It is a manual, portable hand-crank sharpener with a table clamp to use if you like, although it doesn't hold it super tight. Here's how it works : first, pull out the metal plate on the front and squeeze the tabs on the top and insert the pencil. Next, let go of the pencil - the tabs hold it in place perfectly centered - and crank until the resistance stops. The metal plate has pushed back to its original place now and you can squeeze the tabs again to release the pencil. If you put an already sharp pencil in, it won't engage. I haven't used it with kids yet because I'm on spring break, but I think they are going to be excited about the sharpness they can achieve with this sharpener. The only negative I have to say about it is that the table clamp is a little weak, but as long as you hold if down with your hand you are good, and I see that they are developing a permanent mount you can buy soon.If it works well with the kids, I will be getting another one for next year - stay tuned for a follow up! Definitely check it out! Here is a video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0jqUe91Ovs and here is a shot of the available colors and prices. Thank you ClassroomFriendlySupplies.com for the sharpener - I'll be back for more.