That netbooks are different to laptops? Well, they are! A netbook is a small, portable computer with, usually, a 10" screen. They are lightweight and they do pretty much everything a full size laptop can do.
Netbooks are becoming more and more popular in schools because students can learn differently than with desktop computers. How? Well, netbooks are small and can be used where ever they are needed. They go where the students go: to art, to music, to the reading corner in the classroom. And, if you have a one to one netbook program the greatest benefit is that students don't need to timetable 'computer time'. Students feel more engaged, more committed to learning and can make real world links to what they are learning! Gone are the days of learning by rote – our students today learn best when they are able to create, engage, produce, communicate and interact.
Netbooks can cope with a wide range of software and Internet websites. While they are not yet powerful enough to run all the high-end multimedia softwares out there every new release sees an increase in what a netbook can comfortably do. When students have closer to one to one access to netbooks in their classroom, research from Harvard University has shown that the computer becomes a tool, an aide to learning, rather than an 'activity' that we do in class. These days we don't 'do' computers, we integrate them. We encourage students to make decisions about what tools they will use to assist their learning and why. Is a pen and paper the best option? Is a group discussion needed? Could an online resource support your learning?
Box Hill North PS and Mitcham PS are two local schools who have both noticed exciting improvements in learning when they stopped treating computers as a subject to be taught and began to think of them as a tool to enhance learning. It's exciting to think where computing will take us next!