Thursday, December 6, 2007

NEW Portable Device with POWER

For the past 6 months I have been using the beta version of the StudentMate. The StudentMate is a Linxus based portable word processor with all the power of a computer. The device is lightweight (2 lbs) and has built in wireless capability. As soon as your turn on this device you know you are in for a treat. The fist think that impressed me was the color LCD touch screen. The LCD is crisp and clearer then my PALM. The StudentMate screen size is 6 1/2” wide by 3 1/2” tall.

The StudentMate has all the options you could want for your students. It is extremely easy to icon based navigation. You can use the stylus or your finger to move from one icon to the next. The icons are fairly large, easily recognizable (word processor a pencil, calculator the mathematical signs).

The StudentMate also comes with a full featured word processor. Your students can import graphics, use assorted colors and fonts as well as formatting their document to the way they want it to look. It will not lose formatting when you move your files between the device to the computer and back to the device. The spell checker has over 100,000 words. It does not have a phonetic spell checker so your students that stump the spell check may still need some support from you while using this device.

The StudentMate also has a full featured spread sheet. It works and feels the same as Excel. Excel is not used as often by students in the classroom but for the students that are struggling with math (alignment, writing number) the spreadsheet is an excellent tool to use. There are over 300 calculation functions built in to the spread sheet including data analysis, calculations and stats. For students that are younger you can import graphics, draw on the worksheet using the stylus as well as use the symbols and shapes that are pre-installed.

The StudentMate devices interface with the teachers computer via Student Administration Module (SAM) - The StudentMate Administration Module resides on the teacher’s networked PC and allows the teacher to monitor students’ activity on their networked StudentMates. It also allows teachers and students to easily exchange homework, tests and other files between the teacher’s PC and the StudentMates.

The StudentMate hands down is one of the best web browsers that I have seen on a portable word processor. Often the devices open web browsers slowly and then you are disappointed that the pages cannot do flash player. The StudentMate not only opens quickly but it also handles graphic intense sites well also. There is also a 128 BIT SSL (secure socket layer) encryption. The StudentMate was able to handle Webkinz website as well as other sites. Don’t worry; you can block websites so your students can’t visit them doing the school day.

One of the features that I think educators will like the most is the iRespond AnyPlace Web. It is assessment tool to give teachers the full functionality of real-time assessment, grading, and reporting. Teachers can create text, fill in the blank, multiple choices, multiple response, and survey, yes/no, true/false, extended response, and short essay questions and organize them in tests. The iRespond automatically analyzes scores of an individual student or group and generated reports with graphs.

Another great feature of this device is that there is a Student Summary List that allows the teacher to view all of the student’s activities that were completed on the device during a specific time period. Now you can see what tasks they completed and how long the student worked on an assignment.

The organization of files, you have to love a device that lists your documents in a separate tab. On the homework tab a student can list their homework assignments as well as deadlines. This is very similar to the feature To Do List on the DANA.

The StudentMate has a calendar. You have the options of looking at a single day, 5 day or 7 day, as well as the monthly view. For students that struggling with their agenda this is a nice feature to have at their finger tips.

Hands down if you are on the market for portable word processing device, this is a device that you want to check out. It gives you all the features of a computer without the problems of a computer. The price is reasonable and the device is durability. I would take the company up on its 30 day trail to check out the device yourself.

The good:

  • Adjustable font

  • If your student cannot use a stylus and doesn’t have great fine motor skills for touching the icons, they could always use an external USB mouse.

  • You can save information to a USB or Memory Card.

  • Zoom feature – you can zoom into text and graphics.

  • MP3 player – can music as well as electronic text files that are converted to audio files

  • Built in interactive typing tutor.

  • PDF viewer

  • Full screen calculator: conversion calculator, in temperature mode is shown to the right. Distance, area, volume and weight modes are also available.

What is missing:

  • Cannot install your own software

  • Text to speech – Coming Soon

  • Paint program - Coming Soon

  • No word prediction at this time

1 comment:

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