Bill Gates Pays to Train Educators on the Palm OS
Palm Inc. and Alaska are working together to educate that state's school administrators on how to use handhelds with a goal of making them more efficient managers, thereby improving Alaska's education system. The administrators can buy a Palm handheld at a discount and then receive free training through the Palm Education Training Coordinator (PETC) program. The ironic part is the program is being funded by an $864,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates is, of course, the chairman of Microsoft, which makes the rival Pocket PC OS.
So far, the plan is successful. "Palm handhelds are so straightforward and easy to use that the adoption rate has been outstanding," said Kelly Tonsmeire, director of Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN).
Palm handhelds are being used to provide school leaders with an easy way to access the information they need to help their students improve their performance. Tonsmeire believes that, once school leaders are trained in a system designed to help all students meet high standards, Alaska's schools could see measurable improvement in student performance on state and national tests.
The PETC program is a train-the-trainer program that provides participants with a ready-to-use, complete training curriculum for basic handheld skills and curricular implementation. Individuals trained through PETC then train other principals and provide follow-up training for district teachers
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