All-new Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8" display and adjustable warm light
₹ 11,299 ₹ 13,999
Something new is coming to a store near you: electronic price tags. [deadbird] decided to get one and see what makes it tick. First off it just looks like an LCD with some coin batteries and a simple board, but removing the batteries it was found that the text still appeared on the screen meaning its an E-Ink display.
Close examination of the chips on board shows that this model has an ATMEL ATMEGA16L, and a ATMEL952 25128AN (a 128k eprom with SPI interface), which makes this thing possible to bend to ones will. Also, dumping the eprom with an Arduino gets everyone a bit closer to decoding the instructions this thing needs to display its graphics, similar to the HP VFD hack we posted about not too long ago.
We have not seen these yet in our local shops, but deliver it time and it is bound to start popping up in our favorite surplus locations soon enough.
Desktop computers aren't as popular today as laptops but students and multimedia professionals can find utility in them.
Hunting for the right desktop computers from millions of options becomes overwhelming. After all, the process is extremely exhausting and time-consuming. Why not help you by curating the best possible options?
Desktop computers are said to be the need of the hour. They are classy and stylish at the same time. Due to this, these remain high in demand all year long. Here are the top 10 desktop computers you could invest in as a student or working professional.
List of 10 Best Desktop Computers
1. ASUS Vivo AiO V222, 21.5"
Asus Vivo is a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-10110U with a 54.6 cm full HD display. You can browse all your favourite apps on these desktop computers and stream your favourite shows at any time of the day. Also, the 720p HD camera allows you to capture memories beautifully.
|Lightweight and compatible||Only 4GB RAM present in the computer|
|Vibrant and vivid display||The screen size is smaller than other models|
|The great hard drive size||Limited storage|
ASUS Vivo AiO V222, 21.5" (54.61 cm) FHD, Intel Core i3-10110U 10th Gen, All-in-One Desktop (4GB/1TB HDD/Office 2021/Win 11/Integrated Graphics/Wireless Keyboard & Mouse/Black/4.8 Kg) V222FAK-BA008WS
21% off ₹ 44,490 ₹ 55,990
2. Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 27" 4K UHD Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop
With 16 GB RAM and 27 inches screen size, the Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 27" 4K UHD Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop has evolved as a pioneer in this list. This might be the one for you if you're looking for a perfect computer for office or school work. It is lightweight and efficient in every possible way.
|Lightweight and efficient||Costly and not affordable for everyone|
|Excellent display||Low battery backup|
|Comes with 16 GB of RAM|
Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 27" 4K UHD Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H/16GB/1TB SSD/Win 11/Office 2021/AMD Radeon RX6600M 8GB GDDR6/100% sRGB/5MP IR Camera/2x5W JBL Speakers/Rotating Display)
20% off ₹ 169,990 ₹ 212,390
3. (Renewed) Lenovo 19 Inch All In One Desktop set
Another renowned desktop computer by Lenovo is the Lenovo 19 Inch In One Desktop setting. It has 8 GB RAM and FHD webcam for all your regular meetings. Its stunning camera quality and storage fulfil all your requirements. The best part is it is cost-effective.
|Great storage||Heavier than other laptops|
|8GB RAM present||Comes only in one colour|
|Micro-edge display and webcam present|
(Renewed) Lenovo 19 Inch All In One Desktop set (Core i5 4th Gen/8 GB/500 GB Tiny CPU//19" Monitor+Keyboard+Mouse+ FHD Webcam+Mic+Speakers+Wifi/Warranty/Windows 10/MS Office 360)
75% off ₹ 22,899 ₹ 89,999
4. Entwino Desktop Computer Intel i5 650
With 8 GB RAM and stunning camera quality, the Entwino Desktop Computer Intel i5 650 successfully makes its place in our list of Best Desktop Computers (PC). This computer is suitable for your school and office work. It is thin, beautiful, and lightweight.
|Thin and lightweight||Lags speed and colours|
|Cost-effective||The screen is smaller in size|
Entwino Desktop Computer Intel i5 650, 500GB HDD, 8GB RAM, 15.1 inch LED MS Office & Windows 7 Installed Trial Version for Online Class and Office Work
43% off ₹ 15,999 ₹ 27,999
5. (Renewed) Dell Optiplex 19" All-in-One Desktop Computer Set
With its sleek and stylish design, the Dell Optiplex 19" All-in-One Desktop Computer stands out on the list of Best Desktop Computers (PC). This computer is exclusively powered by core intel i5 3rd gen processor 8 GB RAM along with 1 TB HDD. Additionally, it is lightweight and comes in an elegant colour as well.
