Generally, if it's a modern laptop it should be able to handle all types of DVD, ie. -R, -RW, +R, +RW and ROM. If yours specifically says DVD-RW then it should be able to handle both DVD-R and DVD-RW as a minimum.
-R means you can only burn to it once, after you close it off.
-RW means you can burn to it multiple times and delete/erase data on it.
You can burn pretty much anything onto a DVD-R as long as it fits (up to 4.8GB I think). The only problem you might have is finding something to play it. Obviously you can't play a music DVD on your CD player and even some DVD players are picky about what DVD formats can be played on them. But if you're only playing them on the same laptop, you should be fine.
If you need DVD burning software, I recommend ImgBurn as it is free and very good.