However, since the netbook revolution, and in Australia, the “education revolution” promised by the Federal Government, part of which was to put a portable computer in the hands of secondary high-school students, the push towards a computer specifically designed for educational uses was inevitable.
Now Dell has launched its “Latitude 2100” series of 10.1-inch netbooks, coming with “business level” next day support (at school or in the home) as standard, a rugged casing and design, and the option of a single-touch LCD screen.
Unlike Tablet PCs, the screen does not swivel, nor is any stylus supplied, working with the fingertip or fingernail of the student in question, while still being able to accept input from (presumably) any plastic-tipped stylus (to avoid damaging the screen with a ballpoint, for example).
Part of Dell’s reasoning for developing such a netbook is the rather altruistic sounding statement that “Dell believes every child should have access to the world of knowledge beyond the classroom”, with the Latitude 2100 design being “influenced by the needs of K-12 students, teachers and school administrators”.
However Dell doesn’t only have the educational sector in mind.
Any consumer will be able to buy the Latitude 2100, with or without the touch-screen, with Dell believing that “The Latitude 2100 will also appeal to other public-sector and enterprise customers looking for a netbook for uses from employee training to order fulfillment, or wanting secondary systems for their workforce,” and is “also ideal for any business or public institution that needs an affordable, durable Internet-ready device for email and collaboration.”
But it’s the needs of the educational sector that have come first, with Dell also adding that the 2100 has been “Inspired by close cooperation with hundreds of students, teachers, parents and administrators, Dell designers created a purpose-built education netbook that focuses on what’s most important – learning.”
Dell is also promoting its “connected classroom” concept, which includes “”innovative technology products, services, software and training that make learning in the digital age a reality. With the Latitude 2100, students can access enhanced learning resources and digital content on a school network or via the Internet. As a result, the Latitude 2100 blends into student life, from lesson plans to homework, increasing time spent learning versus managing technology.”
Many more details on the 2100 are on page two, please read on!