|Affordable and easy on the pocket||No batteries are included|
|Moderate RAM||Looks bulky|
|Hard drive size up to 1 TB||Available in only one colour|
(Renewed) Dell Optiplex 19" All-in-One Desktop Computer Set(Intel i5 3470/8 GB/1TB HDD /19" HD Monitor+Keyboard+Mouse+ HD Webcam+Mic+Speakers+WiFi+Display Port/Windows 10 Pro/MS Office)
72% off ₹ 25,499 ₹ 89,999
6. Entwino Desktop Computer C2D
With Entwino Desktop Computer C2D, you can complete your work by sitting in the comfort of your home. This computer comes with 4 GB RAM, a 15.1" LED Monitor, and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, which makes it the right match.
|Thin, lightweight, and easy to carry||Available in only one colour|
|Presence of two processor||Limited disk space|
|Extremely cost-effective||Limited RAM size|
Entwino Desktop Computer C2D, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM, 15.1 inch LED Windows 7 & MS Office Installed Trial Version Assembled Computer for Online Class and Office Work
40% off ₹ 11,399 ₹ 18,999
7. Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 23.8-inch Full HD IPS All-in-One Desktop
Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 is a lightweight, thin laptop with fully-featured solutions. You can browse all your favourite apps on that computer. This powerful computer weighs only 5.87 kgs, so you can easily keep it on your desk without any hassle.
|Adequate RAM size||Available only in white colour|
|Tough, Colour-Rich Glass||Inadequate sound quality|
Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 23.8-inch Full HD IPS All-in-One Desktop (Intel Core i3-10110U/8GB/512GB SSD/Windows 11/MS Office 2021/HD 720p Camera/Wireless Keyboard & Mouse/White), F0E800Y8IN
8. HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen 3-3250U 22-inch (54.6 cm) FHD Desktop
With great Battery Life, the HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen computer is a popular name for the best desktop computers. It is a thin and lightweight laptop. If you're looking for a perfect computer for office or school work, this is the right choice for you.
|Built-in Alexa||Inadequate sound quality|
|Powerhouse in Performance||Inadequate sound quality|
HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen 3-3250U 22-inch(54.6 cm) FHD Desktop(4GB/1TB HDD/Win 11/MS Office 2019/AMD Radeon Graphics), 22-dd0201in, Jet Black
15% off ₹ 34,990 ₹ 41,207
9. Acer Aspire C24 23.8 inch Full HD IPS All in One Desktop
This powerful computer features a 23.8-inch Full HD display. With its stunning camera that captures images and videos, this computer fits well for all those Zoom and Google Meet meetings you must attend daily. The Tough, Colour-Rich Glass offers an extensive experience.
|Smarter access||Available in only one colour|
|Thermal design||Does not supports 360-degree rotation|
Acer Aspire C24 23.8 inch Full HD IPS All in One Desktop I Intel Core i5-1035G1 I 8GB DDR4 I 512GB SSD I Windows 11 Home I MS Office Home & Student 2021 I Full HD Camera I Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
10. Dell Inspiron 27 7700 Touch All in One Desktop
Dell Inspiron 27 7700 Touch All in One Desktop is an ultra-thin, lightweight computer known for high-quality performance. This powerful desktop computer features 16 GB RAM, 512GB Solid State Drive, 11th Generation Intel Core, and other exciting features. The Tough, Colour-Rich Glass offers an extensive experience.
