School districts calculate ways to use netbooks in classes

Classroom computers are shrinking, as more local students are using netbooks at school, reports the Dallas Morning News. The small computers are much lighter and cheaper than traditional laptop computers. One sign of that shift took place when the Irving, Texas, school district decided in May to begin replacing aging and bulkier student laptops with about 4,600 netbooks. The smaller computers are more closely related to cell phones, which many students are familiar with. They’re also not the best option for advanced video production capabilities. But advocates of netbooks say they are ideal for basic functions as more schools get wireless access and move textbooks and lessons online. When the Grand Prairie school district opened its new Dubiski Career High School this fall, officials ordered about 1,200 Dell netbooks to give to students. For about a year, Richardson ISD has used Hewlett-Packard netbooks with about 300 students in its math and science academy at Berkner High School. “Kids are used to using cell phones and iPods,” said Sandra Hayes, Richardson’s executive director of technology. “The large screen doesn’t really matter to kids.” She said drawbacks include the lack of DVD and CD drives, so students must save files on their flash or network drives…

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