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Professor Elliot Soloway:
"Palm-Sized Devices are the Personal Computers of Choice"

Mitchel Resnick

Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 4:00 PM EST

MIT Media Lab, Room E15-054

For the past 25 years, technology-focused educators have claimed that computational technologies would change K-12 education. However, at least in the United States, to a first-order approximation, the impact of computers and the Internet on K-12 has been zero. By and large, what goes on the in the classroom has been indifferent to the introduction of computers and Internet. Given the above, why should anyone believe that palm-sized computers would have an impact on K-12? What is different about palm-sized computers that will lead to these devices having an impact on K-12 education? In this presentation, we will report on our experiences with palm-sized devices with over 2,000 students K-12 classrooms in the United States in order to provide a vision of how you might well use palm-sized computers in your classroom not someday, but Monday.

Dr. Elliot Soloway is a Professor at University of Michigan's Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. He is also associated with the University of Michigan's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, College of Engineering, School of Information, and School of Education.

For over 10 years, Soloway and his cohorts in the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education (Hi-Ce), now composed of more than 60 undergraduate and graduate students, have been exploring the ways in which computing and communications technologies can be the ignition switch in bringing a constructivist, project-based pedagogy to science classrooms.

The Hi-Ce group is developing a science curriculum that embeds technology into the everyday experiences of students and teachers. As well, the Hi-Ce group is creating professional development workshops and materials that support teachers in carrying out these inquiry-based, technology-pervasive curricula in their classrooms. Attempting to integrate theory and practice in public schools, Hi-Ce now is implemented in 40 schools in Detroit and Ann Arbor, MI, Randolph County and Atlanta, GA, and Pleasantville, NJ.

There is an opportunity now for making major changes in education, with technology as the Trojan Mouse. Soloway and his colleagues are laboring full-tilt to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is no Don Quixote.

The Hi-CE Web site is located at:

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