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Graham
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« on: September 13, 2008, 06:57:29 PM »

One of my favourite idioms when trying to fix the unfixable is "polishing a t**d" and here we having somebody doing the unthinkable and creating the hack necessary to run the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system on the Intel Atom based EEE PC 901.


According to the developer involved although it's flakey in a few areas the OS boots in about 40 seconds.

More info here.

and at: http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/09/os-x-leopard-on.html



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SUMS_Online
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2008, 10:40:32 AM »

Graham,

Excellent link, but are you really so down on the eeePC as your choice of phrase makes you appear? There still seem to more schools making use of them to provide a 'device per child' than anything else around at the moment.  Are they excluded as 'handheld learners'?

David
http://www.sums.co.uk

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Graham
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 03:02:59 PM »

Hi David

A bit off-topic but I'll give it a go!

As I've oft-stated I'm agnostic and not particularly "down" or "up" on any particular device or piece of technology as opposed to how it is used or embedded within learning or teaching practice.

In the case of devices like the EEE PC I've made cases for and against. There was also a very good thread in this forum back in February started by Philip Griffin:

/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,58/topic,1262.0

when it appeared that the new wave of low cost laptops might challenge the notion of handheld computing. This wave has been somewhat stalled as Apple re-invented the handheld computing sector.

This lead to my article titled "It's the Learning Stupid" which was an attempt to look at impact of low cost laptops (or "craptops" as they seem to be called within certain circles) on learning and access.

Opinion in response to that article, and I quote from Martin Owen, was that "lets not short change  our children."

So to answer your direct question "am I so really down on the eeePC". Well for the way they have been adopted and heralded as the second coming then, yes, I am down on the EEE PC along with all their similar cut-down, under-powered pieces of future landfill intended to win BSF and home access programme funding.

Why?

Because they inflict another digital divide on learners by not recognising the very powerful technology that is already available to many learners already as well as what's actually happening outside of the world of PC's and laptops. They are clearly under-powered and under-spec'd and built to a price that allows ICT procurement people to tick boxes without considering the needs of future learners. They're just more technological guano to lay on the existing technological guano of failed learning platforms and VLE's.

When will we be brave enough to clean up the guano?

But don't take my word for it ask children who have used the devices to run Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters, BBC Cbeebies, Bebo, etc. They'll all tire of the rubbish touch pad and buttons that you have to use because the poorly implemented web browser means that they must continuously scroll horizontally as well as vertically.

Of course they can run the versions with cut down versions of Windows XP Home Edition which doesn't have the same connectivity to their school networks as XP Pro and not to mention that XP is being binned in 2010 so what then?

Then what about back-up? Here you have a device that the learner is expected to create and save work that is part of their digital curriculum yet when the device undergoes a hard reset they lose everything. How smart is that?

Sure learners can save all their precious work to a memory stick or SD card but how many of those have you lost not to mention those government officials and agents that now seem to frequently lose them on trains?

Then on the Linux flavour versions - surely in most ways the best option. How do you install native applications?

Maybe they're ok to playback software created in proprietary technologies like Flash but then you can already do that on a more powerful PSP.

The thing is that the original EEE PC that ran on Linux at a sub-200 price was interesting for a while because it was easily understood by QWERTY keyboard fixated people who had their minds set in the 1990's world of Office applications, web-browsing and learning platforms.

As a second device for checking email and casual web-browsing the device is fine and I know many people who are using the EEE PC and similar devices in this way but this does not mean that it is a good or relevant device for learners.

If you're going to buy the bigger screen version (901) with Windows XP, you might as well buy a proper laptop and be done with it!

However, we're talking about learning here and for the most part, children. Whilst the PC industry is trying hard to be inclusive, the mobile phone and handheld sector is far more inclusive (more people on the planet have a mobile phone than don't).

The first keyboard a child will use will be a phone, a TV remote or a game console. Understanding a QWERTY keyboard and office applications will be about as useful as understanding a typewriter.

Regarding the providing a "device per child" question well I don't think this is ultimately the duty or role of the school. Just because a lot of schools are using EEE PC's doesn't mean they are the right device. All that is happening is that they are being used to perpetuate existing practice. But is this a good thing?

Perhaps only to those who stand to benefit and I don't mean the learners.

Why aren't more schools, colleges and universities seeking to embrace learner mobility by allowing them to use devices and technologies they already have?

We moved on from what constituted a "handheld learner" a long while back. What we're interested in here is the mobility of the learner and their access, via the cloud, to their personal digital life. In those terms it's not about 1:1 access anymore it's about multiple device access.

Cheers

Graham
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SUMS_Online
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2008, 06:59:07 PM »

Hi Graham,

Thanks for a very detailed answer. For what it is worth, it seems to me that, at the moment, all devices used in schools are either imperfect, or too expensive, or both. That means that we can either have small but perfect projects or larger imperfect implementations.

For example, all children may have mobile phones - but try fitting the curriculum meaningfully onto some of those smaller screens. Some Win Mob PDA type projects are very successful, but the annual refinancing for each subsequent round is a major issue.  The jury is out on the ASUS eeePC as yet as many projects are in their early days. I don't see why they shouldn't make as much as a contribution to the learning curve as anything else though, imperfect though they may be.

Cheers

David Smiley



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Graham
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2008, 07:03:08 PM »

Agreed!
 
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Graham
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 12:40:29 PM »

I would add though to your latter point David about improving access to learning via devices that learners might already have.

Suppose the 300 Million that is rumoured to be being put forward for home access was put towards improving the software and web technologies to make them more accessible over a range of technologies rather than another round of spending on capital equipment.

Wouldn't this be more sustainable?
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stu_mob
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 12:55:23 PM »

I love to have a good argument on the forum as this place really helps sharpen my thinking but on this one I am finding myself in broad consensus - does this mean I am losing my controversial streak? I hope not!

I've been an advocate of the 'device in pocket' approach since I started. Since I design and deliver national systems I don't really have much choice. It would be shooting myself in the foot to say my service only works on this sytem or that device. So within in reason I try to be device agnostic. This means really thinking about what the user is going to be using. So the service I designed for Hairdressers is different on the mobile to the desktop but they are part of the same overall packages. I don't believe one design fits all devices and there in lies the rub, device agnostic and 'fit-for-purpose' does have a higher overhead. But it opens so many exciting avenues.

For a longtime UK education has been hesitant about the device in the pocket as it is traditionally seen as disruptive or subversive. We know this as the discussions here often reflect. In the main any work with mobile devices has centred on PDA devices, which are seen as 'serious'. An incredible amount of excellent learning and discovery has come out of that work but it really is time to look at the 'mobility' rather than the technology.

I admit there is a lot of work to be done on convergence (at least I hope so for the sake of my consultancy! Wink but in general so many people in the UK carry about so much technology that has connectivity that the argument for the wholesale provision of single devices is increasingly weak. Personally I would love to see some of this funding being used to address Digital Divide issues and to facilitate the upskilling of older learners.

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James Clay
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 01:27:11 PM »

One of my favourite idioms when trying to fix the unfixable is "polishing a t**d" and here we having somebody doing the unthinkable and creating the hack necessary to run the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system on the Intel Atom based EEE PC 901.


Useful table for those that may be interested in breaking Apple's EULA.

 http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/12/17/osx-netbook-compatib.html
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