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Remember when computers were really clunky objects that you only knew existed in your classroom (5th grade for me)? I mean, I knew at that young age that I wanted to get involved somehow with technology. Ah yes…I remember now…hours upon hours of time spent playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and and [insert inappropriately excited voice here] the original Space Quest series! Oh, oh, but we CERTAINLY cannot leave out one of the greatest early games of all time….OREGON TRAIL!! That’s right folks…Aunt Martha just got dysentery after drinking river water. Ah yes, good times.
Well fortunately for us, time has zoomed by and we now have great personal computers that have gone into our homes and then everywhere we go – the undisputed mobile technology culture is in full swing! Which brings me to the recent news of a Taiwanese computer company that just produced their Eee PC. The Eee PC is small in dimension and just looking at it makes you wonder if it’s a toy or actual computing device!
But for any practical purposes, this is a great step forward for devices that can be set up in the classroom (came back full circle!). From the CNET site where I saw the news, one of the pictures shows a group of young students huddled around an area where there are a few of these Eee PC. Is it a coincidence that young kids are drawn to this? With computing technology getting smaller and smaller, it becomes an automatic draw to children and teens. Portability is the theme of today. Who has time to sit at home in order to communicate or send emails? I rather send that when I’m shopping at Target…err, Banana Republic.
At the U.S. launch of the Eee PC, plenty of school children were on hand to test out the tiny kid-friendly laptop. The Linux-based computer has an entirely graphical interface, a short boot-up time, a solid-state drive, and a variety of educational applications and games intended to grab kids’ attention.
Bottom line is, with these technologies coming out that allow for internet access and other computing abilities in such a compact manner – how can this translate into benefits for the public health and education world? Portability should be the best thing going for health education! Think about it, one of the main issues with health education is getting into places that need help the most and just spreading the word – with portable devices, we can show people and carry on presentations on the fly! The possibilities are becoming even more endless.