Tiny PC puts world in palm of pupils’ hands

By Nontando Mposo Time of article published May 6, 2013

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Cape Town - A bite-size computer the size and shape of a USB memory stick is changing the face of learning in an Athlone school. The device, called Cotton Candy, is the smallest PC in the world.

Ned Doman High School is the first school in the province that is using the computer as part of a pilot project by Cape Town company Bluem8rix Media.

A brainchild of Norwegian company FXI Technologies, the Cotton Candy is only 8cm long, but it has the power to turn into a fully-fledged computer once plugged into a TV. All you need is a suitable wireless keyboard and mouse, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and it will function like a desktop PC armed with both Android and Ubuntu operating systems.

The school’s principal, Gwynne Philander, said since the device had been donated in January, the school had noted an improvement in the performance of its grade 8 and 9 pupils.

“The pupils’ general knowledge has improved because we can now use video clips to illustrate certain topics, such as history and maths. It’s no longer just them reading from their books; they are now able to see something come alive on screen, which makes it more real,” he said.

Philander said the school used sites such as Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and Yahoo to pull up information, images and video-clips. “The teachers save on time as there is no need to write notes on the chalk board and if the pupils don’t understand a component of a lesson, they can replay it in their own time,” he said.

“Pupils are interested in technology – they spend hours on their phone and watching TV. This way we are using technology to assist with the learning process,” he said.

Grade 9 pupil, Dylan Willis, 14, said the learning method had helped improve his English. “It’s exciting because you learn new stuff and I now concentrate more in class, because I can look up examples that are not in the book,” he said. - Cape Argus

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