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AlphaSmart to Merge with Renaissance Learning

Dana WirelessAlphaSmart today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to merge with Renaissance Learning, Inc., a leading provider of learning information systems and school improvement programs for pre-K–12 schools. AlphaSmart and Renaissance Learning expect that this merger will enable the combined companies to offer a unique suite of writing products, enhance some of Renaissance Learning's other software products and broaden the market channels for the AlphaSmart product lines. Renaissance Learning plans to operate AlphaSmart as a wholly-owned subsidiary and retain the AlphaSmart brand.

Under the agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, each AlphaSmart stockholder will receive $3.75 per share. The transaction is intended to be structured as a tax-free reorganization and is valued at approximately $57 million. AlphaSmart stockholders will have the option to be paid in cash, stock or some combination of the two, subject to pro-ration so that the total consideration paid will aggregate no more than 45% stock and no less than 55% cash. The merger, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2005, is subject to approval by AlphaSmart stockholders, government regulatory review, and other customary closing conditions described in the definitive agreement. Voting agreements supporting the merger have been executed by AlphaSmart stockholders who hold approximately 60% of the outstanding shares, including its three founders.

“The addition of AlphaSmart’s exceptional product line and talented professional staff will strengthen and diversify Renaissance Learning’s position as a leading provider of learning information systems to schools,” said John Hickey, president and chief executive officer of Renaissance Learning. “Together, we will be able to provide unique breakthrough solutions to help educators develop student writing skills along with strengthening other Renaissance solutions where limited computer access is a bottleneck to daily program use. In addition to the merger providing substantial growth potential for the combined companies, we expect to achieve annual savings of at least $1 million from the reduction of redundant public company and other costs.”

“By offering AlphaSmart portable computer-companion products with Renaissance Learning software, we will be able to help K–12 districts leverage the use of their existing classroom computers, thereby increasing the value derived from their technology investment,” said Ketan D. Kothari, chairman and chief executive officer of AlphaSmart. “Our solutions are highly complementary, and we expect that this merger will help grow the revenues of the combined companies and accelerate learning of writing and other subjects.”

AlphaSmart's Palm OS license with PalmSource extends through 2008.

About AlphaSmart, Inc.
AlphaSmart, Inc. is a provider of affordable, portable personal learning solutions for the K–12 classroom. Its portable computer-companion products are used by students to enhance writing, keyboarding and comprehension, and have been adopted by more than 8,000 school districts in the United States and other countries. Based in Los Gatos, California, the company was founded in 1992 by former Apple Computer engineers.

Renaissance Learning, Inc.
Renaissance Learning, Inc. is a leading provider of research-based learning information systems software, school improvement programs, teacher training, and consulting. Adopted by more than 67,000 schools, Renaissance Learning information technology products give students and teachers continuous constructive feedback that helps motivate students, dramatically accelerate learning, improve test scores, and help students master all standards, while reducing teacher paperwork. Renaissance Learning has six U.S. locations and subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.

Thanks to cubelover for the tip

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Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon

Gekko @ 1/26/2005 3:21:30 PM # Q

Oh - "AlphaSmart's Palm OS license with PalmSource extends through 2008" you say? Who cares! If the pigs ain't selling, there ain't no license revenue stream. And sooner or later, the acquiring company figures out that you can't make money *trying* to sell pigs that nobody is buying. I told you this Dana was a stupid failure - how can you charge more for one of these POS than you can get a complete DELL PC for and expect to stay in business??? More dumb ex-Apple rejects that should be teaching computer science at some community college.


RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
Strider_mt2k @ 1/26/2005 3:45:26 PM # Q
Time and technology have moved on now, and the Dana shows it.
Either the technology should have been kept updated, or the price should have tanked, but neither one happened.

BTW: There is no Dana, only Zool.


RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
relyons @ 1/26/2005 3:50:50 PM # Q
Gekko whined, "how can you charge more for one of these POS than you can get a complete DELL PC for and expect to stay in business???

Neo by Alphasmart: Starts at $249 (alphasmart.com)
Dell Inspiron 1000 Notebook: Starts at $697 (dell.com)

The Neo is much cheaper than Dell's least expensive notebook.

(I'm not speaking to the viability of Neo. I just get a kick out of correcting Gekko's inaccuracies.)

Neo vs. Dana
hotpaw4 @ 1/26/2005 4:05:43 PM # Q
The Neo model doesn't run PalmOS; it seems to be a dedicated word-processor. The Dana model runs PalmOS. The Dell laptop would fail the drop test more often, and might well cost several thousand more once you added in all the replacement parts and repair costs.
RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
relyons @ 1/26/2005 4:12:20 PM # Q
Hotpaw4,

That's a great point about the Neo being a dedicated word-processor.

