Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Netbooks & Education

I just received my netbook in the mail this morning. It is an Asus Eee PC 1005HA-V 10.1-Inch Black. Wow . . . what a joy to work/play with this little gem today. I immediately switched out the 1 gig of memory for 2 gigs . . .then trashed the trial version of MS Office and some other unnecessary stuff. Before trashing Internet Explorer, I downloaded Google Chrome and Firefox. I then added OpenOffice, Audacity, Google Earth, SketchUp, Scratch, iTunes, Skype and Picasa. I noted that MS Moviemaker and Norton Antivirus were included with the original software . . . which was a plus.

I was pleasantly surprised how peppy the netbook is and how quickly it downloads photos, videos, and software files. Plugging it into a 20" flat screen monitor for work that might require more real estate worked without a hitch.

First Impression: It might be small, but this is no toy. It is a powerful device for getting serious work done. I was particularly impressed with how well Google Earth and SketchUp responded. Nifty!

Now, it could be argued that the netbooks are fine and dandy but that they don't have the necessary power for content creation such as higher end laptops or desktops . . . and that that is the direction schools should be headed, not in the direction of simply reading and writing text. For this viewpoint, read this:: The Netbook Fad in Education.

Here's a more balanced view: Netbooks or Notebooks?

Other reflections:

Learning in Hand - Netbooks
1 to 1 Netbook Trial
Clarence Fisher: OS and Education
Teaching with Netbooks
Richard Byrne: Netbook vs. Cheap Notebook Decision

It will be interesting to see what the verdict is on netbooks in education a few years down the road. Will they be durable enough to stand up to student use? Will they allow a new way of learning?

I invite you to add to the lists below. Who is going to start? Simply put your addition in comments and I'll add it here with your name.

What can netbooks do?

What can they not do?

Final question: Which list is going to be longer?