Students of all levels want nothing more than to express what they are thinking. We are, after all, social beings living in a social world growing increasingly connected. Students want to be able to write, to draw, to talk - to express themselves in any way they can so you can imagine how frustrating it must be for some of them when writing is so difficult. I suspect that many of them start to give up and "just write the minimum" when pressed by a teacher or a parent.
Although there is an unprecedented level of technology available to students to assist, in many cases access can still be a barrier. And in some cases, even after students are able to access a computer with a word processor - the software itself can seem overwhelming to them.
So why are these devices having such an impact? Hard to tell exactly at the moment, but I suspect it has to do with a variety of factors:
- They start up almost instantly.
- They basically just "type". Even the "word processor" that comes pre-installed is very bare bones and easy to use.
- There are not a lot of extra bells and whistles and this is actually one of the POSITIVES!
- They are built fairly well and often can survive being dropped; Because they don't do much else other than type (they don't even access the Internet) they are not desirable items to steal.
- They are easily shared amongst students in the class. Each device can store 8 separate files in flash memory.
- Printing is a breeze on almost any device.