One Note in Education the catalyst for netbooks

June 5, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Netbooks 

If you are new to One Note as an application then it might be useful to start by explaining exactly what it is. One Note is a note taking package which allows information gathering of text, notes, audio and video as well as web capture in a continuous format without the boundaries of page breaks. At the same time it allows people to work together as multiple editors to enable multi-user collaboration. In its original form One Note was devised for ideal use with tablet technology and in many ways this is why it has not taken off as much as it should have done as tablet technology has had limited adoption. At the same time One Note does have a significant fan base amongst people not using tablets because of its sheer flexibility and strengths as a note taking tool. Take a look at this demo to see how One Note is used without a tablet.

I think One Note is an excellent product and with the emergence of tablet technology on netbooks this software has a great chance to make a major impact in education. Last year I saw a series of videos showing how One Note can be used in the classroom and I wanted to show you these on the blog. The first is a video from a school in the US where tablet laptops have been in use for a long time.


What I really like about the video is the teachers are not trying to overuse the product they are simply sticking to the strengths of the product- note taking within a framework, digital sharing and collaboration. The second video is from a secondary school in Norway where audio, web and tablet writing are used by groups.


Although some elements of the video for me are a little contrived (I would have explained the task in the room rather than add the audio!) this gives a fair idea of some of the uses of One Note. As a tool I think One Note will continue to grow in use and offers the potential to get rid of exercise books if used with a tablet netbook.

Given it is a Friday I thought I would show you a couple of very old videos used to promote One Note in its 2003 version. I found them a little entertaining and hope they make you smile as we run into the weekend.


Asus T91 and the coming of the tablet revolution.

June 4, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Netbooks, Twynham School 

This week we have been covering the revolution starting in schools with the use of netbooks and the potential they offer to fundamentally change learning. In early January ASUS announced another step in that change with the production of a tablet netbook, the ASUS T91. It has been a long time coming but news filtered out in mid May that an early June release was likely and yesterday proved to be that day. I am a big fan of ASUS although the build quality of Samsung has led us down the NC20 route. At the same time I think the touch screen facility offered by the T91 may be a real game changer. Take a look at the video below- it comes with a ‘dodgy lift music’ advisory and is a little short on substance but gives a good idea of the basic functionality.

What really interests me is how students will engage with touch technology and looking forward with multi-touch offered by Windows 7. Will these changes bring the tablet machine of age through the education market? Can you meaningfully do something with touch technology that is not as easy with a standard machine? For me the real difference will come with the use of One Note and this is a topic I will round the week off with on Friday.

The best netbook for an education context?

June 3, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Netbooks 

Just before half term I was having a look around to see where we are with netbooks and came across something a little different from normal. Dell have done the hard work and thought about how to adapt a netbook to suit the educational environment. There may be more companies that have already done this but this is the first one which stood out to me. Although I am not recommending the product yet as I haven’t see it in the flesh or put it through the ultimate testing and feedback- students- I think it is worth everyone having a look at the video below. My first thoughts follow the video.

What I really loved

The thing that really caught my attention was the charging mechanism. I loved the cart which charges with simple slotting and think this is a big gain. I have spoken to three companies recently and when I asked about charging options for their products in a school context all said ‘I will get back to you’. So far none have and it is between 4-6 weeks since we met. Charging is always going to be a top 3 issue in schools.

I like the fact that there is touch screen as an option. Although I wish the video had shown the use of touch screen in a more imaginative way I really think touch screen is the future for education netbooks. The main reason for this in a secondary school is the use of One Note which I think is a product about to come of age. If I can run a netbook which can be used in the same ways as a computer room but also switch to fill the role of an exercise book then the cost savings in a school are huge.

What I am not so sure about

Although the casing does look very robust I wonder how students will feel about them looking so different than a standard laptop or even netbook. Will they look a bit cool and different or have a more ‘second class citizen’ feel to them. If this was the case then they would be dead in the water.

Are these netbooks a little more primary? It was interesting to see the students were more primary focused in the video. Although this is not a bad thing as it would be great to move the netbook agenda forward in primary education. At the same time younger students have very different tastes- younger students we showed the fizzbook for example loved it but our secondary students did not!

What are your thoughts?

I know a lot of people read the netbook posts so it would be great to hear your thoughts. If you have a minute add a comment with your thoughts on this product or if you know of any other education focused netbooks which are better.