Gary Stager has presented some ideas in his presentation on 1 to 1 computing devices.  Rather than focusing explicitly on the uses of the devices, he focuses on the big picture that computers are imagination devices, and should be used as such.  The focus of his presentation was on how the creative use of computational devices by the students can lead to powerful learning experiences.

Here are his top 10 uses of a computer:

  1. Write a novel
    – Remember that a novel can take many forms and involve many different types of media. Graphic novels, audio podcasts, all of these are ways to involve students in the creative writing process and setting high standards helps them understand that their work needs to be edited, reviewed, and re-edited.

  2. Share knowledge
    – Students need to learn how to share with each other appropriately. Teachers should recognize that their students have useful knowledge and giving them the opportunity to share it will empower them.
    – Instead of the teacher being the only expert in the room, every kid with access to Google can be an expert on a topic area.

  3. Answer tough questions
    – Students can use technology to look at phenomena that are otherwise inaccessible.  Let them explore and find tough questions during their exploration and learn the answers to the questions.

  4. Make sense of data
    – Using computers to generate iconic representations of data which the students get. 
    – Computers can also be used to generate the data the students want to look at through electronic simulations.

  5. Design a video game
    – Instead of playing a poorly designed game, students should design their own game and learn the concepts required to make their game realistic, instead of educators trying to make a game fit the kids expectations.

  6. Build a Killer Robot
    – There are lots of different robots, and many, many useful skills and pieces of information students can learn through the process of constructing a robot. One should be careful here to allow the students as much choice as possible in the construction rather than having the creation of a robot be a new part of a larger curriculum.

  7. Lose weight
    – Students should have ownership of their fitness.  Technology lets students keep track of their own performance and set realistic goals for themselves.

  8. Direct a blockbuster
    – One area students have a big weakness is in setting high standards for themselves. We should set high standards for them and make sure they understand how to make a professional quality video.

  9. Compose a symphony
    – Technology today can allow students to create an entire symphony in their laptop using either free or low cost tools.  The value of creating music is immeasurable.  Perhaps some of your students will be able to unleash their talents.  Actually chances are pretty good, your talented students are already creating their own music. I know mine are.

  10. Change the world
    – The ability to communicate with a wide variety of people, interact with media from all over the world, and learn about the problems of the world is greatly enhanced with technology. Students can help connect resources to the areas of the world that desperately need them, and take small steps toward changing this world of ours which has so many challenges.

These aren’t the only things, there are thousands of things kids can do. Computers empower kids and can give them unlimited opportunities to be successful. The objective of 1 to 1 computing devices should not be to teach the old curriculum differently, but to allow students the opportunities to be creative.  Instead of creating regimented curriculum for kids to do with the devices, educators should focus on providing the tools for the students and prompt for open ended problems.