Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

For a long time I have been in love with the lowly netbook, an under-powered computer that does internet, word-processing, and little else. I’ve mentioned that, while weak in terms of performance, they allow students to get easy access to much-needed services at a low cost.

Tablets have taken a lot of the steam out of netbooks lately, but the need for low-cost computing is still very real in education. Soon there will be a new contender—what I will call a Netstick.

Google has long stated that phones at tablets were only the beginning for its lightweight Android OS, and they were right. FXI Technologies will soon release their “Cotton Candy” (who thinks up these names?!) device, a small USB stick with a SD cardslot and HDMI connector on the other end. This stick is essentially a miniature computer running Gingerbread (again with the names!) Android OS. It will never win any awards for speed, but will run Android Apps, WiFi, and Bluetooth. The cost? Around $200.

Imagine your students carrying around a whole computer system on a keychain. Plugging it into a projector when they want to demonstrate something, into a desktop when they want to work, or into their TV when at home. A whole computer on a keychain? I can’t wait to try one of these out.

 

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