Now we've seen eReaders being used for text books but they have limited ability for creating and annotating documents. And we have the Boogie board eWriter for creating documents by writing on an electronics device.
Sony's new slate combines these features into a large slate that can be used for reading and writing documents and annotating.
DigInfo have a hands-on demonstation video of the prototype which you can see below.
I want a device like this for children. One of our most used gadgets when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers was a really cheap magnetic drawing board. We still use it now. It's great for drawing in the car or on the move. I've used it to teach my kids their letters and numbers and to write sums for them. They have used it for drawing and to practice writing. I love the portability and lack of mess. (Yes I let my kids get messy with paint, but not just before school, or when we are in a hotel room!)
I'll probably get a Boogie board when the new models come out this year so we have an electronic version of our drawing board that can also sync to a computer to store the kids creations.
But the Sony slate would be even better if it's kid-friendly. I'd love to be able to load up worksheets on there so the kids can do sums or practice their handwriting. Like a more flexible version of the upcoming LeapFrog LeapReader.
I like the idea that an eWriter or Slate offers a similar tactile experience to writing on paper, which kids do need to learn (even if 99.9% of their adult textual output will be digital.) A tablet doesn't offer the same experience and is heavier. A tablet the size of the Sony e-Ink paper slate would be expensive and heavy. Kids writing starts out pretty big so they need plenty of space. And they appreciate nice big writing on their worksheets.
Colour would of course be a nice option when it's technologically and feasible at an acceptable price. But considering how much use we've got from our very low-res one colour magnetic drawing board, I think we'd get plenty of use from a single colour e-Ink slate.
I can really see this technology being adopted in schools once it's cheap and durable enough.