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We tried Intel's latest generation of its educational Netbook, the Classmate, in the CNET offices, but we watched kids use it at the Central Park Zoo, too.
One cluster of students used the MathMastery program to learn lessons and solve included test problems.
The tablet mode seemed pretty easy for the kids who were testing it to use and hold.
Lego robotics kits connect via USB and can be controlled and programmed via Classmate software, helping teach mechanical principles. It looked like more fun than we had in science class.
In tablet mode, the Classmate makes a decent e-reader. FoxIt, preinstalled on our machine, recognizes EPUB and PDF files and can add annotations. An accelerometer positions the page in whatever orientation you hold the tablet.
Sketching penguins on the go with the Classmate's paint program.
The Pasco climate-sensing peripheral that was tested in the Central Park Zoo rain forest exhibit can sense humidity and temperature, and interfaces with software on the Classmate Convertible PC.
A central charging rack intended for schools, made by EarthWalk, reminds us of our old-school cafeteria.
We tried out the Classmate Convertible PC back at the office, and found it to be pretty comfortable.
The touch pad and keyboard on the Classmate Convertible are better than on most Netbooks, and to its credit the screen is matte.
The thick pen stylus worked relatively well with the various preinstalled applications on our unit.
The ArtRage painting program included on our Classmate had a wide variety of brushes and controlled pretty well, though not as smoothly as on an iPad.
A rubberized pull-out handle and grippy surfaces make the 2010 Classmate Convertible PC a clean-looking and easy-to-hold machine, and make it very tote-friendly.