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After hitting the market, netbooks became the latest electronic trend. These small devices were defined as miniature laptop computers that were designed with a small display screen and the lack of an optical disc drive. These computers came with a less powerful processor and limited memory compared to laptop computers, but they were ideal for browsing the internet or checking one s email. Because of the cheaper price and lighter weight on these computers, these electronic devices were originally targeted toward educational purposes. Some educators were thrilled about the less-expensive educational tool that could be placed in the hands of each student. Others had their doubts and concerns about bringing these smaller computers into the classroom.

Pros

The size, price, weight and easy portability are what seem to draw many educators to consider these student laptops. For students to succeed in this society, basic computer skills are an absolute must. Some students may not have access to computers at home, so school is the only place they can get hands-on experience and learn basic skills. Educators who are in favor of these computing devices say the price is right for these machines. In many states, education is not the top priority and money is tight. With such a low price, computers can now be considered more affordable.

These portable devices are small and not heavily powered. However, students, particularly elementary-aged, need a basic word processing program, internet capabilities and a few multimedia features before they have what they need to become successful. The easy access to the internet makes using these mini-computers ideal. They are most often used for browsing the internet and this quick connectivity brings the world to the student s fingertips. It provides a wide range of resources available. Students don t need power, they need the basics to make their education valuable.

Many teachers claim they benefit from the use of these devices by the ability to give assessments online and to make adjustments to directions in a more timely matter. The key for educators is to first recognize what uses they have for the computer. If these small-laptops meet those requirements, they may be the cheaper and ideal choice for the classroom.

Cons

These computing devices may sound wonderful but some educators feel they should be kept out of the classroom and are a hindrance to many students' education. Some educators feel the size of the computer is a huge asset, while others feel it is one of the greatest drawbacks. After learning letters, numbers, reading and math, typing is a skill that is needed for success in today s world. With the skills of reading, numeracy and the use of a keyboard, an individual can have access to unlimited amounts of information. With the smaller size of a keyboard on many mini-computers, students do not learn how to type on a standard computer. Some educators say that because typing skills are so important, if students need to learn how to type on a standard keyboard, they should be supplied one.

For college students or students further along in their education, some mini-laptops may be insufficient to accomplish the tasks and projects that need to be done. For more project-based assignments that require multimedia features, this computing device may not perform all the functions needed. A regular-sized laptop or desktop computer may be more ideal for those types of tasks.

Even though netbooks are designed for educational purposes, many educators found reasons they are not ideal and that full-sized computers were a better fit. However, as stated previously, these laptop computers have many features that can enhance the education of any student. It all comes down to what educational goals schools have and if this computing device will do what they want it to do.

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