Study Shows Palms Very Useful in Classrooms

Palm has released the results on a study on the use handhelds in K-12 classrooms. As part of its Palm Education Pioneer (PEP) program, the company donated enough handhelds to equip 175 classrooms in the U.S. to study how effective handhelds can be as teaching aids and to find the best ways to use them.

The teachers involved were very positive about the experience. As part of the evaluation, 96% agreed or strongly agreed that handhelds "are an effective instructional tool for teachers." Almost 75% of them said that handhelds "are more easily used in the flow of classroom activity than desktop computers."

Overall, the PEP teachers reported that using handhelds in the classroom made new teaching and learning activities possible, and made existing activities easier. They found the handhelds benefited their classrooms in numerous areas, including facilitating outdoor inquiry learning activities, classroom management, promoting student collaboration and interaction, and improving students' organizational skills. The handhelds also had a positive motivational effect on the students.

However, the handhelds weren't an unmixed blessing. Teachers complained that some of the students found the handhelds difficult to use, there were some problems learning Graffiti, and there is the potential for the loss or theft of the handheld. These problems are being studied.

"The responses strongly indicate that teachers view handheld computers as a positive addition to their classrooms," said Mike Lorion, vice president of education at Palm, Inc. "As expected, the grants have given us great insight into how handheld computers affect teaching and learning. The research provides us with invaluable feedback that will help Palm and its developers create the right solutions for education. We expect these first findings to foreshadow the broader year-end results to be released later this summer."

Palm released these results at the Florida Educational Technology Conference. This study isn't over; it will continue through the end of the school year.

It should be pointed out that the teachers involved in this study were volunteers, so they weren't completely unbiased.

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This is a nice thing

lynuhx @ 3/7/2002 10:48:22 AM #
This is a nice thing, though I don't know if computing devices really need to be a part of the early education process. Then again, I don't know exactly what they were used for and how deeply the usage went.

RE: This is a nice thing
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 10:59:42 AM #
Seriously I really don't see palm useful in classroom at all, except with blutooth builtin so students could wirelessly chat with it, then again that's not useful in the classroom at all.

Don't tell me you can read ebook, it's painful enough to read text on computer montor screen already, I don't know how painful it'll be to read a 9 hundred something page bible from a palm device.

RE: This is a nice thing
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 11:07:12 AM #
You aren't thinking big enough. Students aren't sitting at their desks reading Dick and Jane on their handheld, they are out on the field collecting data for a science report.

And before we dismiss the eBook thing, I saw a report a while back on an epidemic of elementary school kids with back problems from toting around 30 pounds of books every day. When you only weigh 90 pounds, 30 pounds is a lot.

Check out the list of ways teachers are using their Palms:

RE: This is a nice thing
moylan @ 3/7/2002 11:19:49 AM #
Reading long documents is ok on a palm. I have lousy eye sight but the bw lcd screen of a palm is very comfortable to read.

I had a colour which was easier to read indoors but less so outdoors but the battery is meant to be used only a few minutes a day. I couldn't sit down for a good long read with a IIIc as the battery would go pretty low after 7-8 hours requiring it to be dropped back into the cradle.

By adding the flash features of a colour screen and rechargable battery they have actually made the device less useful! The colour screen demands a battery but now with the launch of the m130 they are indicating the death of the aaa powered palm which is a great shame.

RE: This is a nice thing
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 11:34:51 AM #
Schools can't afford to buy tons of batteries. Even rechargeable ones are expensive. Much easier to drop the handhelds into their cradles.

I wonder if kids have their cradles at home? If so, there have to be a few in the classroom to charge up handhelds that are running low. So we replace ""Miss Thomas, can I sharpen my pencil?" with "Miss Thomas, can I recharge my Palm?"

RE: This is a nice thing
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 3:40:44 PM #
Simple solution gang, we have a third party step forward with a charging rig that allows you to charge 3-6 handhelds via cables, then you just plop it into the middle of a table, then you have your charging problem solved. About the e-book thing though... I WISH I HAD MY TEXT BOOKS WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL ON MY HANDHELD!!!! Then I would have done my homework :) I agree that having the text books in e-book format would improve students dispositions towards homework, having to carry 30 lbs. of text books home every night was the reason I chose not to go into the more intense classes. If you take the stress out of needing supplies for your work, you can devote more energy towards the work itself :)

Edu-ma-cation Propaganda

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 11:55:44 AM #
Let's call it for what it is: Palm-sponsored (i.e., completely biased) study that concludes Handheld Palms (is this a surprise?!?) are useful in classrooms.

