Evaluating Netbooks in Education: A Discontinuity in Mobility
Geelhoed, Erik; Jain, Jhilmil; Mitchell, April Slayden
Keyword(s): netbooks, education, user studies, mobility, mini notebooks, subnotebooks
Abstract: We studied the use of netbooks (HP Mini-Note 2133) by students in the age range 11 - 14 years in three schools in different geographical locations: Fresno (California), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Shanghai (China). We found that netbooks are a major departure from traditional laptops: they are moved around in the class room with great ease, are much more part of the social flow in the classroom, and stimulate collaboration. In addition, the power and small form factor of the device stimulated the children's visual creativity. Looking at the wider ecology of home computing, other mobile devices and social networking, we gained further insights in how future netbooks can be embedded and integrated into the highly social and emotional flow of teenagers' lifestyles. From the schools' perspectives (teachers, IT-decision makers), we learnt that the form-factor and price of the netbooks are ideal for the educational environment, but challenges lie in creating innovative solutions for content management, infrastructure support, and integration of educational software with school curriculum/standards. From the parents' perspectives, we learned that they were supportive of the netbook usage in the classroom and described their children as being more engaged in class when using the netbook. We also present a simple model of mobility and place the netbook device in this framework.
External Posting Date: March 11, 2011 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: September 21, 2009 [Fulltext]