I’ve been blessed with a finance committee that sees the way that I do youth ministry isn’t really described as typical. The Space we meet in is not conducive to a computer lab, or even a “mini-lab” so we have gone highly portable. We have gone primarily with Android-Based tablets (ZT-180 Processor based). But I had to make concessions for those less than technically-blessed. I wanted to put something in place with Windows. So I looked at netbooks.
I did my homework by researching what the different Intel Atom processors had to offer. I looked at touchscreen versus non-touch, and it came to one issue – cost. If I went touchscreen, the cost was going to almost double. but going touchscreen offered some options with special needs students. When all the smoke cleared, I had found a deal on an “open-box” Asus eeePC 101MT, for within $30 of a base Acer Aspire One from a major retailer’s store on eBay.
The Asus eeePC MT series is a set of “netvertibles” having a standard netbook size and hardware, with a touchscreen that swivels into a “tablet” format. If you want it as an “iPad-killer”, it’s not going to to the job. However, if you are looking for a solidly built netbook with some great touch options, you are in luck. Hardware-wise, It will run Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional, but it ships with Windows 7 Starter.
The use we had in mind is the ability for students to look up information about a topic we would study on a given night. It comes from our “Connected Classroom” idea of “If the students are using technology in the schools, why not in youth group? So far (about 6 months in) the equipment has worked fairly well for its intended purpose. We have been on(or under) budget and and our student ministry has also found ideas that were not even on the drawing board when the equipment was purchased that we are making use of the equipment, simply because of availibility.