Thanks for the memories


Is it possible to develop an emotional attachment to a computer? I think so. I have had my Toshiba Portege M400 laptop since I joined Microsoft 4 years ago and we have had some great adventures together. We have travelled the world to various Innovative Educator Forums, presented to hundreds of teachers, seen three incarnations of Windows and Office, responded to thousand of emails, been introduced to Twitter and of course writing this blog. I now have most of those experiences stored ready to transfer to my new laptop.

But, a thought struck me, is it the same in schools? What learning experiences have the computers in school facilitated, is that captured in some way? What happens to all that work when the technology is replaced or the student leaves ? What happens to that ‘redundant’ technology?

I am interested in finding out two things, so your comments would be most welcome :-

  • What do schools do with students work stored on servers and hard drives? Can students take their work with them ?
  • What mechanisms do schools use to recycle or re-purpose technology? especially in light of this article .

Are any of you giving students when they leave, their e-portfolio? Documenting their whole school life, is this something that would be useful to them? I still have my Year 10 biology exercise book, it hasn’t been a lot of use, except to remind me of how awful my writing was and is! But, if life  learning long learning is the goal for students, then having such a resource could contribute to that.

How are schools breathing life in to ‘old’ kit? My laptop is destined for a an Intern at Microsoft, it will serve exactly the purpose they need . Do you have any strategies that you would like to share, that utilise and extend the life of apparently redundant technology?

This will be the last post I write on my trusty old Toshiba, not a single blue screen in 4 years. Thanks old friend, its been a blast.

Comments (10)

  1. Alessio says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Sad to see your Portege' going, as I believe I had some part in its use too in the past four years, however small it was!

    To answer your first question, we do have pupils' own accounts in school, so I presume they can decide to save and retrain whatever they want before they leave us. However, the most common practice I have witnessed in students is to come in school with their own memory sticks and keep all their work there for two reasons:

    1. It is a good back up

    2. They can work on it at home as well

    I often upload good examples of marked work on Moodle for the whole class to share, so that becomes a good source of revision resources and a starting point for future classes!

    Goodbye Portege' M400!


  2. Stu4rt says:


    Thanks for you comments, and don't worry , I still have your award winning Virtual Classroom Tour project from 2007.


  3. Tom J says:

    I finally stopped crying and gathered myself to comment. It's all about change and "moving on". It will be difficult for "old school" guys like you but I'm sure you'll cope and create a new reltionship as time passes by. All the best and talk to you soon 🙂

  4. Stu4rt says:


    Thanks for the empathy 🙂


  5. Katie Hague says:

    Interesting article.  Our school wipe machines and offer them to families – no good to us anymore but fine for families with no pc who just want word and internet.  Trying to implement online eportfolios which can be imported into high school VLE, other books go home.

  6. Stu4rt says:


    Thanks, that a really great idea.


  7. Brian Hoyt says:

    We actually still have close to 200 M400 in use here.  No bluescreens in 4 years you are lucky, we have averaged about 4-5 systemboard replacements per machine in the 4 years we have had them.  We still have lots of Toshiba's though, just got another 47 M780 today.  In our school the students own their own machines so when they leave we just re-image them and load all their docs on them and send them off.  We keep their files for a few months but after that we delete them to free up space for the upcoming students.  We keep using school owned machines until they fall apart, we still have over 100 M200 in use here, which I will put up against any netbook performance wise.  We donate them after we are done with them, if they are still functional and recycle if not.

  8. Stu4rt says:

    Thamks for your comment . Are you part of a scheme in order to recycle or donate the used laptops?


  9. Brian Hoyt says:

    We use some local companies in the Baltimore, MD area that do proper recycling and then other ones that take donations for re-use.  There isn't one company we always deal with though.

  10. David Rogers says:

    Hi Stuart,

    When I started at my current school, I found no IT at all.  We could afford a projector, but no laptops, so I went out late one evening to buy one.  That Advent has helped to transform learning in the department, and I've written the entire curriculum on it!

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