|Adequate RAM size||High on price|
|Present on 4 processors||Heavier than most laptops|
|Approximately 512 GB of hard disk space is available||Available in only one colour|
Dell Inspiron 27 7700 Touch All in One Desktop 11th Generation Core i7-1165G7 16GB RAM,1TB HDD+512GB SSD,2GB Graphics Windows 10 + MS Office 27" FHD All in One Desktop
7% off ₹ 135,900 ₹ 145,999
|ASUS Vivo AiO V222, 21.5||₹54,990|
|Lenovo Yoga AIO||₹2,12,390|
|Lenovo All In One Desktop set||₹78,000|
|Entwine Desktop Computer||₹27,999|
|(Renewed) Dell Optiplex||₹46,490|
|Entwine Desktop Computer||₹49,995|
|HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen||₹41,207|
|Acer Aspire C24||₹70,550|
|Dell Inspiron 27 ₹1,55,000||₹1,55,000|
Best 3 important features for consumers
|Product||Feature 1||Feature 2||Feature 3|
|ASUS Vivo AiO V222, 21.5||10th Gen Intel Core i3-10110U||54.6 cm full HD display||720p HD camera|
|Lenovo Yoga AIO||16 GB RAM||27 inches screen size||All in one desktop|
|Lenovo All In One Desktop set||8 GB RAM||FHD webcam||1280*760 screen resolution|
|Entwine Desktop Computer||8 GB RAM||stunning camera quality||thin, beautiful, and lightweight|
|(Renewed) Dell Optiplex||core intel i5 3rd gen processor||8 GB RAM||1 TB HDD|
|Entwine Desktop Computer||4 GB RAM||15.1" LED Monitor||Intel Core 2 Duo processor|
|Lenovo IdeaCentre||lightweight, thin laptop||stunning camera quality||1920 x 1080 screen resolution|
|HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen||All-in-One AMD Ryzen computer||Light in weight||8GB RAM|
|Acer Aspire C24||23.8-inch Full HD display||Tough, Colour-Rich Glass||High screen resolution|
|Dell Inspiron 27||16 GB RAM||512GB Solid State Drive||11th Generation Intel Core|
Best value for money
Any list of the best desktop computers is incomplete without the HP All-in-One AMD Ryzen computer. This model is priced at ₹41,000. However, after the discount, it stands at ₹37,499. Apart from the price point of view, it's a great investment in terms of features and specifications.
Out of the given computers, Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 27" 4K UHD Touchscreen All-in-One Desktop stands at our number position. It is priced at ₹1,71,990. Although it is quite costly than all other mentioned; however, it does offer great features. It comes with 16 GB RAM and is extremely lightweight and efficient in every possible way. It is a fantastic option for people searching for an ideal desktop.
How to find the perfect best desktop computers?
When looking for the Best Desktop Computers for yourself or someone you know. Keep these pointers in mind:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are some of the features of Best Desktop Computers?
Here is the list of features of the best desktop computers:
The top two Desktop Computers are:
3. What is the ram size of the Dell Inspiron 27?
The ram size of the Dell Inspiron 27 is 16 GB.
4. Which brands are the best for Desktop Computers?
The best brands for Desktop Computers are the following Dell, Lenovo, and ASUS.
5. Are desktop computers good?
Yes, desktop computers are the veterans in the world of laptops and computers. Since its inception, they have managed to retain its position successfully.
At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase.
All-new Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8" display and adjustable warm light
₹ 11,299 ₹ 13,999
Newly launched Crossbeats Ignite Spectra Plus Premium Retina AMOLED Smart Watch BT Calling, Music Storage up to 150+ Songs, 1.78" Screen,TWS & Neckband connectivity, 200+ Watch Screens(Carbon Black)
₹ 4,999 ₹ 11,999
Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Stainless Steel Touchscreen Men's Smartwatch with Speaker, Heart Rate, GPS and Smartphone Notifications - FTW4024 , black
₹ 14,995 ₹ 22,995
3. ASUS ROG Strix G17
This laptop combines everyday dependability with a sporty design, from its aluminium-capped lid to its textured base. The metal top prevents bumps and bangs, allowing thinner bezels and RGB to light up your life. A light bar boosts the LED's density to provide a more sophisticated underglow beneath the chassis. It maintains a low profile with a more effective, quieter cooling technology that uses a liquid metal thermal compound.
4. Lenovo Legion 5
Enjoy gameplay like never before, with the gaming laptop Legion 5 equipped with AMD Ryzen 5 5600 H-Series CPUs. The Legion 5 has 6 cores and 16 MB L3 Cache, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPUs. It delivers the best performance for gamers and professionals when playing and streaming.
5. ASUS VivoBook 17
The wonderfully portable ASUS VivoBook 17 immerses you in anything you set out to achieve, whether you are working or playing. With an incredible screen-to-body ratio of 85%, the revolutionary thin-bezel display draws you in with captivating images. The ErgoLift hinge tilts the keyboard so you can type comfortably. To help you complete tasks with the least amount of hassle, the VivoBook 17 has twin storage drives and an up-to-date AMD Mobile CPU with discrete AMD Radeon.
