A tiny revolution
It’s smaller then a textbook and cheaper than many software packages. George Cole visits two schools using the first in a new breed of mini laptops
Arrive at the entrance to St Mary’s RC primary school in Grangetown, Middlesborough, and you’d think a bomb had gone off. In fact, around half the school has had to be demolished after a devastating arson attack last October causing almost £1m worth of damage. Currently without hall, ICT suite or library, its 150 pupils and 19 staff are crammed into half of the building that is being repaired and refurbished.The school only moved back from other premises in January. “One of my first reactions was, how on earth are we going to do ICT?” says ICT co-odinator Janet Lawrence. “We have a totally integrated ICT curriculum – we use it in maths, history, geography, science, for example.” But good can come out of adversity and the school’s plight resulted in donations from various companies, among them 25 Asus miniBooks from the ICT suppier, RM.
These mini laptops have caused a stir in the education sector, not least because they offer many features found on full-sized laptops, including built-in wireless networking. Their low cost (£169) is partly down to their use of open source software like the Linux operating system and free software packages such as Open Office. This does away with many software licensing costs incurred when using Microsoft Windows. So what are they like in practice?
Author: George Cole, The Guardian, 18th March 2008
Full article available here.