Holly Jobe: President of the International Society for Technology in Education

“Gary is a well informed educational reform thinker. He brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to his speaking engagements and challenges people to think about the best possible learning environments we can create for students to be successful in their lives. Gary has been well received by audiences around the world.”

Peter Reynolds: Bestselling Author and Founder of FableVision

“Any conference seeking a keynote speaker to provoke its attendees to think deeply about authentic learning and inspired teaching should get in line to request Dr. Gary Stager. He sees through the No Child Left Behind fog with laser vision with eye-opening suggestions on how to truly engage and challenge learners. Having seen Gary work with children around the world, I can atest that Gary is a true champion of children.”

Michael Furdyk: Director of Technology & Founder of TakingITGlobal

“Gary is a thought-provoking visionary for educators and school leaders looking for help navigating the challenges of engaging students in this ever-changing information age. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to several of Gary’s keynotes, and they’ve always provided audiences with a challenge: whatever the fad or buzzword of the day happens to be, never stop questioning whether you’re doing the best you can to support students in constructing powerful learning outcomes.”

Roger Wagner: Designer of HyperStudio

“Gary Stager is one of the most energetic, engaging, and most importantly, provocative, speakers on the issues of the effective use of educational technology. He challenges, in fact, demands, audiences to examine their own beliefs about the use of technology, and to look closely at whether something is just the fad of the year, or something that makes (or can make) a meaningful difference in education. Because he is such a popular speaker, it is not easy for him to share his insights with as many groups as would like to have him present, but those that are able to have him appear will be very much rewarded for their effort.”

Gordon Dahlby, Ph.D.: Educational Technology Consultant: Leadership in Policy, Planning and Practice. Former member of the ISTE Board of Directors

“I highly recommend Dr. Stager as a keynote and featured speaker for the wide variety of education conferences and events that span our education landscape. His wide ranging experiences and research network sharpen and add credibility to his message for thoughtful change and reform in education and enhances conversations surrounding this cornerstone of every great society. I know him best for his writings and speaking events in the realm of best practice for effectively using technology to enhance education; removing barriers and encouraging problem solving. Dr. Stager’s wit and delivery will ignite a fire of curiosity into the status quo and into the what is possible. Since education is fundamentally about investing in a country’s future, it is prudent that your best thinkers be challenged by another great thinker, writer and speaker. Your institution and conference will grow deeply by Dr. Stager’s challenge to do strive to do better and be better as educators. It is, after all, for our kids and the foundations you lay for their future.”

Dr. Jorge Nelson: Founding Head of School at AMADEUS International School of Music, Vienna

“Dr. Gary Stager is, by far, one of the most innovative and charismatic leaders in educational technology and constructivist pedagogy in the world. He has decades of experience and brings his passion, commitment and expertise into the classrooms of international schools for the sake of the children. He can talk to kindergartners as well as superintendents with equal ease and effectiveness. I would hire Gary in a heartbeat. If you want the best practices in philosophy, pedagogy as well as instructional and communications technology there is no one better than Gary. Therefore, I give Dr. Gary Stager my highest recommendation without reserve.”

Larry Kahn: Director of Technology, The Kincaid School

“In 2010 I served on the committee that hired Gary Stager to serve as the Keynote speaker for the ISAST conference. Gary did a terrific job and conference attendees reported learning a great deal from him. This month Gary worked with my school’s department chair’s and administrative leaders. Many have reported to me how Gary got them thinking deeply about their practice and about how they need to change to meet the needs of today’s learners. I recommend Gary Stager highly to you.”

Margaret Riel, Ph.D.: Professor & Researcher at Pepperdine University and SRI

“Gary is one of the most creative instructors that I have worked with. I have learned a great deal from watching him revise his courses every time he teaches. He takes students on learning adventures with technology that they never forget. He is one of the most valued faculty members of our Pepperdine Masters online program.”

David Loader: Previously Principal of MLC in the 1990’s and later Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Melbourne Author of three books: The Inner Principal, Jousting for a New Generation and Our School Our Future

“I can only comment on Gary’s contribution in Australia and in this country his contribution to education has been outstanding. Gary has played a pivotal role in the introduction of technology in schools in Australia since 1990 when he was a consultant to MLC*, the first school to require all 2000 students above Grade 5 to own and use a laptop as part of the student’s schooling program. Without Gary’s knowledge, skills and enthusiasm this major initiative in change in schooling could not have been achieved as successfully as it was. While Gary did not lead the program, he was the very wise and supportive consultant at a time when such advisors and collaborators were extremely rare.

Since 1990 Gary has been a regular visitor to Australia speaking at conferences and supporting individual schools to understand the wise use of technology, how it might be introduced and supported, and very importantly, in the training and support of teachers working with new technology. He is always welcomed here in Australia and his insights and knowledge keenly sought.

Gary has provided a fresh voice in schooling, not just in technology. He is without doubt an educational visionary. He is focused on students, their welfare and particularly their learning. His insights and often unorthodox methods have contributed to healthy debate and to the development of more student friendly student learning settings and curriculum.

Gary has contributed to the educational literature, not only with his research that led to his Doctorate at the prestigious Melbourne University in Australia, but through his writing and speaking at seminars and conferences. His knowledge is fed by his significant reading and through his partnership with other outstanding leaders.

Gary is a supportive friend to many and maintains a vast network of people with whom he collaborates on a regular basis. He is tireless in working for a better future for all students and for his support for teachers and leaders as they address current problems and an uncertain future.

I believe Gary to be among the educational greats and would be nominated by many as the most influential person in their educational thinking.”

Victor Rivero: Writer & Former Editor of Converge Magazine

“Gary is both a pioneer and a leading-edge visionary in the education and technology world who is an effective articulator of everything and anything that might just be a fleeting but strongly ingrained thought in the collective unconscious of the educated masses. That’s why he’s so fun to listen to as a speaker, and why he is also so effective on a one-on-one level. And though he may very well be a laser-like education provocateur, he’s also a very big-hearted guy that communicates because he cares so much.”

Read additional recommendations

An old friend of mine, Dr. Barry Newell, is an astrophysicist who was was the Administrator (in the NASA sense) of Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories of the Australian National University. He now works on the dynamics of social-ecological systems. In his spare time (back in 1988), he wrote two classic books on Logo programming and mathematics, Turtle Confusion and the accompanying book for educators, Turtles Speak Mathematics. Turtle Confusion features 40 challenging turtle geometry puzzles in a mystery format and Turtles Speak Mathematics helps educators understand the mathematics their students are learning.


I was reminded of the books when Sugar Labs, the folks behind the operating system for the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, featured the challenges as an activity to accompany TurtleArt software on the XO.

Screenshot of the XO Turtle Confusion Activity

The books’ author, Dr. Barry Newell, gave me permission to share digital copies of the book for personal, educational and non-commercial use. Click here to go to the download page.

These books are best used with versions of Logo such as MicroWorlds EX or Berkeley Logo. Some of the puzzles are very difficult or impossible to solve in Scratch, but it’s worth trying if that is all you have. SNAP! is another potential option. TurtleArt is another possibility. Although, mathematical programming is often easiest and best achieved through the use of textual language (IMHO). A bit of dialect translation might be necessary. For example, CS is often CG (in MicroWorlds EX).