The starting price for the Dana (with the Palm OS) is $379.

Both cost less and are more durable than Dell notebooks.

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
Gekko @ 1/26/2005 5:06:11 PM # Q

You can buy a DELL PC for $399 - probably even cheaper with education and volume discounts. Given schools' tight budgets and fixed dollars for IT spending, if I was a school administrator, I would SURELY spend my fixed dollars on PCs (either new or upgrades or additions) versus this stupid POS overpriced AlphaSmart device - and I would FIRE anyone who told me they bought that crap. And guess what? I MUST BE RIGHT BECAUSE THESE PIGS AREN'T SELLING AND THE COMPANY JUST GOT ACQUIRED. The results speak for themselves, and I am SELDOM wrong in my analysis. This has been proven time and time again.



RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
joad @ 1/26/2005 5:21:52 PM # Q
So what you are saying, Gekko, is that these pigs just ain't making Alphasmart enough bacon?

;)


I thought my Alphasmart was decent for a durable text-entry device with a full-sized keyboard, but Gekko's correct in saying technology has moved on. There's a place for this type of device at that pricepoint, but they need to reexamine the components and their target. They presently have a redesigned eMac (http://tinyurl.com/6fb3l), some things better, some things worse.


RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
RhinoSteve @ 1/26/2005 5:35:15 PM # Q
Actually, the machine is doing well. That is why they were bought out. The founders of AlphaSmart is sitting pretty now.

You guys don't know business well.

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
Gekko @ 1/26/2005 5:36:44 PM # Q

>"Actually, the machine is doing well."

Please provide some specific sales numbers. We're waiting. Or are you just talking out of your ass again?



RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
just_little_me @ 1/26/2005 6:14:45 PM # Q
>> and I am SELDOM wrong in my analysis

Even if that were true it doesn't make you any less of a horses ar5e...


JLM.

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
Gekko @ 1/26/2005 6:22:25 PM # Q

What's the point of being rich if you can't be an *******?



RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
RhinoSteve @ 1/26/2005 9:10:42 PM # Q
To an open forum like this, no. I will not give you numbers. But if you look at Rennassance and their numbers, this buyout was a very good move. It is pretty much a win-win for both.

... and the rest of you can moan. Everyone loves to knock a winner.

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
relyons @ 1/27/2005 9:22:58 AM # Q
Gekko sputtered, "You can buy a DELL PC for $399 - probably even cheaper with education and volume discounts."

The Alphasmart devices and Dell notebook are portable computing devices. These devices can be easily transported from desk to desk and room to room.

Dell desktop computers are stationary computing devices. They typically stay in one room.

Compare apples to oranges next time, Gekko.

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
Gekko @ 1/27/2005 10:24:40 AM # Q

>"These devices can be easily transported from desk to desk and room to room."

So is a Casio Calculator. What's YOUR point, nitwit?

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
RhinoSteve @ 1/27/2005 3:19:03 PM # Q
Gekko, I'm really getting sick of your stuff. You claim to be worth over one million dollars and your predictions never fail. At least that is the cover.

My guess is you are some IT guy in the back room of a large company, you are surrounded by servers and you can block the company web-logs to hide all the porn you download.

QED

RE: Another Failed Licensee Gone Soon
hotpaw4 @ 1/27/2005 4:26:40 PM # Q
Silly comparison. Both Dell and Apple sell a huge number of laptops that cost far more than their own desktop systems, and the slim laptops often cost more than the big ones. Why? Because most people are willing to pay for portability.



Reply to this comment

AlphaSmart: FAR too expensive fo what it offers

The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/26/2005 10:42:51 PM # Q
Decent idea, ancient hardware, high price. Not exactly a recipe for success. Schools are better served spending $400 getting each student a basic desktop and letting them learn real-world applications and use real keyboards.

Dana made a bit of sense in 2002. Not now.

Wouldn't it be nice if Palm could sign up a REAL company to license PalmOS in 2005? This is getting ridiculous. Circle the wagons, Martha. Trouble's a-brewin'




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: AlphaSmart: FAR too expensive fo what it offers
RhinoSteve @ 1/26/2005 11:12:11 PM # Q
You have no idea how anal some schools are. In fact, one of the selling points of the product is that it is NOT a PC and thus games and viruses are not spread over it.

