While my spell-checker might not recognize the word "netbook," when a quick web search turns up some 36 million hits, I think it's clear that this latest entry into the highly portable computer market should not be dismissed. For K-12 schools, the netbook can give students a level of information and communications technology (ICT) access that only relatively few have enjoyed so far.

Just about three months ago, I was nearing the conclusion of a two-decade-long career as a chief technology officer in a K-12 school district. Excited about the potential of the netbook, I spent a lot of time evaluating...

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