Review: PC Shade
major initiatives in the works like the Laptop Foundation of America
proposal currently before the Board of Education, it won’t be
long before the New York schools finally reach the coveted “one
to one computing standard.” Mobile computing being the technology
of choice in education procurement today, it’s clear that students
throughout our school systems will soon be experiencing the benefits
that laptops can provide—portability, power, and extensive multimedia
capabilities. A quick survey of the trade literature reveals that
teachers, administrators, and professional technical consultants
virtually gush about the seemingly limitless possibilities that
these products have to offer.
One thing almost no one discusses, however, is their liabilities.
A teacher beaming a quiz to his class can deliver grades instantly
on completion, leaving much more time in their schedule for developing
lesson plans, giving individualized instruction, and researching
curricular enrichment. Programmed learning software can create
a cognitive model for each student, automatically reinforcing
their weak areas with further exercises and examples. However,
with the 14.1” to 15” screens typical (and necessary) for the
models employed for these tasks, privacy becomes increasingly
difficult to enforce.
Many of the schools most in need of this techno-boost will also
have visual environments with harsh lighting and overcrowding.
Active-matrix screens in this type of locale, most users will
agree, tend to produce often-unacceptable levels of screen glare,
a potentially hazardous condition for young eyes. Because glare
varies with the angle that the user views the screen from, students
are often forced into unnatural postures which, if prolonged,
can cause injury.
Luckily, an inexpensive, practical solution to these and other
related problems is at hand—the PC Shade screen accessory. Constructed
from durable fabric, the PC Shade expands to fit around the screens
of most of the most popular brands of portable computers. Unlike
many of the visibility solutions currently in use in institutional
settings, the PC Shade doesn’t block the user’s view of the screen-
it simply envelopes it, only allowing access to the immediate
viewer in front of it. Since it doesn’t use Velcro to fasten,
it requires no permanent connection to the unit, making it easy
and non-disruptive to engage. It folds neatly for compact storage
For just a few dollars, the PC Shade can resolve privacy issues,
make mobile computing safer, and help insure appropriate usage.
If you already have the hardware, you might as well be able to
use it, and use it correctly. Technology buyers are encouraged
to explore the multifaceted uses of this inexpensive aid by logging
onto the company’s site at www.pcshade.com or dialing 1-877-PCSHADE.#
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of
the publisher. © 2001.