Netbooks, tiny laptops with 7- to 13-inch
screens designed speci cally for sur ng
the Internet, are becoming all the rage.
And though many users sco at their obvious
limitations, including cramped keyboards, small
screens, and a lack of storage and memory, no one
complains about the price. Netbooks were selling
for less than $400 in the fall and were expected to
dip to the $250 range by Christmas. At that price,
you hardly have to concern yourself with locking
them in the hotel safe. e price also makes them
a great ed tech tool.
In fact, several netbooks on the market today
were designed specifically with schools in mind.
Built-in antennae allow wireless Internet access.
Many models use solid-state drives instead of
bulkier and more destructable hard drives. They
are tough, portable, small enough to stash in a
purse, and lighter than most textbooks. Plus,
they boot up fast.
Lenovo is coming out with a netbook for schools
similar to its IdeaPad S10 for general consumers.
Lenovo’s “e” netbooks, the S9e and the S10e, are
sold exclusively to schools and can be packaged
with educational so ware such as Vital Source
Technologies and Adobe Digital School Collection.
Students can connect wired or wirelessly through
Ethernet, WiFi3, and optional Bluetooth. Out tted
with a standard ExpressCard 34 slot, the netbooks
can also be enabled for mobile broadband3.
Intel’s Classmate is marketed to students as
well. Looking more like a sturdy small suitcase
than a sleek laptop, the Classmate comes encased
in a hard plastic shell with its own handle. With
a water-resistant keyboard, it is designed with
kids in mind.
Many reviewers are grousing about netbooks’ diminutive size. Pecking away on a small, weirdly organized keyboard and squinting at a 7-inch screen
may seem ridiculous to some users. But netbooks
aren’t supposed to be the primary family computer,
and they are not meant for playing World of War-
cra or for downloading huge les.
For schools struggling to teach 21st-century
skills while facing shrinking budgets, netbooks
just might be the way to put every child in front
of a computer without breaking the bank.
I n spironMini9
2133 Mini Note