Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Device for Every Learner!

On Wednesday, Google announced Chromebook, a laptop computer that will be available to order on June 15, 2011; Price: $28-$33/month for businesses, $20-$23/month for education. I think the price is a little high for education, when looking at a device for every child, but very affordable for mobile labs or for individual families for a 3-year lease that includes all upgrades, maintenance, hardware refresh, and 100 MB 3G access per month. ReadWriteWeb provided an interesting cost analysis of the Chromebook in education. Combine the use of the Chromebook hardware with all of the Google Apps, and the barriers to e-portfolios are coming down. I wonder if my next purchase is a Chromebook ($20x36 months = $720) or one of the Android tablets coming out this summer (for around $500)?

But there are other options for giving each student internet access 24/7, at school and home. In addition to 1:1 laptop programs, there are other mobile devices that are being used in schools. For example, Canby (OR) and Escondido (CA) School Districts provide iPod/iPod Touch devices and/or iPads for student learning.  More schools are starting to explore student owned devices; according to eSchool News, 'Bring Your Own Device' is Catching on in schools.
Ed-tech access is an issue, but students' personal devices are an attractive option to a growing number of districts.
I am doing e-portfolio research this year on the variety of student-owned-or-loaned mobile devices that increase access to creative tools and the web, both from home and school. In addition to "capturing the moment" in image, video, audio and text formats, creating a digital story can be a powerful way to add reflection to a portfolio. The tools are becoming very creative and inexpensive on an iOS device (per my own experience last Christmas break with my iPod Touch); last weekend, the Center of Digital Storytelling sponsored the Blink Mobile Media Challenge:
The idea is to choose a moment to capture images/events, and then write and record a narration, and edit the movie on your mobile device.
Editing Google Apps from iOS devices is still not as easy as with Google's own ChromeOS, but there are many apps that can be used to support various components of e-portfolio development. I will be exploring specific iOS apps for supporting certain aspects of e-portfolio development at a preconference workshop at this summer's ISTE Conference. Maybe by the end of June, there will be more information about  emerging Google Chrome and Android devices.

Tweets from @dorothyjburt in NZ:
- We are trialling 6 - without the Telco plan - using our own wifi. Lotsa fun
- Weekend story from an @ptengland 6yr old "In the weekend I went to the park and played on the Firefox" Thx SallyV for sharing :)

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