[caption id="attachment_32780" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface (photo courtesy of Microsoft)."]Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface.[/caption]

A developer of educational software since the 1960s, Brown University Computer Science Professor Andries van Dam has seen education technology trends come and go, but he’s recently zeroed in on Microsoft’s interactive desktop computer as a model for the future computer.

van Dam, a co-founder of Brown’s Computer Science Department, specializes in what he calls post-WIMP computer interfaces, meaning machines that don’t use the traditional windows, icons,...

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