Gimme a break. We need less technology and more focus on the fundamentals on reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.

These days, instead of real math we have feel good math where little Johnny and Susie discuss numbers and how they feel about them instead of practicing their arithmetic. No wonder the kids today can't even do basic math and I'm not talking Calculus here either. Recently at the mall, I had some kid struggle for 2 minutes trying to figure out how much change to give me when I blurted out you owe me 56 cents. He looked offended that I figured it out before him.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 12:15:45 PM #
Hey Jackass!

Children have problems today because smart-ass adults (like you) believe the public school system must teach their kids everything. School systems are to reinforce and expand the education that children should be receiving from home to begin with. Before you go yelling about what lousy job schools do, look in the mirror.

If a Palm PDA can expand a child’s education, I am all for it.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 12:21:50 PM #
Yeah technology is kinda useless for education. IMO it's better to use pen and paper to learn programming than sitting in front of a computer. So I really don't see how palm can help learn english math or physics.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 12:26:20 PM #
don't even bother with the pen and paper, just use your fingers.

technology kills education opportunities...

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 1:23:14 PM #
don't even bother with the pen and paper, just use your fingers.


This is kind of extreme, but we do need more traditional training on pen and paper. Nowadays Children depend on more and more technology on their studies. I know technology will ease these studies a lot, but the process of researching / pen and pencil is what make us learn.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 1:35:21 PM #
I teach math on the college level and serve as a faculty consultant for the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, plus I am a Palm user, and I feel the need to chip in here. Sorry if it's long winded but this is an important topic.

Those who have posted here have opted for a pretty uncomplicated way of viewing things by thinking that there are two mututally exclusive paths in education: Those that stress the fundamentals, and those that stress technology. While it's true that overall, Americans' skill at basic math and algebra is deplorable, you have to realize two things: (1) technology is not what caused the problem, and (2) technology, properly used within a well-constructed curriculum, can help.

In my view, the #1 culprit in the flagging state of mathematics in American schools is not technology itself but rather the political agendas behind its implementation in the K-12 classroom. Don't underestimate the sexiness of having a computer or PDA in the hands of every student. It is a lot more visible and concrete to proliferate technology than it is to provide a living wage to a teacher, and it's a lot easier to introduce the technology without a pedagogical plan than it is with one. But realize that the technology itself is not the problem -- it's the lack of a thoughtful approach to its implementation that has got us where we are now. (I know high school teachers who were forced into using technology and teaching courses that they flat-out were not ready for, because the county commissioner told them that if they didn't get x number of computers in the classroom and y number of students making 5's on the AP exam, then their funding would be cut.)

And while the basic issues of numeracy (doing mental arithmetic, knowing simple geometry, etc.) are pretty much the same as they always have been, there are certain "fundamentals" that are no longer so "fundamental". It used to be that you needed to be able to extract square roots by hand using a version of Newton's Method, for instance, because no calculator could do it (except the kind you'd find at Bletchley Park in WWII). Now I have a Mickey Mouse pen/calculator from Disney World that will do it. So is that a "fundamental" or not? Remember that mathematics is a living, dynamic discipline and things that are canonical today need not be tomorrow, so we should careful about what we think a "fundamental" is. In fact, there are new "fundamentals" being created today -- not the least of which is computer/technological literacy. So if we yank all of the technology out of the schools because we want more "fundamentals", we're actually denying our kids access to some of those very fundamentals.

So if some group of teachers wants to use PDA's in their classrooms (and they can get their students not to play Bejeweled all day long) then more power to them -- as long as the devices are actually being used with good pedagogical practice and not as toys. Meanwhile, fixing what's wrong with math and science education in the schools today is not so simple as "let's just all go back to pencil and paper". Talk to your local teachers and see what they think -- only they can give you the full story.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 1:43:39 PM #
I'm a teenager (not american though) and am quite offended by this. Keep in mind that there are idiots of all ages, kids and adults. I've seen enough examples of grown up idiots when I worked at an insurance company, no wonder they went out of business. By saying how relatively useless technology is compared to the fundementals you obviously slow that you're not 100% either. I suggest more fundementals AND more technology.

And this doesn't mean just reading writing and math, but also history and geography. Those 2 are often underestimated imho, and I think a pda would be very usefull for those 2 subjects.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
cyruski @ 3/7/2002 1:49:37 PM #
and never mention the lousy K-12 system in the US.

what primary school students learn here is taught to high school students in the US. nah. who to blame now?


RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 1:57:25 PM #
Yes, spelling and grammar flames are poor form. Offended Teenage Poster, however, has just done a good job of proving the original poster's point. The teenager is pissed that someone is telling him to get back to the fundamentals, then fills his missive with spelling mistakes. Thanks for helping prove a point!

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 2:37:37 PM #
> Offended Teenage Poster, however, has just done a
> good job of proving the original poster's point.
> The teenager is pissed that someone is telling him
> to get back to the fundamentals, then fills his
> missive with spelling mistakes. Thanks for helping
> prove a point!

Well, our teenager is not from the U.S. so English is maybe a foreign language for him (like for me) that he or she learned at school. So you should not make any judgements on these few spelling mistakes, most look like typos anyway.

Considering this (though it would not make any difference if he would be a native English speaker) it is interesting that your final"argument" consists of criticizing someones writing. Not the way to lead a discussion, isn't it?

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 3:49:00 PM #
Okay people, read the post about backing off the teenage poster! How can I put this... English is MY first language, and I can spell better than many people I know simply because I'm gifted. I know some EXTREMELY intelligent people who couldn't spell their ways out of a paper bag. So what, that's not the problem. You want to know WHY student's aren't learning? Simply because PARENTS are TOO BUSY TRYING TO EARN A LIVING TO TRY AND HELP THEM!!! I picked up my handheld in my last year of high school (I went back for one more year because I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my future) It was great when I could use it, it saved me from having to carry a huge binder to my classes, and it also was a lot neater than a messy binder. Organization is IMPORTANT in high school, and maybe some more emphasis should be placed on it, because then you wouldn't have to worry about students not studying, or more importantly, teaching them how to use their time more wisely. I was never taught how to properly use time when I was younger, and it costed me a lot. You wanna flame someone, flame yourself, then try and help a youth, be a mentor, help these people instead of insulting them. Give them a chance to prove themselves instead of knocking them, people are only what they know.

My Palm is the universe, the universe is my Palm.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
cyruski @ 3/7/2002 4:05:44 PM #
what is the precise reason i can't see any spelling or grammar mistakes?

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 4:09:43 PM #
I am not the original offended teenage. I did find one typo so far.

"mentals you obviously slow that you're not 100% either"

I am pretty sure it's a typo. You can't exactly not know how to spell "show". Just face it some people like to make a small typo sound like the end of the world. Oh well life goes on.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 4:26:57 PM #

No, parents are too busy trying to earn enough money to buy themselves and their kids everything they ever wanted to have any time to help their kids. People are earning more than they ever have before, especially in two income families. They also live in huge McMansions and drive SUV's the size of Connecticut. If parents worried less about earning enough to buy their kids their own TV and PlayStation 2 and stopped working 60 hours a week, their kids would be better off. Work less, earn less, spend more time with your kids. Everyone will be happier and better off. Keep your kids short on money and long on hugs.

There's only one thing that improves kids test scores 100% of the time: parental involvement.

To the poster of the following statment
Dearman @ 3/7/2002 4:49:54 PM #
"Posted by: I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 1:35:21 PM

I teach math on the college level and serve as a faculty consultant for the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, plus I am a Palm user, and I feel the need to chip in here. Sorry if it's long winded but this is an important topic."

Very well said Sir or Madem.

To the "long-winded" writer
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 5:06:58 PM #
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Since two years we (a collaborative of around 20 people in Minneapolis) have been researching how to address the failings of e-learning. Using handheld technology is an important part of the answer. The other pieces are the interface and the content. We are conducting a series of studies with students in Minneapolis using Palm Pilots and our learning software. I would be interested in telling you some more about it and hear your reaction.

Thank you,

Bjorn Stansvik (
MentorMate, LLC

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 7:35:05 PM #
> Before you go yelling about what lousy job schools do, look in the mirror.

I look in the mirror and what do I see?

Well, a proud parent who sent one son to Harvard and one daughter to Yale.

Not bad, huh?

And I focused on the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 7:37:30 PM #
> IMO it's better to use pen and paper to learn programming than sitting in front of a computer.

Let's say this now: Kids don't need to learn how to program. This is an baseless artifact from the 1980s when computer literacy meant learning BASIC and 6502 ASSEMBLY PROGRAMMING. And as for programming with pen & paper, it's a good idea. I have a Masters in CS and let me tell you, there's nothing like figuring out the program in pseudo-code before sitting in front of a computer and "hacking" out code. I breezed through my classes because I did this whereas other classmates that composed in front of the computer stayed up all night trying to finish projects.

