Word Processing

Alphasmart™ NEO™ Word Processor by Renaissance Learning - Perfect for Children & Adults
Special homeschoolers price: $199 plus S&H
512 KB of data storage (over 200 pages)

Renaissance Learning, Inc.
POB 8036, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495-8036
800-656-6740 Website:

By Mary Leppert

Alphasmart™ NEO™ Word Processor by Renaissance Learning - Perfect for Children & Adults By Mary Leppert Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, is all I can say. I love this product! Everywhere I go, I am constantly writing something or taking/making notes - books-to-read, story ideas, notes from workshops I attend, shopping lists, phone messages . . . and I am always interested in finding a tool that makes this writing work easier and more efficient, as well as being compatible with my larger computers.

NEO by Alphasmart
Click to visit the NEO by Alphasmart page

A few months ago, I discovered just such a tool and I want to share it with all of you who read The Link publications. It is called a NEO™ Word Processor, manufactured by Alphasmart™, a division of Renaissance Learning in Wisconsin and is a wonderful addition to my work life, having resolved 90% of my note-taking and writing-on-the-go challenges. It is perfect for adults and children alike, for a variety of reasons: Portability, affordability and safety.

Unlike laptops, the battery-powered NEO™ is very lightweight and generates no heat! For children, this is very significant, since heavy laptops that get very warm are not comfortable for children to take with them to the library or just use in the car. It saves your work automatically every few seconds and its small green screen shows six lines of text at a time, without scrolling.

For adults, the lightness and cool operation make the NEO™ perfect for holding on one's lap in crowded situations, such as conference workshops, airports, restaurants or in transit on a bus, train, plane or car. If you have a table handy, the NEO™ fits perfectly on it, requiring no power cords or mouse, since it is all typing-based. Because of its lightweight, you can adjust the viewing angle so that your neck does not become stiff or your eyes become strained. The NEO™ keyboard is comfortable to type on, being slightly smaller than a regular keyboard but large enough for adult fingers.

The NEO™ offers eight different documents to use. You can begin typing an idea in Document 1 and then, being interrupted with another thought or idea, quickly switch to Document 2, type a note to yourself and then switch back to Doc 1. You don't have to wait for a slow hard drive to respond; the NEO™ is very fast.

It seems that most homeschoolers are inveterate studiers, being curious about life and so used to having "learning" be a constant flow, that most are always taking notes or jotting down things to look up later. We learn to do research and use the library and Internet to the fullest. Therefore, we need an excellent electronic way to take notes, write down ideas or keep track of research citations for future searches.

Offloading your work from the NEO™ to your desktop or laptop computer is easy with the supplied firewire. In seconds your files are dumped into Word or Final Draft, simply and quickly. You needn't "babysit" with the transfer, either; you simply press the "send" button and walk away. In a few moments all of your data is transmitted.

Besides adult and older child usage for writing or note-taking tasks, NEO™ is also perfect for children from age 10 and up. Since it is not connected to the Internet, there are no parental concerns regarding security, questionable material or Internet distractions to sidetrack a child's work. Therefore, your child can easily stay on task and focused. NEO™ is fun to use, too, and provides excellent keyboard practice and entry-level word processing skills with its standard word-processing features, such as cut/copy/paste, spell check, a thesaurus, word counter, Spanish/English word lookup, and more!

The NEO™ word processor is very inexpensive. Over a period of time, it is conceivable that your family could have two or more NEO™s -- one for each family member, so no one has to do without it!

NEO™ offers 512 KB of data storage, for over 200 pages of text. It weighs just 2 pounds, has a durable outer shell that can tolerate drops and hits and operates on three AAA batteries for up to 700 hours of use or an optional AC adaptor is available. There is a convenient padded carrying case available, too. For all of your mobile word-processing needs, the NEO™ will prove much more attractive to use than a large, cumbersome laptop and for your child's note-taking or writing needs, it will provide a necessary go-everywhere tool. ML


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