According to the Washington Post, the Next Big Thing in instructional technology is…
Some of you are probably familiar with this device or it’s earlier incarnation, the Alphasmart. Basically, the Neo is a plastic keyboard with an LCD display and flash memory storage that runs on double-A batteries.
But this is really nothing new. Our little group has been advocating the use of Alphasmarts/Neos as inexpensive student writing and collaboration tools to our schools for at least five years.
The units are rugged enough for kids to take anywhere and, when more powerful tools are needed, they can be plugged into a computer to easily transfer the contents. We also use them for note taking and information gathering at adult meetings as well.
For some reason, however, they can be a hard sell to principals and others. Many people don’t understand that a single-purpose $200 device can sometimes be far more effective and powerful than a full-featured $1500 laptop.
The instructional technology version of keep it simple, stupid.
Anyway, it’s nice that the Post has discovered the “Next Big Thing”.