Kids are technologically fluent these days and are good for programming VCRs. Let me tell you what I saw in one classroom using a word processing program for an english writing class. The teacher spent more time going over the steps of opening files, fixing someone's bad disk, and other technical issues. And no it wasn't a PC, it was a Macintosh lab. The point is that instead of focusing on writing, the kids were focused on bold-facing this or even struggling to open their documents. That's BS.

That's the problem with technology. It's hard to effectively use it in the classroom. There are too many kids using calculators that are completely helpless if you ask them to do basic arithmetic in their heads. I've seen it. Why? I tutor K-12 kids.

In many cases, technology is part of the problem. Too many schools have reduced the budgets for their libraries to make room for gee whiz technology. I'm sorry but a good book or a library is hard to beat.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 11:51:40 PM #
> a proud parent who sent one son to Harvard and one daughter to Yale.

What, you couldn't get the daughter into Harvard? Shocking. You might as well have sent her to the local community college.

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
robins19 @ 3/8/2002 9:28:36 AM #
Hmmm...I seem to remember hearing the same arguments against technology when students started carrying pocket calculators to school.

"Oh, my God! They'll forget how to do simple math!"

I, for one, found my HP 15-C programmable calculator much easier to use than a slide-rule. And besides, even with a programmable calculator, you still need to know how to solve the problem before you can program the steps.

Anyway, when I used it on a calculus exam involving inverting matrices, the instructor said, "Very good. Messrs. Hewlett and Packard get an A. You get a new question."

Students should be encouraged to learn to use technology that's current in the workplace. What good will it do someone to know how to calculate square roots by hand if they don't understand a spreadsheet?

RE: Edu-ma-cation Propaganda
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/8/2002 12:30:53 PM #
This is not a problem that can be adequately resolved with simplistic, one-line solutions. The statement that "technology kills education [sic] opportunities" is not only reductive, it ignores the fact that much of the education of today’s youth must address technology and technologically-based material.

Likewise, the desire by many to return to a teaching model that uses only pencil and paper is ill considered. It is tremendously arrogant to assume that the education of the "pencil and paper age" is the paragon of academic excellence, or even that it is superior to the education offered to students today. Over time, education changes to address the needs of the day. For example, my family has the journal of my great-great-great-great grandfather. He was not an educated man, a fact to which his spelling and grammar attest (although rules of spelling and grammar were not as rigidly considered in those days). However, his handwriting is a beautiful script, far more elegant than that of nearly all people today. In today’s world, handwriting is less elegant because it is less important. I write by hand for only a few tasks, such as taking notes, writing thank-you letters, or writing checks; the vast majority of the writing I do is typed.

Similarly, education today must provide the student with a foundation for technological literacy in the same manner that it must provide him/her with mathematical and communicational skills. The student who enters the workplace able to recite large sections of Milton from memory or calculate square roots by hand but not operate a word processor or spreadsheet with a reasonable degree of mastery will find himself/herself poorly equipped for success.

I do not question the need for traditional teaching methods. On the contrary, I have benefited tremendously from these methods. In my youth, my parents read to me nightly and encouraged me to read both for pleasure and for information, and I have done so since that time. They also encouraged me to explore the natural world, and I eventually took every science class my high school offered, easily passing the AP exams in Physics, Biology, and Chemistry.

However, they were also early adopters of technology; I had a computer in the home from the time I was in elementary school. I learned to program, and do so for pleasure to this day. I discovered the benefits of computers in doing textual analysis of great literature; for example, I have tracked word usage chronologically across the works of Shakespeare, a task that would have been painfully slow without a computer. I have also found great advantage in using a computer in studies of everything from History to Urban Planning. The key has been to use the computer as a tool to achieve a goal, not as an end in itself. By using technology in this way, I entered the university with over 100 hours of credit already on my transcript, received a full scholarship, and graduated Magna Cum Laude, receiving Honors Degrees in both English and Spanish.

Therefore, I feel that technology can be of enormous benefit to the student if used wisely. To be certain, the many shortcomings of U.S. education will not be solved by technology alone; they are too many and too varied to think that such could be the case. However, a failure to effectively teach computer literacy and the appropriate use of technology would simply add to the list of problems and prove a detriment to our children and our society. Only through a balanced use of traditional teaching methods and the adoption of new techniques—-including the use of technology-—can teachers provide today’s student with the complete education that he/she deserves.