6. HP Omen 17
The OMEN by HP 17.3 inch Gaming Laptop PC boasts an optical mechanical keyboard, an 11th generation Intel Core CPU 2, and NVIDIA® GeForce RTXTM graphics. Customise it via the OMEN Gaming Hub and use OMEN Tempest Cooling to keep it cool. It has a long battery life, so you have to worry about it. The most lifelike and immersive graphics are made possible through Ray Tracing.
7. HP Envy 17T
This 11th generation HP Envy 17T laptop provides power without compromising, whether you're a business professional who expects dependable performance, a content producer who values pixels, or a student seeking for an all-around computer you can rely on. Multitasking on portable powerhouses is redefined by a Quad core i7 11th generation CPU with 16GB DDR4 3200 Memory and a 512 GB M2 NVME SSD.
8. HP 17-cn0025nr, Intel Core i5
Smaller footprint and a larger screen, the HP 17 Laptop PC combines performance and comfort with sustainability. The laptop has an Intel Core i5-1135G7 (11th Gen) processor with a 4.2 GHz clock speed that makes multitasking simple and provides better performance.
9. Lenovo Thinkpad P73
The most powerful portable workstation from Lenovo is the ThinkPad P73. Thanks to its 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and the most potent NVIDIA Quadro graphics processing units, it can handle even the most demanding tasks. You have plenty of room to accomplish everything because of its wide display, which also makes for a lighter overall package thanks to its 35 per cent smaller power supply.
10. Gigabyte AERO 17 XB
For the best multimedia multitasking and gaming performance, choose an FHD anti-ghosting 1920x1080 144Hz IPS LCD display with an ultra-smooth and an anti-glare and wide angle view. It also displays up to 100 percent sRGB colour gamut coverage. Finally, choose a display that is colour-accurate individually within Delta E1 and factory-calibrated, certified by X-Rite Pantone for true-to-life colour and vibrant images.
Some 17 inch laptops can go really overboard when it comes to the cost. When you are looking for a 17 inch laptop in a budget range, ASUS VivoBook 17 is the best option worth exploring. The VivoBook 17 has twin storage drives and the latest AMD Mobile CPU with powerful AMD Radeon to help you get things accomplished.
Best 17-Inch laptop overall
When talking about the best overall 17-inch laptop, nothing beats the LG Gram 17. The experience of utilising a 17-inch, high-resolution display is unique. But the Gram 17 laptop allows you to carry it wherever you go. You must experience it to believe it. The metallic blend is what makes the Gram 17's chassis lighter. Through a single connection, its Thunderbolt connector can support up to a 5K display, data transfers with a bandwidth of up to 40Gb/s, and charging.
How to find the perfect 17-Inch laptop?
Look for a laptop that strikes a good balance between power, portability, usefulness, and functionality.
When buying a 17-inch laptop, consider the operating system, battery life, and graphics performance. Take into account whether the body is made of plastic or metal and, most crucially, your budget, as some models may be quite expensive.
Choose the correct CPUs because they determine the laptop's speed. Examine the keyboard, touchpad, and other ergonomic elements, since they will provide comfort throughout long periods of working on the machine.
Thus, you should keep an eye on the crucial specifications and ensure they meet your budget and expectations. This approach will help you pick the best 17-inch laptop for your needs.
1. What to look for while shopping for a 17 inch laptop?
The CPU, RAM, and screen resolution are the most significant factors when looking for a 17-inch laptop. Higher RAM and CPU ensure that you have the power to operate efficiently.
2. For a 17-inch laptop, what is the ideal resolution?
Most 17-inch laptops have full 1080p HD displays, although others have greater resolutions across the diagonal, such as 1440 or even 1600 pixels.
3. Should I opt for more RAM when purchasing a 17-inch laptop?
When it comes to RAM, having more is always better, but only if you really use it. RAM is what allows your computer to run numerous applications at the same time without slowing down. However, not every application utilises the same RAM size.
4. What are the finest 17-inch gaming laptops?
When searching for a powerful 17-inch laptop for gaming, keep in mind that it should have a minimum of an Intel Core i5 or i7-series processor. Other aspects are a dedicated graphics card and at least 16GB of RAM.
