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Appropriate 1:1 Learning Device for Students

Sent this one to my HK Teachers list this morning.

Very keen to read responses.

Good Morning HK Teachers,

I felt that I couldn’t hide my interest on Monday at the seminar when Ed announced that his school was also going 1:1 (laptops for kids) next school year. To my knowledge this will be the 4th 1:1 laptop school in Hong Kong with the last 3 joining within the last year.

Many of you know that I lead an initiative at a school that went 1:1 laptops in Western Australia in 2000. At the time we were the first school to have 100% of staff and kids connected to our network at all points of the campus right from the beginning. In 2000, I was confident that a fully featured, name brand laptop was what every kid in the school needed and the model was that each kid worked from the hard-disk but was trained in a “back-up regime” in which they had my ugly mug in their room on a fairly regular basis asking; “Who has backed up in the last day?” and awarding lollypops, useless mouse mats, or other exciting paraphernalia to the ones that had.

This, however, was pre the days of the Writely online word processor, Google spreadsheet, Box.net storage, Flickr for online storage and manipulation of photos and the host of Web2.0 apps available to a connected computer today. It was also in a part of the world where access to broadband was not the norm that it is in Hong Kong.

If I were initiating a program today, I am not sure I would be able to defend the need for a small 11 year old girl to have to carry a 2.5 kg machine back and forward to school each day and from class to class like I could then. I think I would also be struggling to defend the need for the full featured high spec machine over something like the ASUS Eee PC announced recently. http://laptoping.com/asus-eee-701-pc.html I have copied some details of this device, which is priced around the US$200 mark, below so you know what I am talking about.

I would be really interested in comments from teachers on the list as to whether such a device is a viable alternative to a full notebook for a 1:1 program. If not, what things are missing from such as device that you see as being essential to something that kids in school to use for learning?

Regards

Paul

New Notebook From ASUS Called “Eee” PC Uses Solid-State Drive
Notebooks | 5th Jun 2007

ASUS Introduces All-New Eee PC for Complete Mobile Internet Enjoyment

Easy to Learn, Easy to Work, Easy to Play

Singapore, June 2007 – Majority of activities conducted on the laptops today are Internet related. Whether it’s checking emails, reading news, communicating with others or simply utilizing online share spaces, Internet usage has become a big part of the daily computing operations – for both work and fun. To accommodate the increasing total Internet computing demands as well as growing number of users, both young and old, ASUS launches the revolutionary Eee PC to provide users with a new mobile Internet experience like never before.

This is a new line of PCs that focuses on providing users with the most comprehensive Internet application based on three Es: Easy to learn, work, play; Excellent Internet experience and Excellent mobile computing experience, and hence the product name of Eee PC.

Easy to Learn, Work and PlayASUS Eee PC
Learn the latest technology without a technical manual! For easy hands-on, the Eee PC offers two modes of intuitive user interface design: the easy mode and the full desktop mode in order to accommodate both experienced and inexperienced PC users. The Eee PC is also Windows XP compatible.

Excellent Internet Experience
Built-in WLAN connectivity allows users to stay connected for dynamic Internet usage on the go. With the Eee PC empowers users to share photos without waiting till one gets home; connect face to face with just a few clicks; enjoy online entertainment live; stay on top of emails for high work efficiency and more!

Excellent Mobile Computing Experience
The 7” Eee PC 701 weighs at a featherlight 0.89 kg, with large flash-based storage capacity and built-in webcam for compact mobility with wireless freedom. The special solid-state disc design based on built-in flash-memory gives the Eee PC a great shock-proof advantage over traditional notebook PCs allowing extra flexibility and a worry free mobile computing experience.

EeePC 701 Specification:
- Display:7″
- CPU & Chipset: Intel mobile CPU & chipset
- OS: Linux/ Microsoft Windows XP compatible
- Communication: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet; 56K modem
- WLAN: WiFi 802.11b/g
- Graphic: Intel UMA
- Memory: 512MB, DDR2-400
- Storage: 4/ 8/ 16GB Flash
- Webcam: 300K pixel video camera
- Audio: Hi-Definition Audio CODEC; Built-in stereo speaker; Built-in microphone
- Battery Life: 3hrs (4 cells: 5200mAh, 2S2P)
- Dimension & Weight: 22.5 x 16.5 x 2.1~3.5cm, 0.89kg

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