University Following of PDAs

twizza @ 3/7/2002 3:32:57 PM #
I have been following PDAs in education since Nov of 1999. I purchased my first PDA in Aug of 2000 and have used it to enhance my organizational abilities as well as streamline my note taking and class research for these classes. In all that I have seen and done with PDAs i have found that they would probably be more beneficial to the university population more than any others. I am currently working with my school, Millersville University, in setting up a pilot program where we could actually gauge how useful PDAs would be to the classroom setting, general class organization, and class atmosphere. So far I am only on the proposal portion; but the response in all areas of the school has been relatively favorable. I have even started VillePUG [] to help gather research, and to promote palmieness :D amongst the MU community. This study here has done a lot for helping me to shape my research proposal [i have to write this up for a class...aint that fun :D]and I hope that all schools will benefit from it. And even as a previous poster said; I would hope that the quality of education would increase. We really do need to gain a better understanding of how education works, and not just to push it thru different avenues of technology. But as I see K-12 classes doing it; I am sure that the university group will follow.

RE: University Following of PDAs
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/7/2002 6:02:17 PM #
Hi Twizza,
The timing on this is really interesting, as I've just proposed a similar thing to my faculty. I lecture in
lecture in media here in Melbourne, Australia, and think the more research done into this area the better. Maybe we should set
up a joint study?

You can get me on if you're interested.

- Mark Finn

Yes, Palms can help, with the right Accessories

terrysalmi @ 3/7/2002 6:47:17 PM #
I am a high school senior in Nebraska, and I am using my Visor Deluxe and Stowaway/Wordsmith Combination with school (Purchased by myself, not the school.) Here is what I have found out / done:

Before I got my VDX for Christmas, I did not take any notes in class. Now, with my Stowaway, I have taken multiple notes for different classes, mainly English, Government, US History AP, and Chemistry. The stowaway makes it much easier to take lecture notes, as I simply could not write pen/paper fast enough. To respond to a posters comments about needing to write stuff down, I do. I still jot down vocab terms and stuff to help me memorize. Typing 80wam simply does not help you memorize something. With the keyboard and taking notes, my test scores have dramatically improved.

In English, we have recently read Macbeth and Hamlet, are currently doing Shakespearean Sonnets, and will do Bram Stoker's Dracula next. With Macbeth and Hamlet, I read along with the class on my Visor, instead of carrying around the 4lbs English Book. I also used CliffNotes and In-Class Notes on my Visor, as well as Shakespeares Sonnets, and this has helped me dramatically, having everything in one location, instead of 5 different things in 5 different parts of my messy bookbag. I have recently put Dracula onto my Visor as well, for the same purpose.

I use my Visor (and Due Yesterday) to keep track of my homework and after-school activities. I used to keep no record of my homework last semester and relied on my memory. This did not work very well. My Visor has definitely kept me more organized, especially with my Wing Position in my AFJROTC Unit.

I use AvantGo to keep track of current events. I update it every morning before school, and it helps being able to get all the World/National/Local news that I need. This helps me be better prepared for in-class discussions on current events (and to help piss off my very liberal History teacher with my conservative preachings)

I use my visor as my checkbook balancesheet. I used to never keep a log of my checkbook, or I never looked at it. Now, it is on my visor, always with me, so I know when I need more money.

Yes, I have my share of games on my Visor, but I usually don't play them, except at lunch or when I am at home. Someone made a comment about keeping students from playing games, and PDA's are not the only technology this affects. In my school and many others, TI-83+ Calculators are required for many math classes (and you can borrow them from the school). There is nothing different between playing bejeweled on the Visor or playing Dope Wars or Tetris on the calculator. In fact, I did this last semester. So keeping kids away from PDAs will not stop them from playing games in class.

Please consider how I have shown PDAs can be used in school, before bashing students and how dumb they are today. I am by no means a straight A student, but using a Visor in school has definitely helped me do better.

RE: Yes, Palms can help, with the right Accessories
volcanopele @ 3/7/2002 11:32:42 PM #
I wholeheartedly agree. I also use Wordsmith and the Stowaway keyboard and it is really nice to have all my notes all in one place and neatly organized into catagories. I also use the same combination to type papers for english and French IV.

