I'm on the road today and stopped into a Panera's to have some coffee and use their free wifi on my recently purchased Acer Aspire One. Many of the schools and students that I am working with have been asking me about these netbooks and I thought that it was time to invest in one so that I could try it out and use it with some of the students that I'm presently working with. When I saw the Acer Aspire One on sale at Staples for $299 dollars I knew it was time to jump in. The 2.2 pound Acer Aspire One has worked famously and while the keyboard is a little smaller than the typical laptop keyboard it is fine for some light typing. In fact I'm blogging from my Acer Aspire One right now without any difficulty. I typically have the screen zoomed in so that it is easier for me to see te text. By putting two fingers on the trackpad and gesturing towards the side of the computer you can easily zoom in which makes it a lot easier for me to see the text. For younger students with smaller hands and better eyesight the screen and keyboard should not be an obstacle.
I have installed some of my favorite applications on the Acer Aspire One, which has a a 160 Gb hard disk drive running the Intel Atom processor with 1 GB of RAM. The Acer Aspire One runs surprising well and is very responsive even running larger applications like Microsoft Office 2007 and MindManager 8. Having used the Acer Aspire One for the past couple of weeks I has lead me to believe that this could be an ideal assistive technology tool for students with writing disabilities. I have used the Acer Aspire One with a couple of students who have used Inspriation 8 in the writing process and it worked like a charm complete with text to speech. Transferring the student's work to Microsoft Word from Inspiration was very fast. I was also able to install NaturalReader the free text to speech application which worked well right within Microsoft Word. All told I have been really happy with the Acer Aspire One and look forward to seeing how other will benefit from this technology. At just 2.2 pounds and a battery life of around 2.5 hours this could be a great assistive technology tool.