Also, the IT support cost (read, the one teacher the read the manuals) is very low. Compaired to a PC, the cost of ownership of a Dana is very low. You need look beyond hardware costs here.

Becides, I'm a firm believer that those who matter in this business are more self-taught than goes that walk through the recycle diploma mills that too many schools are now.

RE: AlphaSmart: FAR too expensive fo what it offers
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 1:24:36 AM # Q
You have no idea how anal some schools are. In fact, one of the selling points of the product is that it is NOT a PC and thus games and viruses are not spread over it.

Also, the IT support cost (read, the one teacher the read the manuals) is very low. Compaired to a PC, the cost of ownership of a Dana is very low. You need look beyond hardware costs here.

Becides, I'm a firm believer that those who matter in this business are more self-taught than goes that walk through the recycle diploma mills that too many schools are now.

Bubba, if you use an OS like XP Professional, it's easy to avoid a lot of user-caused problems. The TCO of a properly configured desktop can be fairly low. It all comes down to how it's all set up by the admins.

Schools are not about creating the next Bill Gates. They're about providing students with real world skills that they can take with them when they graduate. Formal curriculae can be quite effective in teaching these skill sets. Things like how it's inappropriate to talk about "banging your wife" on a Palm news site.

Stay in school, Bubba.




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: AlphaSmart: FAR too expensive fo what it offers
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 1:24:36 AM # Q
You have no idea how anal some schools are. In fact, one of the selling points of the product is that it is NOT a PC and thus games and viruses are not spread over it.

Also, the IT support cost (read, the one teacher the read the manuals) is very low. Compaired to a PC, the cost of ownership of a Dana is very low. You need look beyond hardware costs here.

Becides, I'm a firm believer that those who matter in this business are more self-taught than goes that walk through the recycle diploma mills that too many schools are now.

Bubba, if you use an OS like XP Professional, it's easy to avoid a lot of user-caused problems. The TCO of a properly configured desktop can be fairly low. It all comes down to how it's all set up by the admins.

Schools are not about creating the next Bill Gates. They're about providing students with real world skills that they can take with them when they graduate. Formal curriculae can be quite effective in teaching these skill sets. Things like how it's inappropriate to talk about "banging your wife" of a Palm news site.

Stay in school, Bubba.




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Reply to this comment

Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.

GregGaub @ 1/26/2005 11:02:38 PM # Q
These devices are NOT targeted to the palm geeks (or PPC geeks) that want tons of features all crammed into one pocket. Alphasmart products fill a specific niche in the educational market. They are NOT out to take the world by storm with their products. They want to meet the demand of their customers, and they do that very well. Trying to convince you guys that you're wrong is like trying to get a brick wall to step out of the way, so I won't bother. But if there's anything you need to take away from this post, it's that you just don't get it, and you should probably just leave it alone.

-- SeaPUG: http://www.seapug.com --
RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
RhinoSteve @ 1/26/2005 11:15:13 PM # Q
Well said Greg! This place is a sewing circle for those techo's that are not getting laid at night. Instead they bitch on groups like this.

... and I'm just about to go home and bang the hell out of my wife over ten years younger than me. LOL!

RE: GregGaub, BubbaSteve you guys just don't get it.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 12:20:12 AM # Q
These devices are NOT targeted to the palm geeks (or PPC geeks) that want tons of features all crammed into one pocket. Alphasmart products fill a specific niche in the educational market. They are NOT out to take the world by storm with their products. They want to meet the demand of their customers, and they do that very well. Trying to convince you guys that you're wrong is like trying to get a brick wall to step out of the way, so I won't bother. But if there's anything you need to take away from this post, it's that you just don't get it, and you should probably just leave it alone.

No, I don't think YOU get it. These Playskool "My First 'Puter" Danas offer poor value for the money. Yes, they're fairly rugged, but when you compare what a child can accomplish using a REAL (Windows or Mac) computer vs. what they can do with this archaic AlphaSmart hardware, the Dana seems laughable.

A properly managed real computer would probably cost twice as much per year as the Dana - once hardware, software and support expenses are included - but that's still worth it. $350 PCs networked and configured with XP Professional are worthy of investment by a school system and can remain useful for several years down the road.

But if there's anything you need to take away from this post, it's that you just don't get it, and you should probably just let the market decide. AlphaSmart's business model was always a little weak and they're probably on pretty shaky financial ground these days. Time will prove which one of us (me) is right (me).

