Check out Jeff Galinovsky's YouTube preview (below) of a prototype of the new, "convertible" version of the Intel classmate PC that was being launched as part of the Intel Learning Series at BETT 2009.The Series is an initiative involving Intel, PC manufacturers and software developers in providing localised services for education.
The model previewed by Jeff Galinsky is a rugged laptop that folds over into a Tablet PC with a touchscreen controlled by finger or stylus, and sophisticated enough for learners to write with their palms on-screen (also a feature of the new SMART Boards at BETT - SMART is an Intel partner and co-founder Dave Martin attended the launch). The keyboard is water resistant and it features a webcam that swivels through 180 degrees.
The "clamshell" version of the classmate PC is almost identical except that it doesn't have the tablet capability with swivel-back screen. And the convertible model can also have a larger maximum flash memory than the clamshell (16 rather than 8). Models are available with either Windows or Linux installed and Edubuntu is also an partner
Intel has extended the concept of the classmate PC by introducing an "Alliance" to help customise the laptops and the services provided with them at a local level to suit local conditions. There is even a comprehensive website that explains the concept, the products and the programme. Present at the launch was a representative of Portugal's Magellan project which is providing 500,000 of these computers (badged "Magellan") for its pupils. Production deman for the order is so high that a local production plan is being opened.
“Education is one of the best ways to improve the future – for individuals or nations,” said Gordon Graylish, vice president of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa. “There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world, and of those, only 5 per cent have access to a PC or to the Internet. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students’ learning and students’ lives. With the announcement today, Intel continues its long-standing commitment to advancing education through technology to transform lives around the world.
“It is encouraging that the UK government has publicly committed itself to driving higher standards and better outcomes for children by breaking down barriers to achievement and tackling the link between deprivation and low educational attainment. Intel believes that bridging the digital divide will be instrumental in these efforts – enabling children to fulfill their potential in an interactive environment.”
Intel BETT stand E150
Intel Classmate website