5. What is the ideal storage I should look for while shopping for a 17-inch laptop?
Graphic designers, for example, frequently choose laptops with 16 GB to 32 GB RAM. It will Strengthen performance and assist with multitasking. One example of a laptop having 32GB RAM is the Dell XPS 17.
At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase.
Today in Tech
Background Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is often observed in athletes, which should be differentiated from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The aim of the study was to explore the functional changes measured using tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) deformation analysis in athletes fulfilling LVH criteria participating in different endurance sports.
Methods Healthy controls (n = 62, 58% men) and endurance athletes (n = 120, 62% men) aged 18–40 years were prospectively enrolled and underwent both standard echocardiography as well as TDI. Longitudinal TDI-derived strain and strain rate (SR) were calculated in the septal and posterior wall in three segments. LVH was defined as a left ventricular mass (LVM) over 132 g/m2 in men and over 109 g/m2 in women.
Results Echocardiographic LVH was observed in 33 athletes (67% men). LVM was significantly increased in both athlete groups (102.6 g/m2 (SD 16.0) and 135.7 g/m2 (SD 15.9) vs 88.0 g/m2 (SD 16.5) in controls, p<0.001). Diastolic parameters were not significantly different between groups. Athletes with LVH showed no significant difference in strain and SR values in any segment of the septal or posterior wall compared with controls or those without LVH. A weak but significant correlation (also after multivariate analysis) was found for septal wall thickness and LVM in peak systolic strain (r = 0.26, p<0.01 and 0.23, p<0.01) and SR (r = 0.27, p<0.01 and 0.29, p<0.01). Nevertheless, strain and SR values were still within normal limits in all athletes.
Conclusion Athletes with LVH overall show normal deformation values in the left ventricle. These data suggest that a moderate reduction in regional septal deformation should not be considered as pathological when evaluating the endurance athlete with echocardiographic LVH of unknown origin.
Gurmeet Kaur is an Education Industry Professional with 8 years of experience in teaching and creating digital content. She is a Science graduate and has a PG diploma in Computer Applications. At jagranjosh.com, she creates content on Science and Mathematics for school students. She creates explainer and analytical articles aimed at providing academic guidance to students. She can be reached at email@example.com
In 21st century classrooms, blackboard chalk is on the endangered list, the pop quiz has been replaced with clicker questions, and bowling alley technology (overhead projector transparencies) has disappeared, thanks to digital projectors and document cameras.
But if you’re going to point to any aspect of the classroom that still hasn’t covered much ground on its trip into the 21st century, it has to be the textbook. This ubiquitous accessory has been beset by editorial controversy as we have seen recently in Texas; has seen consistently high price increases of an average of six percent per year; and still inspires parental derision for the outdated information often portrayed.
And then there’s the matter of weight. The heft of textbooks was the subject of a 21-page report written in 2004 in California for the state’s board of education. According to researchers, the combined weight of textbooks in the four “core” subjects (social studies, math, reading/ language arts, and science) ran, on average, from eight pounds at the first grade level to 20 pounds at the 11th grade level. Legislation to mandate weight limitations quickly followed in that state.
As this comparison of two school districts on opposite sides of the country and economic spectrum illustrates, in a world rich with alternative methods of delivery of content exemplified by digitized conversation, Google books, the Kindle and iPad, the textbook is the next classroom object worthy of transformation.
“Everyone has a different 1:1 approach,” says Gary Brantley, chief information systems officer for the Lorain City School District. “Ours was to eliminate the books.”
Lorain City Schools is located in a city 35 miles from Cleveland. The district has 18 schools and 8,400 students. By moving to digital delivery of textbooks Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson saw an opportunity to address several larger district challenges than simply replacing outdated texts. A majority of families are low-income; its schools were struggling to meet yearly academic progress measures; and the district had just come out from under a state-mandated “fiscal watch.”
And, recalls Brantley, Atkinson was sincerely concerned about the weight of the textbooks being hauled around by the kids in her schools.
That was the atmosphere under which initial discussions began, he says. The district quickly realized that adopting a 1:1 program with digital textooks at the heart of the initiative could reduce textbook expenses and help bring students into the 21st century. “We’re an inner city school district,” says Brantley. “We saw this as a way to level the playing field for our kids and deliver them equal access and opportunities with technology.”
