Saturday, August 7, 2010

Netbooks - The pencil NOT the book

As we prepare for the unprecedented (in New Zealand) rollout of 1:1 computing for a community of Decile 1 students, one of our recurring discussions has been about the misunderstandings the terms 'notebook' or 'netbook' lead to.

In our planning and preparations we see the device the students use as the pencil or pen. This provides lots of flexibility in terms of what we choose or even what the students bring from home.

The "book" for the Manaiakalani schools is definitely the Cloud solution we have set up. In our case this is Google Apps for Education.

We expect our students to be writing on documents in the cloud, using spreadsheets, creating presentations and even drawing and recording sound via their "books" in the cloud. The Google Apps are supplemented by a wide variety of Web 2 tools teachers and students can select from.

When our educators get their heads around this concept, it answers the questions which arise time and again; what software will be on their devices? what happens when they break or leave them at home? how much storage space will be on their hard drives? etc?
The device is simply the pencil - if it breaks, just like a pencil, get another one (or sharpen it!) and carry on working because your "book" is in the cloud.

This simplicity in thinking and working depends of course on a very reliable supply of fast internet to every school and home. And we are working on that too.

Thanks very much Lepa from Room 18 for drawing the graphics I wanted :)