by $18.. 5 million.. Another $4.. 3 million is earmarked for districts facing potential losses in assistance, and $27 million is set aside for health and safety repairs at school..

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