Saturday, April 22, 2006

FLY PenTop Computer

I finally had a chance to evaluate the FLY PenTop computer by Leap Frog a really cool device targeted toward middle school age kids. This is a computer within a pen equipped with a tiny camera, computer chip, speaker and an ink cartridge. It allows you do to math, schedule activities, keep brief notes, make music, hear the date and time and play games. There are additional add-on cartridges including one that translates Spanish or English!
It's really quite amazing and there isn't anything else like it on the market. I was especially interested in the applications for students. The Scheduler application would be a great feature for a student who requires frequent reminders throughout the day for specific activities or prompts to help with long-range planning. For students who forget when things are due, this feature would work well. It works even if the FLY pentop is turned off and gives a verbal prompt of up to three words. The Notes feature allows a student to write brief notes (up to three words each) as a verbal prompt for review at any time.
There are a number of customizable features including the ability to turn the sounds on or off and it does include earbuds to minimize classroom disruptions. Expect it to disrupt the class at least initially, as everyone will want to have a chance to try out this cool new device, even the adults!

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