After a pilot program in 2007 and 2008, the district went after a federal grant to partially fund a full rollout to 9th and 10th graders for the following year. In January 2009, the district used federal Title 1 and Ohio state educational technology grant funds to lease Dell Inspiron 910 netbooks. The following year that program was expanded to 6th, 7th, 8th, and 11th grades, and the district switched to Acer Aspire One AOD150-1577 netbooks. This fall the district hopes to add 12th graders to the program.
The publishers the district is working with on the program are the traditional ones: Pearson Prentice Hall; Holt McDougal; and McGraw-Hill/Glencoe. They have provided versions of the texts, Brantley says, that go beyond simply being a PDF of the book. “It’s interactive. For example, if you have someone like Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy in a history book, you can click on a picture, and it will tell you information about [that person] or [you can] do a search from the book to get more information about that particular person.”
Brantley is quick with numbers. He says that for 2,600 math books—the number of texts needed for grades nine through 12—the cost was going to be about $182,000. That’s $70 per book. The e-book edition for that same math book was about $15,000. The savings on that one text alone covered a large part of the expense of that first rollout of digital textbooks. The savings don’t stop there. An English textbook was priced at $163,673.05 for 2,475 books—about $66 per book. The digital version of the same volume was a fourth of the cost—$36,554.45.
Explains Brantley, Superintendent Atkinson “was very persistent” that the district find a content supplier for the program, even if it wasn’t one of the three or four big textbook publishers. The publishers were willing to try the program in pilot mode. “A lot of trust was built on both sides to make this happen,” he says.
Now, says Brantley, students don’t have to travel to labs to gain access to computers. “Basically, there’s a lab in every classroom. Every kid is using that netbook as a textbook and as a computer.”
Brantley knows the technology is making an impact. “I think it’s pushed us a long way. It’s allowing the students to become a lot more creative in what they do and how they do it. It’s also leveled the playing field. A lot of these kids don’t have computers or internet access at home. Because the books are loaded on the hard drive, [Superintendent Atkinson] has given kids the ability to work on things they’d only have access to in a limited time within the classroom or in the lab.”
Although Brantley says student testing scores have gone up, he can’t confidently point to quantifiable results tied directly to the digital textbooks. “We brought different pieces of technology into the district in the same period, so we have to let the program run for a little while,” he explains.
The Campbell Union High School District, next door to San Jose in California’s Silicon Valley consists of six sites, five of which have been designated by the state as excellent. During the 2009-2010 school year, they performed a pilot program to experiment with the replacement of textbooks with e-readers. Director of Technology Charles Kanavel and his IT team of five distributed 270 Sony Reader Touch model PRS-600s into English classes across the district’s sites.
“These kids get technology. They go home and look at YouTube all day. An e-reader isn’t that hard for them,” Kanavel explains. The goal of the pilot was to get a “true sense of what’s it like for the everyday student to use one of these things in terms of wear and tear and what they wanted to see on the device.”
The effort was spurred by the Williams Settlement, Kanavel says. That California statute calls for California schools to have sufficient educational materials and conditions to meet curriculum standards. In order to meet standards of currency, textbooks need to be replaced every seven years—an expensive proposition in a district with 8,000 students. “It’s $180 for a biology textbook. That’s just one. With e-readers and how ubiquitous they’ve become,” Kanavel recalls asking, “Why do they need to carry 80 pounds worth of books around, when we have the technology to do this differently?”
But that initial test might never have come about if Kanavel hadn’t persisted in trying to woo Sony to participate in the proof of concept, a process that took seven months. The Campbell director focused on Sony because of its durability, price, and open platform. “Kindle, if you drop it, it’s game over,” he says. “With the Nook you have to buy everything from Barnes & Noble. The [Apple] iPad with 32 or 64 Gb, that’s $600 to $800. With one iPad, I can get four e-readers from Sony at around $200 each.”
But persuading the manufacturer to pay attention to education’s needs wasn’t an easy sell. Kanavel, who has a background in investment banking, studied the company’s financial reports and figured out how many e-readers had probably been sold through its nearby Silicon Valley area store, the largest Sony store in the United States.
When he approached the company about doing a test, it replied, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, interesting. But why do we care?” In response, he used this argument: “You sold 14,000 at the Valley Fair store in a three month period. Those are respectable numbers. But realistically, our district is 8,000 kids. You’d sell me 8,000 units. Then I’d have to buy a quarter of that every year forever. Once I start on it, I can’t get off.” He also pointed out that Campbell was only a medium-sized district. “Take San Jose Unified —55,000 students right next door. That would make your store numbers look like nothing. And there are 32 districts in Santa Clara County alone. Think of the entire country. Then they started caring.”
