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Each week, Boston Public Schools' truancy officer John Fencer scouts out students playing hooky. Until recently, Fencer's companion on these missions was a five-pound, five-inch thick book filled with more than 60,000 names and addresses of children in the district.

Like many of the 37,000 students in her district, Kay Baker looks forward to week's end. In fact, she readily admits that Friday is her favorite day. It's a statement some might say stands as a commentary on her approach to her job-and they would be right.

In 1968, computer scientist Alan Kay visited Seymour Papert at MIT. Papert, a prot?g? of Jean Piaget and himself a mathematician and artificial intelligence pioneer, was combining his interests by designing computing environments in which children could learn. Kay was so impressed by how children in Papert's Logo Lab were learning meaningful mathematics that he sketched the Dynabook, a dream of portable computers yet to be fully realized, on the flight home to Xerox PARC.


The New Literacies: Q&A with Donald J. Leu Jr.

Q: What are some of the new literacies brought on by technology?

Nebraska's Showdown

Nebraska is doing just fine without the federal government. Nebraska Education Commissioner Doug Christensen says his state could meet most requirements of No Child Left Behind. He just doesn't know what could happen if the state doesn't.


Key in for Greater Productivity, Creativity


FileMaker Pro 6, $299 (upgrade $149)


Sticking Up for Filters

Nancy Willard couldn't have gotten it more wrong in “Keeping Safe, Staying Smart” (January 2003, p. 28). Her prescription for the problem of Internet safety will only lead to many more examples of the tragic crime that opened her article.

In the hallways and cafeteria of Central Junior High School in Lawrence, Kan., snapshots of students in action, reading or recycling, are taken and sometimes plastered on walls.

The school is piloting fully integrated technology enriched classrooms and using digital cameras where they fit in the curriculum. Charlotte Anderson, who teaches English and journalism to mostly ninth graders, says she started working with computers in the 1980s and has since increased her passion for technology.