Another major activity I do on my palm is read books. I have stocked my Palm with enough books to last me through a life time. I have all of Shakespeare's plays, the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe, numerous historical documents from around the world, The Prince, Sun Tzu's Art of War, Utopia, Bulfinch's Mythology, The Divine Comedy, The Critique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic Morals by Immanuel Kant (the one I am reading now), The Odyssey, and The Iliad, just to name a few. To say that using technology is a detriment to learning, particularly the fundamentals, is complete nonsense. Not teaching how to use technology earlier is a problem. The earlier children are exposed to technology, the earlier they become comfortable with it. I was fortunate to live in a family that has had at least one computer in the house since 1988, when I was five. This has helped me to now be comfortable with working with a Palm. It has also helped me become more interested in philosophy and the classics thanks to Memoware. I guess thats the interesting twist on copywrite law. I read more classics than I would without my Palm.
In short, my experience has been very similar to the original author of this thread.

RE: Yes, Palms can help, with the right Accessories
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/8/2002 2:01:43 PM #
I agree. A PDA is just a tool, just like a pen, a book, or a calculator. A tool is only useful when you know how to really use it. I think the problem is that the teachers are not trained well themselves on how to really use a PDA. Somebody should come up with a book on PDA for school (with a CD containing all the useful educational software).

RE: Yes, Palms can help, with the right Accessories
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/10/2002 1:10:13 PM #
Among those Accessories, do you think there might be much of a market for College logoed Cases? My company makes smartercases ( , and that is one of the markets we are considering.

RE: Yes, Palms can help, with the right Accessories
terrysalmi @ 3/10/2002 1:58:00 PM #
I would love to have a case having my (soon-to-be in the fall) college logo on it. The only problem I could foresee is picking out which colleges to would have to do a custom-order process for smaller schools and you have to worry about the students don't have $60-$100 for a custom case.

Teacher's comment

PIC mobile user @ 3/17/2002 8:02:56 PM #
I am a teacher and a technology trainer in my school district. I am in the process of developing a plan to usc PDA's in our classrooms.
PDA's could be a more effective use of technology than most think. They are cost effective and therefore can be accessed by more students at once than desktops. They can word process and print easily and effectively. They can store dictionaries, textbooks, aclculators, and e-books in a small package, reducing the load on students (which studies show is too high).
Periodic tables, vocabulary lists, formulas, students agendas and schedules, along with assignments, grades, todo lists, and classmate contact information all stored in one place could be very helpful to students.
We should also consider that instead of giving a student access to the entire internet, a teacher could choose a number of websites to download to each PDA containing information for students. Now teahers can be sure the information is reliable and that students are not wasting time at A device by a company called Wide Ray could be used to download specific information, web pages, software, assignmments, etc. These devices are easy to update and can beam to 15 palms at once.
As far as I can tell, it would be more effective to have a class set of palms with keyboards and one computer connected to the internet than a set of 5 computers in a classroom. Having 20 desktops in all classrooms is not currently an affordable model and may not even be an effective one. But access to 20 palms at one time could be easily implemented and is an affordable option. Palms are small enough so that the class still exists as a whole. Students can still see what is going on around them and work with others, whereas at a desktop this is difficult. Programs like Avantgo, Wordsmith, and any dictionary program make these devices capable of what 85% of the computer use in a classroom is for.
Don't get me wrong. Technology is not the do all solution to our educational woes in US. However, the purpose of education is to prepare our students for the world they are going to live in. The owrld we live in is no longer based on what we know, but what we can find out quickly, and how efectively we can get that information to others. Almost every job requires computer skills, therefore we must teach them to our students. If our society relies on technology, then it is not wrong to teach our students to rely on it as well.
A few students in schools are already walking around with their own PDA's and laptops. They are simply another tool. Our parents used pencils and typewriters, we used word precoessors and computers. Our children will use mobile devices. Teachers will forever use whatever tools they can get into the hands of students.
PDA's are a tool that can help students be more organized (a challenging task as our world becomes more and more complex), give more of them access to more information, and provide a new motivation to our students who are more technology and less paper and pencil focused than previous generations. I have seen students who would never read a book for pleasure spend a full study hall reading web pages on their favorite hobbies. Just as kids used to be more interested in comic books than novels, and have moved even further away from books as TV and video games gained popularity, we now see students reading more. Not necessarily anything of value, but the technology they so love, such as IM's and chat rooms, forces our kids to read and write. Should we as teachers ignore this? Or should we tap into the current generations obsession with the new technlogy to motivate them to work harder?
We cannot ignore the change in media. Whether it is pencil and paper, computer, or PDA, teachers will use whatever the kids need to be successful once they leave us. Technology is a big part of the world today. We use videos in our classroom, computers, even games to help our students learn because that is what gets their interest. If PDA's get them excited, more organized, and give them new tools for learning, then we need to explore whether or not they can be used effecively.


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