Showing posts with label Laptops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laptops. Show all posts

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Explania Video - What's New in Windows 7

Has your school recently upgraded to Windows 7? Is it planning to upgrade to Windows 7? If so, the following video from Explania might help you or those who come to you for help discover some of the new handy features in Windows 7. 

What’s new in Windows 7? - Explania

On a related note, for a few reasons I've been contemplating the purchase of a new Windows-based 15"-16" screen laptop. I'm often desirous of more screen real estate than my MacBook (13") or netbook (10") offer. I could just get a big monitor to plug into, but I really don't want another piece of furniture in the house nor do I have a good place to put something like that (all of my work away from school takes place at my kitchen table, on the couch, or on the road). Occasionally, I come across programs that are Windows-only that I want to try on screen bigger than that of my netbook. Finally, as much as I'd like to think that Mac OS is awesome, I know there are a lot of people and institutions that don't agree. Therefore, I feel that I should be more familiar with Windows 7 than I am now.

This Asus A52F-XE2 Laptop (Amazon link) seems like it would fit my budget and needs, but I'd like to hear from the Windows experts out there. Will I be disappointed with it for that price? I won't be using it for any heavy video editing or gaming (unless you count the occasional word game), mostly it will be used for writing, browsing the web, and Google Earth layer building.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Buying a Netbook or Laptop on Black Friday?

There are many excellent deals to be had on netbooks and laptops during tomorrow's Black Friday sales. If you're not sure which deals are actually deals and which netbook or laptop is best for you or student, check out the following two articles from TechCrunch and CNET.

TechCrunch: Gift Guide 2009: Netbooks

CNET: Who makes the most reliable laptops?

For what it's worth, I haven't had any problems with and really enjoy myAcer Aspire One 10.1-Inch Blue Netbook which is now listed $50 less than it was six months ago.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How Should You Spend Your Computer Budget?

In the video below I share my thoughts on a CNET article comparing a $300 notebook to a $300 laptop. In the comments section of the article someone noted that it's not a good idea to buy the best computer you can. I've linked the article below the video. Please add your comments to the video or on the article itself.


Here is the original article.

Here are a couple of related items that may be of interest to you:
Netbook vs. Cheap Notebook Decision
Make the Most of Your Netbook's Screen

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Make the Most of Your Netbook's Screen

As I've shared a few times, I'm very pleased with the netbook that I purchased last month. That said, there have been a few times while browsing the web that I wish my display was just a little bit bigger. Today, on Tekzilla they shared a tip for maximizing your viewing area in Firefox using an add-on. Check it out in the short video embedded below.


Applications for Education
If your school is considering getting netbooks for student use or it already has netbooks, display size is important for some applications. This Firefox add-on could expand your viewing area just enough to make a difference.

Here are some related links that may be of interest to you:
Netbook vs. Cheap Notebook Decision
10 Things Teachers Should Know Before 1:1
Acer Netbook After Two Weeks

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

10 Things Teachers Should Know Before 1:1

I was on a conference call this evening with some other educators and administrators in the state of Maine. The purpose of the call was to brainstorm ideas for a video about preparing for teaching in a 1:1 computing environment. In advance of the call we were asked to generate a list of things that teachers should know before teaching in a 1:1 environment.
This is the list that I generated with some help from my Twitter friends @ernieeaster @scmorgan and @edtech4me

1. Not all teenagers are digital natives.
2. The computer itself is not going to create student engagement.
3. Teaching with technology is a heterogeneous experience.
4. It takes longer than you think to get a room full of students on the same webpage.
5. You should keep a list of students' usernames and passwords.
6. Murphy's Law is strongest the first few times you try to teach 1:1
7. Close and Focus.
8. Project design is still about the content.
9. Better to stand behind students than in front.
10. Network administrators are not always up to date on Web 2.0 from the end-user perspective. (There's a difference between hardware people and software people).

Darcy Moore
wrote a great series of posts on this topic back in May. I encourage you to read his posts on the topic as he reached out to hundreds of people to generate his lists.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Netbook vs. Cheap Notebook Decision

As some readers might already know from my Twitter postings, I bought an Acer netbook this evening. Judging by the replies on Twitter there is some interest in my decision process so I'll highlight some of the factors that influenced my decision.