For the record, I actually like AlphaSmart, and hoped they would have succeeded. Their hardware was just too expensive to take seriously. I can see deploying these as an adjunct to regular computers in wealthy schools that already have a solid desktop-based infrastructure. But any school official approving the Dana as the primary computer learning tool is insane.




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

BubbaSteve + his brawlin', hard drinkin', hard bangin' wife.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/27/2005 1:03:58 AM # Q
Well said Greg! This place is a sewing circle for those techo's that are not getting laid at night. Instead they bitch on groups like this.

... and I'm just about to go home and bang the hell out of my wife over ten years younger than me. LOL!

I see you must like getting "Sloppy Seconds". Or in this case, "Sloppy Sevenths"? I truly hope you enjoy "bang[ing] the hell out of [your] wife". She's a real creampie. Next time, you should go home 30 minutes early and watch those other guys "[gang]bang[ing] the hell out of [your] wife". Cheers.


All this from someone who said:

http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7267

* My wife is 19 years younger than me -- she needed a real man and not the whimps her age that couldn't take her on.
* She can drink most of the whimps on this list under the table and beat the **** out of them.
* I haven't worked for someone else since I was 23 years of age.
* Two magazine covers, a half dozen TV spots and a bunch of newspaper articles about me so far and counting.
* Last time my wife and I were in Vegas we came back with a new car I won in a poker tournament.
* I have a lot more money than you think -- and I got that way telling Microsoft and other market leaders to shove off.
* While I have been called "The Baron" here. Those of you who play it too reasonable are still slogging in your cubicals.
* I don't work in a cubical.
* My commute is a twenty block run two work ... keeps me fit.
* ... and I'll keep on at it 'til I die trying.



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
svrontis @ 1/27/2005 5:46:51 AM # Q
GregGaub & RhinoSteve, you are wasting your breath. My guess is that some of these guys are paid to troll at this and other sites. The only way to deal with this is to go to some WinCE forum, adopt a false name (a nom de ridicule, if you wish) and make scurrilous statements about lack of innovation this and poor quality that, etc, etc, etc. Try your best to be petulant, wrong and repetitive - preferably all at the same time. If you really want to get under their skin: a) make wild assertions that WinCE devices are 'just organisers'; and b) point out that they are obviously just poor copies of palm-pilots.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
tdor @ 1/27/2005 6:27:56 AM # Q
I have read PIC for years but never needed to post anything until now. Gekko, VOR you realy don't get it because you are not teachers and don't work with teachers. I run a 40 computer lab in an alternative secondary school. I run it because I am the only teacher on the staff who knows enough to check the A drive if a computer won't boot up properly. You guys have no idea of how low computer skills are in elementary and secondary education staff. Most teachers couldn't construct a spreadsheet on Excell much less run a networked classroom.

You assume the school has an administrator who is capable of setting up computers so that the students will have a difficult time trashing them. I am talking about such basics as configuring IE so that downloads are difficut to do, most inappropriate websites are blocked, system settings are inaccessible, and antivirus software is installed, updated and properly running. I have yet to see such an administrator in the school where I work. I am constantly having to readjust system settings, delete unauthorized software, reconnect peripherals, check for viruses, and so on and so on and so. I AM NOT THE SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR. There is not one other teacher on staff who has the technical skills to do what I am doing. These skills may seem elementary to geeks like you, but they are well beyond the abilities of most teachers.

Unfortunately, for the program I run it is essential that I have computers connected to the internet and capable of running Internet Explorer. If there were a computer that could do this and was a simple to deploy as the Dana, I would convince my school to buy it immediately. Classroom teachers, even if they have the skills, do not have the time to reconfigure the monitor so that the display is right side up instead of upside down because Johnny figured out how to flip the screen while the teacher was helping Jane. With the Dana technical problems are minimized. They are durable, instant on, easy to operate and difficult to mess up. They are stored on a cart when not in use, so they are not a distraction when not in use.

With the infrared port, assignments and tests can be beamed to the students, so the classroom does not have to be wired. Do you guys have any clue how difficult it is to get the funds to to a classroom wired for computers? Even if wifi is used, many classrooms do not have the proper power supply. You can't have a classroom with extension cords running all over the place.

Gekko and VOR, you may know lots about PDAs but you know nothing about deploying computers in an educational setting. The Dana meets the needs of many educators in ways that standard PCs and Macs do not. And no, I am not an employee of AlphaSmart. I am just fed up with your ignorant statements on this matter. In the future, stick with commenting on PDAs.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
Gekko @ 1/27/2005 10:25:31 AM # Q

Yeah - I guess I just don't get it. AND APPARENTLY MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF CUSTOMERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DON'T GET IT EITHER BECAUSE NOBODY IS BUYING THAT PIECE OF ****T.

