After one year of owning Netbooks the Manaiakalani students were invited to publish a reflection on their personal blogs about their first year of having their own digital device.
90 children from Years 5-8 chose to respond publicly.
Kingston's reflection began:
Without A Netbook I Am Nothing!Do you know how much my Netbook has changed my learning?
Well last year (2010) I had to write in a book with a pencil and there was no point, because nobody could see it. Now that I have a Netbook I am able to write faster and my writing is much neater, but most importantly, I have an audience that can see my writing on my blog....
There were some repetitive themes coming through these reflections:
- A huge positive was around the mechanics of writing. They seem to dislike the physical act of writing and most comment on how much easier it is to type - even when they are poor typists. They also mention frequently how much they appreciate the ability to edit errors (back space, delete etc) without their work looking messy.
- Concepts around self-directed learning. Consistent examples were; looking things up on the internet, finding out on YouTube, using the class Google Site or using specific sites like Maths Whizz.
- How having their own netbook enabled them to post on their blog more frequently. This was often expressed in sentences like, “Now it is worth writing because people read my work. When I wrote in a book, no-one read it”.
- Games were mentioned quite a bit, but definitely fourth on the list
- Issues with the speed of the internet frustrated almost every child who wrote a reflection.
- Quite a number mentioned their dissatisfaction with the paint app on the Netbook. This was a cohort used to using Kid Pix, Hyperstudio and Photoshop on iMacs, so Tux Paint did not rate at all well!
- A few children mentioned issues around repairs, breakages and battery life.