I don't make very much money and therefore don't have very much money to spend so price was a key consideration for me. Netbooks met my criteria for being relatively inexpensive (although anytime I spend more than $50 it's a major purchase in my mind). After researching them on the web, asking for comments on Twitter, and emails with people I trust, I was 90% certain that I wanted an Acer. Three stores in my area Radio Shack, Staples, and Walmart carry the Acer so I set out this afternoon to test the Acer and find my best deal. (Notice the being thrifty pattern developing). After trying the Acer I was sure I wanted to purchase it. But, then I stopped into Best Buy. Best Buy was running a sale on the base model Toshiba Satellite. For $50 more than I had planned to spend I could have bought the Toshiba with a 15" screen and DVD drive. That was where my shopping trip got confusing.

At the end of the day I bought the Acer Aspire One. I have a computer (Macbook) when school is in session that is provided by the district/ state. But during the summer I'm relegated to my very old Gateway at home. I wanted the Netbook to serve as my on-the-go blogging tool and web surfing tool. The Acer Aspire One with the 10" display seemed to be perfect for that. The Toshiba Satellite on sale at Best Buy was a much bigger machine in screen size and weight. Approximately 97% of what I do with a computer is done in the cloud, not on the computer itself. Getting the bigger Toshiba and spending $50 more was not something I could justify when I considered my original intent for a small, light blogging tool.

If you're considering buying a netbook for your personal use or your child's use here are a few things to consider.
1. If you don't have any other computer to use, a netbook might not be what you want. The 10" screen is a little too small to see the entire field of some websites and programs.
2. If, like me, most of what you do is online then a netbook could be a good choice for you.
3. For some people the size of the keyboard is a consideration. This wasn't a consideration for me because I never learned to type properly and have a "speed hunt and peck" technique.
4. To get the most out of your netbook you may want to consider stripping away any unneccesary programs that come installed on your netbook.

I've had my Acer for only a few hours now and so far I am happy with it. I've already written two blog posts with it. I will update this post tomorrow evening after I've had a full day of working with it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Darcy Moore's Best of 1:1 Advice

Over the last couple of weeks Darcy Moore has been collecting advice about preparing teachers to teach in a 1:1 environment. He reached out to his network of Twitter contacts and received many, many responses. In the video below Darcy compiles some of the best bits of advice and sets it to music. If your school, like mine, is preparing for teaching in a 1:1 environment, this video is worth watching.

RSS readers may need to click through to view the video.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Message to One-to-One Naysayers

This morning Maine's largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, ran the headline Schools Feel Misled on Laptop Program. By noontime today there were 70 comments on the article. The vast majority of those comments were very critical of program, some were well reasoned, some were not. Most of the negative comments centered around the theme of the state wasting money. Usually, I try to stay out the fray when it comes to state politics, but is one topic that I had to speak up on. Below is my response to the 60+ comments critical of Maine's Laptop Initiative.

I applaud the state's effort to close the digital divide between the "have's" and "have not's" that exists between school districts statewide and countrywide.

Now is the time to invest in education, not after the economy recovers. If we have not prepared our students to compete globally by the time the economy recovers, they will be farther behind than they are now.

I completely understand the concerns of the general public and some school administrators and board members (note, I did not say teachers). And, yes, there is local cost involved in this program. Yes, this investment will require paying for the training of teachers and will require paying technicians to maintain the laptops. The difference is this investment has far more potential for return than paying unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, and all of the other assorted freebies the state gives away on a daily basis.

Finally, if you can watch all five minutes of this video and still think that the state is doing the wrong thing, then you need to adjust to the possibility that before too long your children and grandchildren could be the ones assembling consumer goods for India and China.

Does your school district or state have a one-to-one program? What was the initial public response? How does your community feel about the program now?

Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just Watched "Shift Happens"... Again

I just watched an updated version of "Shift Happens." Earlier this month Maine announced that the one-to-one laptop program is expanding to include all high school students. I'm very excited about the expansion of the program. Unfortunately, it seems that not all teachers and administrators are as excited as I am. I've already heard rumblings that some schools are considering not participating in the program. Perhaps those teachers and administrators should watch "Shift Happens" too.



Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tom Brady Goes Into His Pocket for OLPC

Usually, you hear about NFL quarterbacks stepping into "the" pocket. In this case we have a quarterback reaching into "his" pockets. Tom Brady, the injured star quarterback of the New England Patriots has announced on his blog that he has purchased 1,500 XO Laptops. Tom is sending the laptops to Uganda where his sister is doing humanitarian work.

If you or someone you know is interested in donating XO laptops please visit the Amazon XO website. Something that is different about this year's program is that you have the option of purchasing just one computer to donate for $199 rather than purchasing two at $399.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OLPC Give One Get One - And a Look at the Technology

The OLPC "get one, give one" program is restarting on Monday, November 17. Last year the program was successful in generating the production of 150,000 XO Laptops. This year the G1G1 program is being run through Amazon. Despite the recent installation of Windows XP on some XO laptops, the XO laptops sold through the G1G1 program will boot Linux Sugar only.

