Intel Classmate PC lands in UK for £239
Eee bandwagon rolls on
Intel's kid-friendly cut-price computer concept has come to the UK courtesy of local supplier Actronix.
Dubbed the JumPC, the Small, Cheap Computer is based on a 900MHz Intel Celeron Mobile processor and the chip giant's 915GMS chipset. It has 512MB of DDR 2 memory on board and 2GB of Flash storage - though you can select a 30GB HDD instead.
JumPC: Intel's Classroom PC, coloured orange
The unit has an Eee PC-style 7in, 800 x 480 display; two USB ports; 10/100Mb/s Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. There's a webcam too.
It ships with Windows XP Home Edition pre-loaded, and Actronix is also bundling EasyBits' Magic Desktop software to provide a more straightforward, child-oriented UI to the laptop's features. An integrated handle makes it easy for nippers to lug the laptop around.
Easy to handle
All this comes in at £239, the supplier said. It's taking advance orders through its website, though the machine won't go on sale until early August, it admitted.
There is an alternative to learning ICT based on MS Windows
To all of you that think the world is taught computing on MS Windows, take a look at www.theingots.org - technology neutral ICT learning taking place in our schools today.
I support specifically primary schools, many parts of the curriculum can be delivered using open source software this is true, but just as much cant, support/lesson planning software again isnt availiable... a couple of examples - self leveling, maths software - there are only a couple of titles available on the windows platform that are any good and none in an open source flavour - this would be where these scc would excel - individualised personal learning.
The curriculum calls for video editing and animation - we have (crappy but very easy to use) usb video cameras and editing software (with ready to use samples) designed for children - not seen any support in that way in open source.
Control and modeling - again, usb connected programable roamers and a lego mindstorms - no linux support - oh unless you expect a 7yearold to use a command line based editor! (although that would be a nice thing to be able to do!)
in not knocking open source or linux at all - I have an eeepc myself, my main desktop PC runs IRIX, back in 2000 I was in a partnership to explore opensource and thin client technologies to support schools, we use audacity, paint.net, sebran, and a few other titles, but there just isnt the maturity yet, things are getting better and the applications are slowly coming along, but we are still a little way off.
finally - at the end of the day the majority of pc's at home and in the workplace are Microsoft windows based - until that changes it makes sense to teach kids what is mainstream.
mark houghton beat me to it, but...
it's worth repeating: FUGLY. I wouldn't inflict it on your kids let alone mine. Oh er, I don't have any :-)
Dave - most Key Stage 4 and 5 courses (GCSE/A Level) require students to complete coursework using specific types of software e.g. Spreadsheets/Databases - the exam board spec will normally 'suggest' some packages which will be acceptable. But of course, most schools are running MS Office, so its a done deal.
Personally, I am trying to loosen the evil hold of Gates over my own establishment by phasing in Open Office over the next 12 months.
As for eeepc's - I bought one for myself and love it but its not sturdy enough to stand up to 6 hours minimum use everyday. Our classroom PC's will typically last 2-3 years. We don't purchase laptops for student use because, like many schools, we don't yet have a wireless network. The screens on the eee's and similar minibooks are too small for extended use, IMO.
Well, I doubt she'll have to put up with them for long, I expect they will all slowly disappear within a few months.
Yep, the biggest minus to a portable computer when you put it in a class full of thieving kids is that it will vanish.