Also - please note for the record that unlike most of the people on this forum, I am not a "Nerd" or "Geek". I'm the farthest thing from it. Please don't project the labels other put on you onto me. Sorry, it does not apply. I have an interest in technology because I'm a user and an investor in technology. So don't get it twisted.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
relyons @ 1/27/2005 10:26:07 AM # Q
Svrontis said, "My guess is that some of these guys are paid to troll at this and other sites."

Svrontis, I’m embarrassed to admit that I want to know the true motive behind the inaccurate, inflammatory and insane comments posting from these cretins.

Ultimately, look to the administrators of this site who allow it to continue...

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
Gekko @ 1/27/2005 10:37:14 AM # Q

Yes - it's all a big conspiracy from MSFT and DELL. MSFT pays me 3 cents a post and DELL currently pays me 1 cent a post. I'm in new negotiations with DELL though and I think after today, I can get it bumped up to at least 2 cents.

Please kids, stop watching "The Matrix". This is reality, you nitwits.

Also - forums such as this are meant for open discussion. STOP CRYING BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE HERE IS A PALM APOLOGIST.



RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
tdor @ 1/27/2005 10:50:54 AM # Q
Gekko, get your facts straight. Here is a link to AlphaSmart's August quarterly report: http://biz.yahoo.com/e/040805/alsm10-q.html. Given the doldrums of the larger PDA industry, they are not doing too badly. For an investor, you apparently have little comprehension of business marketing strategies. You are not the target market. Neither are the millions of individual PDA users. As an individual PDA user, I would never buy a Dana. But schools are AlphaSmart's target market and for schools, their products provide considerable value.

Yes there are PCs available that cost little more than the Dana. But these PCs are not the proper tools for meeting the computing needs of many classrooms. Here is an analogy. You need to nail some boards together and need to buy a hammer. You can either buy a claw hammer to do the job or for about the same price you can get a 9 pound sledge hammer. Yes the sledge hammer is more hammer for the money, but who would want to use it to drive nails. For many classrooms, PCs and Macs are 9 pound sledge hammers. Before you buy a tool to do a job, make sure it is the appropriate tool for the job.

Lastly, don't be so thin skinned. To most of the population, if you are so emotionally invested in PDAs that you post on forums like PIC, then you are a geek. So what? So am I.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
Strider_mt2k @ 1/27/2005 11:19:28 AM # Q
Don't argue with fools.
Five minutes into it and it will be very hard to tell who the fool is.

You are spot on svrontis.
It's like this either because someone wants it this way, or won't do what it takes to change it.


RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
RhinoSteve @ 1/27/2005 3:23:08 PM # Q
"Voice" and "Gekko", I'm truly complemented to be able to get under your skin like I do. Enjoy downloading your porn and thinking that no one is happier than your miserable existances.

When you see the red stickers at Palm Source this year, you will know what I'm talking about.
RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
svrontis @ 1/27/2005 4:11:38 PM # Q
> Also - forums such as this are meant for open discussion. STOP CRYING BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE HERE IS A PALM APOLOGIST.

Gekko, I know you were very disappointed that the T5 did not have Wi-Fi. I know that you don't think that the T5 worthy of p1 and that it is not the 'flagship' model that your heart desires. So p1 have produced a unit which does not come up to your very demanding standards? Fine. Just get over it. There is no need to subject us all to a daily diatribe about p1's ineptitude, p1's impending bankruptcy and the end of life of civilisation as we know it, just because the T5 is not what you wanted. OK?

BTW, it's a free country, so you are entitled to voice your views if you wish, even if sometimes you go a little off the deep end.

Ryan, you posted a link to this article I while ago-

http://www.misterbg.org/AppleProductCycle/

Maybe we need a some kind of permanent link to this, to help us all keep our palm-obsessions in perspective.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
cane_cubo @ 1/27/2005 5:29:39 PM # Q
I am also someone who has been reading PIC for years but has never posted before. Wearied by the ignorant blabbing of the likes of Gekko, I am moved to bring clarity to the discussion about Alphasmart.

I am a technical executive of a company that sells software to elementary schools all over the country. From my vantage point, I have a great view of what happens in schools. I have no connection to Alphasmart.

Alphasmarts sell quite well, and teachers LOVE them. They are not and were never intended to be consumer devices, so any report on sales volume has to be interpreted in the proper context.

