Palm Highlights Educational Handheld Uses
Palm Tungsten and Zire handhelds are continuing to gain momentum in education as thousands of the handheld computers make their way into classrooms and into the hands of students, teachers and administrators, Palm said today.
"We are seeing an increase in the use of Tungsten handhelds in education, both in administration and in classrooms," said Mike Lorion, vice president of education at Palm. A news release from Palm Inc goes on to highlight some recent handheld deployments in the education field and how they were used.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District Adopts Tungsten E Handheld
In January 2004, 1,000 sixth- and seventh-grade students in the Newport- Mesa Unified School District in Orange County, Calif., will receive Tungsten E handhelds and wireless keyboards to use at school and at home.
"We chose middle school because students are starting their transition from the elementary school environment to the secondary school environment, where organization becomes an important life skill," said Steve Glyer, director of education technology for the district. "If we don't provide life learning skills at key shift points, it's difficult for students to change old patterns down the road. The handheld is a perfect tool. Digital devices are part of their world, and they are very motivated to use them."
The district also is focusing its young handheld users on cross-curricular writing in language arts and social studies. Not only will this help to replace stacks of papers that tend to get lost, Glyer said, but having a personal tool that students can take home allows parents to be involved with their child's work. They will be able to add feedback to a "comments" area and students can beam the note to their teachers via built-in infrared communication. K12 Handhelds, a nationally known provider of professional development and consulting services focused on implementation of handhelds in schools, was a critical partner in designing and facilitating the program. Next year the district plans to expand the use of handhelds to math and science.
Glyer believes this is the largest single deployment of handhelds for students in California, and the district plans to remain on the cutting edge. Another exciting capability the district is exploring is to make targeted curriculum video clips available for viewing on handhelds -- a move Glyer said will give students, especially those for whom English is a second language, a way to learn visually.
Northwest Council for Computer Education Chooses Tungsten E and Zire 71
An innovative professional development program led by The Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE) is paving the way for greater integration of handhelds in education. According to the executive director of the program, Tungsten E and Zire 71 handhelds are top choices for educators purchasing handhelds through NCCE when training is over.
"Educators coming through our program have a definite preference for the Tungsten E and Zire 71 handhelds," said Heidi Rogers, executive director of NCCE. "The price is right and the multimedia capabilities are outstanding. NCCE uses them in all of its workshops."
NCCE addresses the professional development needs that educators want, according to Rogers, and they are looking for opportunities to put handhelds to their best use in schools. Workshops are offered in collaboration with K12 Handhelds, Inc., a nationally known provider of professional development and consulting services focused on implementation of handhelds in schools. So far, NCCE has trained more than 400 educators in the Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Rogers expects 1,000 to participate in workshops this year.
Paradise Valley District Buys 1,000 Tungsten C Handhelds for Sixth-graders
This fall, every sixth-grader in half of Paradise Valley Unified School District's 30 schools can look forward to getting a Palm Tungsten C handheld with built-in Wi-Fi. The Phoenix, Ariz. district, which has wireless networks on all campuses, is midway into a four-year program that will provide handheld computers to students from fifth grade through high school.
The 1,000 Tungsten C handhelds join a supply of 1,500 Zire handhelds the district purchased last year for instruction and integration into a district- wide assessment program. The district uses its own relational database to create mini tests, or 'testlets,' to measure improvement. The testlets are tied to the goals of the state's standardized tests. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the classroom experience and is causing a significant cultural change, according to Information Technology Director Jeff Billings.
"Students are buying into assessment, and that's worth its weight in gold," he said. "Palm handhelds remove the drudgery of test-taking, Teachers administer testlets routinely, sometimes two to six times a day, which helps to remove the fear of test-taking. The handhelds allow students to get instant feedback."
"For teachers," Billings said, "handhelds are powerful tools that let them do assessment quickly, and then differentiate instruction. Our teachers call this having a 'teaching moment' because they can respond in real time rather than taking papers home to grade at night and on weekends and then apply their assessments to instruction days or weeks later."
1,000 Tungsten C Handhelds Go to Pennsylvania Education Leaders
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), with support from its 29 regional service centers, is providing programs and resources to schools and their communities. The Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit recently purchased 1,000 Tungsten C handhelds to support its statewide Principals' Technology Leadership Academy. The academy provides professional development technology training as a way to close the "digital divide" by closing the "leadership divide."
Principals use handhelds for teacher observation and to create schedules, view information from student information systems, take notes at board meetings, exchange files and emails(2) with colleagues and make data-driven decisions.
"With handhelds, administrators can take data with them wherever they go," said Ann Noonen, director of instructional media and technology for Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit, the lead agency working with PDE to develop the curriculum materials and the training model to address leadership and technology. "With the Tungsten C handheld, they are no longer tethered to the office. Wi-Fi capabilities allow them to access databases and communicate with others from anywhere on a campus that has an accessible wireless 802.11 network. They are getting a glimpse of the possibilities, and the feedback has been extremely positive."
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