It’s official - small is beautiful

e and t and the asus…from the experts. Pic just taken of my two playing with the new Asus MiniBook. It’s one thing talking about how these things might be used by kids in an esoteric ‘acedemic meeting’ but it’s just not the same as seeing the thing in action with the real users. Reaction from my kids? Let’s ask ‘So what do you think of it girls?’ ‘Good’ ‘No wait wait come back Tabby, I’m just about to die…. NOOOOooo fell into some trees! ….. crisis over the trees have left us….’ OK you get the picture, they were straight in there, onto the games, totally engaged… The trick is how will kids engage with tools like this for learning, for exploring learning across formal and informal boundaries, for encouraging them to take control of their learning, to adopt an inquiry-based learning approach??? These are some of the questions we are exploring in an exciting new project called PI (Personal Inquiry) under the ESRC/EPSRC TEL programme, led by Mike Sharples at Nottingham and Eileen Scanlon at the OU.

4 Responses to “It’s official - small is beautiful”

  1. Emma Says:

    Hi GrĂ¡inne,
    I’ve just found your blog, while trying to track down the Learner Experience Project - referred to in the Guardian (,,2205512,00.html ) - which, when I couldn’t find it on the JISC site, I managed to find your link to the draft.
    However, I thought I’d comment on this post - how are you kids finding the Asus Minibooks? I’ve got an OLPC on order via a Canadian friend (so won’t get my hands on it until she visits in March), and am very taken by the pedagogic approach that they seem to take - putting the community at the centre of all activities.
    It certainly sounds as if they’re having fun with that one. (Did you it from Asus, or the RM branded version?)


  2. GrĂ¡inne Says:

    Hi Emma!
    I think the machine is direct from Asus - the KMI guys ordered it. We are exploring it as one of a number of possible options for the PI project. We want a device that is robust enough to take out in the field and collect a variety of data. The kids love it - particulary my 9 year old. She really wants one!!! Its a great size and they have been on it all weekend it seems - mainly playing the games of course but they have also had fun with the audio and video recordings. I think the fact that you can have basic tools - word processing, spreadsheets,presentation software, interactive games, multimedia software and the internet means it has great potential. One downside in comparison to a PDA is that it hasnt got a touch screen and we arent sure yet what it will be like taking in around and using it on the go over a period of a few hours - nonetheless its got alot going for it and lots of potential pedagogically. watch this space and we will keep you posted on progress!!!!

  3. Emma Says:

    I’ll look forward to hearing about it - and hopefully by the time you next visit Portsmouth, I’ll have my OLPC one, and have had a good experiment with that.

  4. Diane Says:

    Your comments a while ago on these provoked me to go have a look at them online, of course you can’t really tell much from a picture - so I got one from Dabs last week - my children found the games straight away too! I’m going to try and use it for travelling - but have got a mini-mouse and ordered a rubber (roll out) keyboard to use with it, I know we adapt to these things, but I think for any sustained typing I will need a bigger keyboard. For me it’s a better option than a PDA style “big phone that does everything”, I prefer a pocket phone and a laptop small and light enough to travel with *when* I want to.

    I think at least one more might be bought for a christmas present for one of the children - quite apart from anything else I think it will be good for them to have exposure to the Mac Windows and Linux OS so they don’t equate computers with microsoft.

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