The fools on this board who ramble on about Dell, $399 PCs, XP simply have no idea about what goes on in schools (or in many enterprises, for that matter). XP is complex and brittle, it's very easy for teachers to get lost, and if anything goes wrong (happens all the time, especially when a network is involved) they are powerless to fix it. Alphasmarts are simple, very robust, intelligible and reliable.


RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys get it.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/28/2005 1:09:12 AM # Q
I have read PIC for years but never needed to post anything until now. Gekko, VOR you realy don't get it because you are not teachers and don't work with teachers. I run a 40 computer lab in an alternative secondary school. I run it because I am the only teacher on the staff who knows enough to check the A drive if a computer won't boot up properly. You guys have no idea of how low computer skills are in elementary and secondary education staff. Most teachers couldn't construct a spreadsheet on Excell much less run a networked classroom.

[SNIP]


The only place the AlphaSmart has in schools is in a Grade 2 - 4 setting. Any school serious about teaching computer skills to older children will set up a dedicated computer lab and spend the few hours it takes to configure a system to limit potential damage from students and the (according to you) hopelessly ignorant teachers.

This is not rocket science. To pretend that setting up + running a basic computer lab is so complicated that it justifies the existence of a "dumbed down" device like the Dana is absurd.



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys really get it.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 1/28/2005 1:25:33 AM # Q
"Voice" and "Gekko", I'm truly complemented to be able to get under your skin like I do. Enjoy downloading your porn and thinking that no one is happier than your miserable existances.

BubbaSteve, shouldn't you be banging your "wife [that] is 19 years younger than [you]"? Your bizarre posts serve only to amuse those of us now wondering how desperate your second cousin/wife must be.



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
tdor @ 1/28/2005 6:50:16 AM # Q
Ok VOR, let me spell it out so clearly that even you might finally be able to comprehend the issues. First of all, the teachers I work with are highly competent and professional, but they are not very computer literate. Why should they be? Most classrooms are not and should not be computer labs. The focus of most teaching is not computers so most classrooms should not be computer labs.

The Dana is not designed to replace a computer lab nor to teach students how to use a computer. It is designed to incorporate some of the benefits of using a computer into a regular classroom without turning that classroom into a computer lab. That way teachers can focus on teaching subjects like English, Math and History without having to deal with all of the technical issues involved with using Macs and PCs. If you can't see the benefits of using such a device in any K-12 classroom, then you know very little about teaching.

Finally, if you think it only takes a few hours to set up a computer lab suitable for use in a typical school, then you obviously have never set one up. It is more complicated than you think.

You have written many good comments on PDAs. Stick with what you know.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
thomaslb @ 1/28/2005 9:03:03 AM # Q
tdor--I completely agree with your posts. I only feel bad that people are missing the fact that with the right software DANA IS BETTER THAN AN XP laptop. Yeah, yeah, it IS designed for the school market but I sit here and listen to the banter about "good for grades 2-4" and "my first puter" babble and feel the need to remind that some of us use the DANA (since 2003) to do the majority of their computing. I run a lucrative private practice case managment practice in Florida off one. I do 95% of my computing on it. Now, I know that I HAVE been using palm devices since 1996 and I have gotten pretty good at locating and leveraging the best palm OS software and using it to make the most of the devices we have been handed by Palm (toys mostly). But every once in a while a company like TRG and AlphaSmart make something much more like a tool than the toys most posters here use.

The recent hurricanes here in Florida were a perfect example of the superiority of the Dana (low-tech-low tech, blablabla). My Dana was cranking out FEMA and Emergency Operations Center info and doing damage reports, order supplies for people (in no-power areas) for hours and hours and hours...while a tech buddy of mine was down for the count looking for a plug-in to juice his NON-RUGGEDIZED toy XP tablet. Having used some of the toys---rrr-consumer devices many here have been using, with 4 hour battery lives (but they play cool music), I had a much more satisfying experience on my DANA. And so did the developmentally disabled clients it was employed in the service of. And if it got creamed in the disaster--no biggie; $300+ and I get a new one, pop the SD cards in, and am back in action.

RE: Gekko, VOR, you guys just don't get it.
RhinoSteve @ 1/28/2005 1:36:02 PM # Q
"The only difference between a madman and myself is that I'm not mad." -- Dali
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What will happen to the Dana lines of Palm OS products?

asiayeah @ 1/27/2005 1:42:56 AM # Q
So, what exactly will happen to the Dana Palm OS devices?

Will they announce new product any time soon?

--
With great power comes great responsiblity.

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