Once Sony was on board, the next hurdle was the textbook publishers trying to safeguard the pricing model, according to Kanavel. He estimates that a single school might have 300 copies of a particular book. On average the textbook will cost $120 on the low side and $180 on the high side. That’s a total outlay of $36,000 to $54,000 for a single textbook in a single school in the Campbell district.
For English classes, however, many of the books contained classic works of literature that are now in the public domain and available on various digital book websites. “Shakespeare is Shakespeare. The guy’s not writing a new version,” Kanavel says. He has been able to make a deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for some digital textbooks in PDF format; but others—particularly novels —came from the Sony Reader Store; on Project Gutenberg (a good source for Shakespeare, he says); and via the OverDrive School obtain Library.
The challenge faced by textbook publishers, he points out, is that they have to change their business model. Kanavel wants to set up a site license with the publishers, but so far those negotiations are still on-going, and, besides, many still have to convert their textbooks into the epub format.
But the financials, as this former numbers guy points out, still work out nicely for the district. “For example, historically we have paid $9 a book for paperback copies of Macbeth and 70 to 80 percent of them come back unusable at the end of the year. Now with the e-reader, that replacement cost goes to zero.”
On average 15 out of every 100 books in the district need to be replaced because they’re damaged, lost, or stolen. Often, the same student loses multiple books when he or she loses a backpack. “If you’re a parent, you have to pay to replace all of those books. If your student loses a history book, biology book, math book, and English book, that’s about $600,” Kanavel says. “If they lose an e-reader or it breaks, you pay for the replacement cost of the e-reader —$200 -- then we just obtain the content.” This, he adds, “has long-term implications for budgeting and funding.”
So far, Kanavel says, the pilot has been successful with students. “They’ve taken good care of them. I’ve only had three break out of 270, which is pretty good.” He plans to add an additional 200 e-readers to the district for the next school year. “One thing I’ve been very focused on with this pilot is offsetting the cost of textbook replacement with this device and making it easier on the kids.” He believes the district is on the right track.
Teachers and students are discovering other advantages. The e-readers have built-in dictionaries. If a reader has a visual impairment, text can be upsized quickly. Users can annotate, draw, and take notes—something that’s forbidden with traditional textbooks. When the year is over, the kids will return the devices, and that added material can be wiped from the hard disk.
But e-readers still aren’t perfect, he adds. First, not every book is available in a digital format. He cites a high school classic, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, as an example. Many textbooks have already been put on CD, but those are designed to be used in a PC. Publishers haven’t made huge inroads into converting their materials into the standard epub format that works with the major e-readers. But Kanaval is hopeful those gaps will diminish with time.
With the expected expansion of the pilot, negotiations with Sony continue. “We’ve proven that the kids can take care of them. The technology does work,” Kanavel says. “The next thing is to get Sony to build something bigger—an eight and a half by 11 inch format. And there are a lot of features that we don’t use. We’ve given them feedback on those things. There may be ways to cut cost by eliminating feature sets that can help them balance the cost of manufacturing.”
So given the experiences of these two districts—and others—how does a standard textbook stack up against an e-book? If a publisher needs to repair the mistakes introduced in the text, as happened with math books issued in Sacramento County in spring 2010, it won’t have to arrange to destroy the outdated books and incur shipping costs for the new ones; it can correct the errors and electronically distribute new versions of the content. In the face of a quickly evolving business model, publishers will be forced to adjust their pricing schemes—no doubt, to the advantage of the districts. In the matter of weight— well, the Acer netbook comes in under three pounds, and the Sony device is a little over 10 ounces. Those are metrics anyone can use no matter how much digital content sits on the devices.
In order to have a successful 1:1 implementation, you need hardware, bandwidth, content, and teacher professional development and buy in. But each district will be unique in its approach to implementing each aspect and the entire program. The question of when in implementation a district allows connection to the internet is a case in point. Campbell Union High School District in Silicon Valley wants students to stay on task as it implements e-books. Therefore, the Sony Reader Touch devices being used there don’t include web access. Although Sony does make a model of its e-reader that includes WiFi, according to Director of Technology Charles Kanavel, the decision to leave that feature out helps simplify the transition teachers have to make in integrating the device in the classroom.
