Netbooks for 09-10

by Coy Holcombe.  

A few days ago, in the summary of regular July board meeting, I mentioned that the Board had approved the purchase of 600 Asus netbooks for the 09-10 school year. A netbook computer is similar to a laptop computer, only smaller. EISD has been looking at netbooks for over a year. The netbooks that we will purchase are certainly a far cry from the first netbooks that we received as demos.

Most of the first netbooks that we looked at ran Linux, contained limited RAM, and had no hard drive. They did contain a solid state drive for storage, but it had limited capacity. The keys on the keyboards were extremely small. The screens were not only small, but had limited resolutions. Finally, the limited size for the batteries meant that it was unlikely that a full charge would last through the school day. However, at the time, they were affordable and offered a unique solution to providing enough computers for students.

Over the past year or so, EISD has purchased several different models of netbooks to try-out in the classrooms. The student feedback on these computers has been overwhelming positive. Certainly, there were limitations with what these first netbooks could do; however, in recent months, these limitations have diminished significantly.

The Asus netbooks that were approved in July really blur the line between a netbook and a full scale notebook computer. Here are some of the specifications of these netbooks:

Screen size and resolution: 10.1" ; 1024 x 600 LED screen
Hard Drive: 160 GB  
Battery Life: 10.5 hours
OS: Windows XP
Camera: 1.3 megapixel (built in)
Speakers: Built in stereo speakers
Weight: 2.81 pounds
Cost: $355.00

Each student in the High School will receive a netbook. Each grade level at the Middle School and Intermediate will receive one classroom set of 25. The older demos that were purchased will be utilized at the Primary School.

Computers and technology will never take the place of good teaching and good teachers. However, they will enhance the education that students receive. No longer will students have to go to a computer lab to work with computers. Computers and technology will become a seamless part of everyday instruction. A special thank you goes out to the EISD Board of Trustees for providing the leadership and means to purchase these computers. Also, a special thank you goes out to our technology department for the countless hours they have spent researching and testing different models. Our technology department includes: Gene Myers, Rusty Meyners, Wade Morton, David Johnson, and Robert Cook.


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