Chad Frerichs, Director of Technology for the Okoboji (IA) Community Schools, listened to Episode 4 of the 4 Guys Talking podcast and disagreed with Jeff Mao's assertion that netbooks were not viable options for 1:1 laptop programs.
Here is Chad's Tweet:
Here is Chad's follow-up e-mail to me:
We've not been using them yet. I have been demoing varioius units for the last 2 months for consideration for purchase for next school year. I have been loving them. I have to admit I was skeptical and had the same reservations going in, but I have proven myself wrong. I have upgraded each demo unit to XP Pro (we have available licenses), and they have all ran smoothly. I await Win 7 which is supposed to have Atom specific things in it. I have been using Google Earth, Movie Maker, Gimp, OpenOffice.org, etc. without issue. Granted Google Earth is slow during the 3D stuff, and Movie Maker takes a little longer to do massive amounts of transitions/effects, but it is very workable. I have made a 'news cast' on each of the netbooks demoed with multiple transitions/effects with the built in camera and mic. A project I envision students doing. I have edited photos in Gimp and applied multiple filters without issues.
I have been proven wrong about these things. I think they are a viable solution for us, and possibly others. Are there drawbacks? Absolutely, but viable none-the-less. I think we will be ordering 72 or 96 of them for next year.