“If I’m a teacher and I have these new devices in class, it affects my lesson planning,” he explains. “Without administrative control of access to the internet, some smart kid will make the thing text another e-reader. Then once that kid knows, all the kids will know. In class, instead of reading, they’re texting each other, surfing MySpace, and doing everything else. Have I just disrupted an entire class with this device? So let’s get the adoption in first. Let’s get the hurdles out of the way surrounding usage of content, usage of technology, and how it integrates into your standards in the classroom. Once that’s outlined, then we’ll figure out how to do WiFi.”
That absence of web access has also streamlined professional development. The district had 270 devices, which it handed out in English classes spread fairly evenly across its six sites. To ensure that the pilot wouldn’t get put on the back-burner by teachers uninterested in using the ereader, Kanavel had the principals at those sites nominate teachers to participate who were a “little bit tech savvy.”
From there, his IT team called teachers in for a demonstration of the Sony product they’d be using with their students. “That was it,” he says. “Maybe 30 minutes of Q&A with teachers, and off we went. The devices aren’t that complicated. You turn it on, pick your book, turn to the page, and that’s it.”
To make sure the program is on track, Kanavel has been doing evaluation of it in “real time.” “It’s not something we threw out there and said we’ll come back to you in six months. Every couple of weeks I’m pinging these teachers. They have direct lines back to me. As they’ve noticed things, they’ve emailed me.” Along with that, device maker Sony has put out surveys for the users too.
What complicates implementation of digital content in a 1:1 program is when the device being deployed is used for other purposes too. That’s the case at Lorain City School District in Ohio, which has distributed Acer netbooks to 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students. The goal there is to deliver its students access to technology and the wider world it can deliver. Many don’t have computers or an internet connection at home. Therefore, Chief Information Systems Officer Gary Brantley has chosen to implement WiFi on the devices.
The devices, which cost about $300 with software and maintenance, are loaded with a gigabyte of RAM, a 150 Gb or 160 Gb hard drive, an Intel Atom processor, a webcam, Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Office, a couple of calculators, 802.11 b/g WiFi, and, of course, digital textbooks.
Teachers have an interest in educating students about social networking, so, although access to the internet is filtered, the devices do allow access to sites such as Twitter, and Facebook. But that, says Brantley, “is being carefully monitored.”
Also, connectivity is necessary for implementation of CompuTrace, a program from Absolute Software that provides a service for tracking down lost, stolen, or missing devices. “We were finding that we were spending a lot of money replacing textbooks,” Brantley explains. “Now, we actually are spending less. If CompuTrace doesn’t find the netbook within 60 or 90 days, they pay for it. I can tell you they have found every single one.”
To simplify operations, the district uses only two images for the netbooks. Every middle school book in use is on every middle school netbook; and the same with all high school books. That approach, says Brantley, makes IT’s work easier since they don’t have to worry about granular inventory or “fool around” with what books any given student should be able to access.
The district has tackled the challenge of teacher acceptance from multiple sides. First, there was a teachers’ union aspect. Would it promote the change in teaching approaches necessary for success? To gain support, Brantley took the head of the union to a 1:1 conference to show her what could be done. After that, he says, “She came on board for the professional development piece.”
The next aspect was putting together programs and teams for professional development. Since the district has an “early release” day once a week, “that’s the block of time that increasingly is being dedicated to helping teachers learn how to integrate the technology into their classes. Gaining traction in that area is a longer haul,” Brantley admits. “It takes a while to get teachers on board with this.”
Next up for the Lorain district: implementation of a teacher recognition program and some type of graduate credit to motivate the teachers to try out new methods of instruction.
An area where Brantley has seen success is having the kids teaching the teachers. “That’s one thing that we’ve been trying to push,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to let the kids show you something as well. It becomes a collaborative effort.”
Challenges have surfaced in two IT areas. First, the sheer number of new devices has put a strain on Brantley’s department, which has 10 employees. “We’ve doubled the number of computers in the district but didn’t add one staff member,” he says. Second, IT has to be able to supply technical support to students in a timely manner. “Turnaround can’t be longer than a day. Even though we have spares, we still have to turn around these machines really quickly, so kids aren’t left without their books.”
But these burdens aren’t slowing down the district’s dreams. Brantley says eventually the netbook and digital textbook program could be expanded to every student in the district, from the fourth grade up.
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