If you're interested in the wireless technology used in the XO laptop, check out this video of Robert Scoble interviewing Michall Blestas from OLPC.


(If you're reading this in a RSS reader, you may have to visit the blog directly to watch the video).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not Free, but Relatively Cheap

I typically don't post stories or link to anything that is not 100% free for the end user. However, in this case I will make an exception.

The CNET Cheapskate posted a very good deal for a Linux - powered netbook from HP. The price is $299 marked down from the normal $499. If you're in the market for a cheap netbook, this might be the deal for you. You can find all of the details and a review of the netbook here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Interview With OLPC

Here is another great video from Robert Scoble that should be of interest to technology teachers. In this video for Fast Company TV Scoble interviews the president of OLPC, Chuck Kane.
One of highlights from the interview include the announcement of another round of "give one, get one" in which donors can donate an XO laptop to developing countries.
About five minutes into interview, Mr. Kane makes an interesting statement about the philosophy of OLPC, "we're not a computer company, we're an education company."


I have an XO laptop that was generously given to me by Harold Shaw. Last spring I allowed my 9th grade students use it as much as they wanted during study halls. A few of my students thought the XO Laptop was more useful to them than the nine-years-old MacBooks that are on the school's computer carts.

Have you had any experience with the XO laptop? Do you think the XO laptop has a useful place in the schools of more developed countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia?

(If you're reading this post in a RSS reader, you may have to visit the blog directly to view the video).

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Response to "Thanks for the PC."

CNET ran an article today titled, Thanks for the PC. What do I do with it? The article was written in response to a recent survey in which more than two-thirds of teachers said they were not seeing substantial academic improvements as a result of one-to-one computing programs. The article goes on to cite a recent panel discussion at the Future in Review where the panelists pointed to a lack of "how-to" training for teachers as the reason schools aren't seeing significant improvement. One panelist made the argument that there are hundreds of years of teaching methods based on books and there is only a decade or so of teaching methods with computers.

The panelists are correct. Too often the emphasis from local, state, and national government is on standards and reporting. The standards are written based on old methodology therefore anyone trying to develop new methods to teach with technology runs the risk of not meeting standards. The danger of not meeting standards prevents some schools from trying new methodology including teaching with technology. The safe thing for schools to do is to focus on reporting methods and minor tweaking of old methodology. Until schools make whole-hearted commitments to training teachers on methods and means of teaching with technology, the success of one-to-one computing programs will remain limited.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

OLPC Second Generation Laptop

According to the TED Blog the second generation of the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) XO laptop is slated for release in the next 18-24 months. This second generation laptop will be called the XO-2 and feature two touch screen displays that can be used independently or together as one flat panel. The new XO-2 is significantly smaller and lighter than the current XO laptop. Visit the TED Blog or Laptop Magazine for more pictures and a short video about the XO-2.

OLPC has not mentioned what type of operating system the XO-2 will have. Given the announcement last week that Windows XP will soon be available for the XO laptop, I won't be surprised if Microsoft technology is incorporated into the XO-2.

Later this week I'll be posting an in-depth review, including video comments from students, of the XO Laptop.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Alan Kay - Teaching Ideas

Alan Kay has developed software used on the OLPC laptop. At TED, Alan Kay presented his ideas about teaching and using software to teach. In this video Kay explains the concept of using software to create situated learning experiences in math and science.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Laptop Use Is Improving Writing Scores


On the Maine Learns website there is a very thought provoking story about the relationship between student laptop use and writing scores. The study from the University of Southern Maine's Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation reports that writing scores on the MEA improved by an average of 3.44 points in the five years since middle school students began having 24 hour a day access to laptop computers. What is more telling than the average improvement is the shift to the right in normalized scores over the same period of time. (See the chart to the left).

Obviously there is more than one possible explanation for the improvement in writing scores none-the-less this study does provide proof of one benefit of providing all middle school students with laptops. Of course simply giving laptops to students does not automatically improve writing scores. The effort at the district and state level in Maine to help teachers develop methods for teaching with technology also contributes to the improvement in writing scores. The responses to the third question (see table 2) in the teacher survey is a very telling factor statistic in understanding part of explanation for improvement in student achievement. The responses to the third question indicate that teachers' perceptions are that students are more likely to revise their work when it is completed on a laptop. The teachers' responses coincide with the students' perceptions (table 1) that they are more likely to revise their work when it is completed on a laptop.

What is happening where you teach? Do your students have 24 hour access to computers? Does the USM study match with your experience?

Click here to download the full study. (It's about 20 pages).