There’s no doubt about it — our kids are growing up in the digital age. From toddlers mastering iPads to teens creating multimedia presentations, our kids are surpassing our technological skills at a break neck speed. As a teacher, I’m always on the lookout for ways to infuse my lessons with technology. One thing I know for sure — most kids love computers! And when students get to engage with something they love, the learning is much more effective and meaningful.
Excited learners are successful learners.
Schools are struggling to keep pace with the quickly advancing digital world. School boards across the country are making grand promises about outfitting schools with Wifi and providing computers and tablets to their pupils. However, the reality doesn’t live up to those promises — many schools are limping along with malfunctioning, out dated equipment and frustratingly slow connectivity.
The discrepancy between the curriculum expectations and the actual equipment available in school means one thing: pretty soon, probably sooner than you expect, your student is going to need a laptop. Certainly, by high school, a laptop is number one on many back-to-school shopping lists.
I was thrilled to receive an Acer C710 Chromebook 11.6 from Canada’s leading electronics-focused e-retailer Newegg.ca to try out. It gave me a chance to see how this nifty little machine would stack up against the demands of the 21st century classroom.
If you will be buying a laptop for your child, how can you properly equip them and how will you do it without breaking the bank? Here’s what to look for when setting up your student with a laptop:
Let’s be honest. Kids are kids. Sometimes they drop things. Sometimes they leave lockers unlocked. Sometimes they loan things to friends who then forget said things in the school cafeteria. You want to look for a computer that will provide all the features you need without the crazy price tag. The Acer C710 Chromebook 11.6 is $199.99 which is a great value!
The number one complaint from students using the school’s outdated computers is that they are seriously slow. A slow computer frustrates the user and completely negates that whole engaged, excited learner bit. Be sure the computer has a decent processor speed and is fast for web browsing.
Think back to high school...remember the size of that physics textbook, the weight of the history textbook, and the volume of your binder? Book bags get heavy. Even if your students take all their notes using their shiny new laptops, they still need to lug around handouts, textbooks, old lunches, gym shoes, maybe a skateboard or two, and just imagine if the poor kids play the tuba! Give their shoulders a break and find a computer that doesn’t weigh them down.
Yours won’t be the only student using a laptop, and they can’t all sit near the outlet in class. Ensure there’s a long enough battery life on the computer so that it doesn’t fizzle out just as they are putting the finishing touches on their essay or jotting down that vital exam prep question.
Ok. I’m not naïve enough to think that kids won’t be using the computer to watch a few YouTube videos and check out the latest pranks online. But good visuals are also helpful for schoolwork. It’ll reduce eyestrain and computer-induced fatigue. Plus, a nice big screen helps us teachers check out what the kids are up to and keep them on task!
Kids have enough to think about in school. Look for a computer that is easy to use and quick to set up. Find something that uses an operating system such as Chrome, so they are familiar with it. The interface on the Acer Chromebook is similar to Google and will make accessing various functions very intuitive.
The Acer C710 Chromebook 11.6 is a small, inexpensive, quick laptop that has all these features and more!
The digital world moves fast. Help your children keep pace and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.