Carnegie Mellon University is conducting
an experiment at The Ellis School
and one of CMU's own classes in which traditional textbooks are replaced with HP 1100 Tablet PCs
(starting price: $1,599). The university received a $100k grant from HP to study how well students can learn with e-texts. So far responses have been good:
"I can understand the material better because I have a visual image. It's a lot easier and faster to type. It's all on one file," said Chao, 14, of Squirrel Hill...Ellis students complain of long startup times for the PC and the danger of computer crashes, but the benefits, they say, outweigh the disadvantages.Before this experiment, Chao said her 6-year-old brother Bobby could not even lift her bookbag, which often contained four textbooks and three binders. The bookbag of her classmate Heather Acuff, 14, of McCandless, was so heavy that she used to roll it around on wheels...Besides its lightness, Gunawardena said, another popular feature is the search engine, which works like Google. Students type in some key words, and the search engine finds a particular passage faster than they could from the index of a hardback.
Google could also lead into temptation, right? What's your next excuse when you fail to deliver your paper on time? "Sorry Professor Saltzberg, but I couldn't study the text sources because Google was down yesterday."