Mobile Learning & Smart Tutor

Acer Aspire One

Acer Aspire One

(image courtesy of wstryder)

Last week I attended a conference on mobile learning in DC.  The experience was a real eye-opener to say the least. There are tons of really cool ‘stuff’ going on in the world of Mobile Learning.

Carly Shuler, from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop presented some very interesting research on children and mobile learning. You can read the full report titled “Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning” on their website.

While there’s much debate over cell phone usage and kids Michael Levine, Exec Director of the Cooney Center puts it really well in his foreword: “Pockets of Potential argues that despite legitimate public concern about the ‘disruptive track record’ of mobile devices in schools, there is reason to be excited about their potential.”

The report cites 25 studies all over the world from North Carolina to sub-Saharan Africa that are using mobile technologies as a means of  bridging the digital divide and helping children learn essential skills.

So…as a result of all of this we decided to check how Smart Tutor lessons run on the new netbooks that are out on the market. This past Friday our shiny new Acer Aspire One arrived (in waaaay too much packaging!) Cost = $340 (including shipping).

We’re happy to report that all the lessons we’ve tested so far seem to be running smoothly. While the keyboard does take a teeny bit of getting used to, I can’t say there’s been a really sharp learning curve. The graphics are crisp, the text is legible even for our 5th grade reading comprehension lessons (our biggest concern) and the audio is great! The netbook is light which would make it easy for a child to tote around. The battery life seems to be holding up OK too. While we sometimes experienced a delay when opening up a new browser window, and occasional ‘freezing’ (again when trying to access other websites like Gmail) we didn’t notice a lag in the actual playing of the lesson.

Anyone else using a netbook to play SmartTutor lessons? Please email me at suki [at] smarttutor [dot] com – I’d love to chat with you about your experience.

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