Pupils test drive new hybrid PC developed in Wales

Ysgol Y Deri in Penarth is among the first schools to get its hands on a computer that’s been designed in Wales specifically for children.

A2Z Computing, based in Newport, recently unveiled the hybrid PC. Called the Fizzbook Duo, it can be used a tablet and a laptop for accelerated learning in the classroom.

Pupils and teachers at the school, including staff members of national charity Follow Your Dreams, have been able to fully test the new device to learn how accessible it is.

The Fizzbook Duo took nearly six years to develop, with initial plans drawn up in 2009 and several prototypes tested. The final model boasts a 10.1 inch screen and a lower-case keyboard to appeal to younger users.

A2Z Computing is in talks with council bodies, SEN/AEN organisations and schools throughout Wales to deliver the Fizzbook Duo to children.

Az Ashraf, director of A2Z Computing, said: “The Fizzbook Duo was designed to fit in with children’s lifestyles. Young people have busy lives just as much as adults these days.

“Whether it’s used at a classroom desk in laptop mode, or remotely in tablet mode, students have full access to quality education both in school and at home.”

Alison Wilde, learning facilitator at Ysgol Y Deri, was able to test the device. She said: “I’ve never seen the children so engrossed and quiet on a Thursday morning – they really enjoyed testing the computers.

“I think the fizzbook is going to be really beneficial, especially for the younger smaller children. The laptops we have at the moment are quite big, whereas this is more of a size for the primary school children.

“The lower case letters were particularly useful, as they are the same font that we use to teach the children. For example the lower case ‘a’ is a rounder ‘a’, and that continuity makes a difference.”

Liz Whitaker, workshop manager at charity Follow Your Dreams, added: “I think the stylus feature particularly helps pupils who may otherwise struggle with typing, as they can use the stylus to type on screen.

“The fact that you can detach the screen is also a big advantage. One child in particular who has specific additional needs used the tablet almost as a notepad, and that helped him communicate better in class.”