Last week I finally got a web cam to play with. I wanted to start testing out options for integrating web cams into instruction. It just so happened that the day before I got it a middle school teacher asked me if one of her students could interview me for a class project. I asked if they would be interested in trying to use Skype to do the interview. They said yes and we set it all up. We had a few technical difficulties and I wasn't able to record the conference but, overall it worked out well. My video feed of the student froze early on, but I could still hear her, and she could see and hear me.
The student wanted to interview me about our student laptop initiative. I really thought she had some great questions. In one question she wanted to know why we didn't get a smaller device. At first I thought it was because she wanted a PDA or a phone instead, but later I realized it was more the bulk of the laptop she didn't like. I explained how the weight of the laptop played into our decision, and that at the time netbooks weren't around. What was interesting was I don't think a netbook would have made her much happier. She really seemed to want a more portable and less bulky device. This really made me believe that to our students laptops and even netbooks are old school. :)
My question now is: How do we get our students a smaller more portable device (maybe a cross between a phone and a netbook?) that is small enough to satisfy the students, but big enough to meet the needs of our state online testing requirements?