Asus Netbooks at King’ s Meadow

In March 2009 a pilot project using ASUS EeePC netbooks began in the school. This involved providing every child in primary five with a netbook that had the ability to connect to both the school network and home Internet. The purpose of the pilot was to look at how this increased access to network resources would benefit learning and teaching and to assess the usability and reliability of these devices for school and home.

The initial findings of the pilot were very positive in terms of their impact on learning and teaching, which fact was recognized by HMIe during the recent inspection of the school.

Teachers found multiple benefits in using these devices, including increased motivation of learners and the level of engagement they had in tasks that involved the use of the netbooks. The nature of the pilot meant that staff and pupils were learning collaboratively and this encouraged pupils to teach each other new skills as well as allowing more confident children to share skills with staff.

The netbooks have also been an excellent resource in terms of developing aspects of “Curriculum for Excellence”.

They promote child centred learning and the children have been able to take part in many different research tasks determined by their own interests.

The children’s confidence in carrying out Internet research and presenting their findings has also increased considerably. Through the pilot the children have learned how to use on-line collaboration tools such as Google Applications that allowed them to share their work with their peers [as well as their teacher!] and be given feedback.

Pupil feedback indicated that they greatly enjoyed using the devices as part of their learning. Previously, the children had to share computers either through the use of timetabled laptops or the use of the computer suite. The ease of access to their very own netbook allowed

the children greater spontaneity in the use of technology in the classroom.

The children also commented on the variety of approaches to their learning that these devices have allowed.

The netbooks have followed the children on from primary five into primary six where they continue to take similar approaches to using them in the classroom.

The hope is now to develop further the way that these devices are used for homework tasks. To improve online security a “firewall” was recently installed on each netbook. This will reduce concerns in situations where it is difficult to monitor fully how they are being used.

Overall the pilot has been a huge success and has encouraged the children to be responsible, confident and independent in their learning. We look forward to having further success in using this technology as an integral part of learning and teaching at King’s Meadow Primary School.

Claire Swanston (P6 Class Teacher)

Thanks to the ICT newsletter for this.

I was delighted to hear of this project and occasionally to view it in action when in Kings Meadow. 

I think it may be an excellent alternative to / replacement for the ubiquitous Alphasmart which chldren with difficulties with writing are sometimes given. It costs about the same and has so much more application. After all, while the keyboard is smaller, the screen is considerably more acessible. And you can access the internet.