palmOne Offers Wireless Edu Classroom Deal

Starting today and through Sept. 30, schools that purchase a minimum of 30 Tungsten C wireless handhelds through the palmOne Education Purchase Program will get a free license to use a file distribution and exchange program that could revolutionize workflow in the classroom, palmOne, recently announced.

LearnTracFX from the Readiness Company, formerly known as eLearning Dynamics, is designed to help teachers create a wireless classroom learning environment where they can efficiently conduct routine tasks -- such as distributing and collecting assignments and study materials for an entire class, selected groups, or individual students -- via a wireless network. The high-speed wireless Tungsten C handheld includes integrated 802.11 technology (Wi-Fi) and a built-in keyboard.

"Schools are looking for ways to maximize their investments in wireless classrooms with solutions that increase communication and make it easy to exchange information," said Mike Lorion, vice president of vertical markets for palmOne. "Teachers lose valuable time performing routine tasks, such as passing out assignments and study materials, and collecting homework. LearnTracFX gives it back to them."

With LearnTracFX teachers can exchange a variety of popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, GIF and JPEG images, and Adobe PDF files. The system resides on a teacher's laptop or desktop computer, and materials are sent wirelessly to each student's Tungsten C device, or beamed via infrared technology built into every palmOne handheld. The teacher- controlled program can be managed by student, class, and subject categories. Students can use the program's Instant Message and eHand Raise functions to signal the teacher and ask questions.

The platform eliminates the need for instructors to first convert files to the handheld format and synchronize them with each student device separately. Instead, LearnTracFX enables instructors to wirelessly exchange files with as few as one or as many as 100 student devices almost instantly. The file- exchange solution also provides the instructor with a verifiable record of exactly what files were transferred to whom and when. The IT staff gets the added benefit of installing a new application to all of the devices at the same time with a click of the mouse, instead of spending hours, or even days, updating each device separately.

"LearnTracFX gives teachers more time to focus on actual instruction," said Chase Weir, founder and chairman of the Readiness Company. "This is especially critical in K-12, where schools are striving to meet the stiff accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind act."

LearnTracFX and LearnTracLIVE, the Readiness Company's advanced and powerful student response solution for Palm Powered(TM) handhelds, also can be purchased separately through the palmOne Store starting this summer.

The palmOne Education Purchase Program gives K-12 schools and universities a way to extend their technology budgets and enable equity among students by offering additional free handhelds for certain levels of purchase. The one- time license from the Readiness Company covers the purchase of 30 or more Tungsten C handhelds, plus the additional free handhelds, and the teacher- controlled LearnTracFX platform.

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400*30=12000 to burn?

Palm Cow @ 6/4/2004 12:23:24 PM #
If your school has 12000 bucks to burn (maybe there's a little discount, but I mean, ugh...), it can go to satan land. Public schools need that kind of cash.

But also, this shows that they're trying to get rid of T|Cs. Maybe a T|C2 is

Chess or Chyes
Palm Cow loves it.

RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
tooele @ 6/4/2004 12:38:30 PM #
I know my school doesn't have $12000 and if they did they would use it to fix up my school. It's really old and needs remodeling and i don't know of any other schools with that kind of money.

RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
T.W.G @ 6/4/2004 12:59:01 PM #

the funniest feature: "and eHand Raise functions "

What the hell is this? Is anybody to shy to raise his/her hands?

Who invents such useless functions...? :)


Palm Powered Handheld Reviews from T.W.G at:

RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
dchev @ 6/4/2004 1:00:54 PM #
>the funniest feature: "and eHand Raise functions "
>What the hell is this? Is anybody to shy to raise his/her hands?
>Who invents such useless functions...? :)

What if its a distance learning classroom (student not physically present)?

There really doesn't seem to be much information available online about the software. Screenshots, etc.

Re: $12k
My understanding is that most such technology purchases are done through federal and state grants and not from the school's own budget. But I'm not a teacher, nor in the education field, so I may be wrong.
Besides, there are some who would argue its important to get technology into the classroom, even if it can't be every classroom all at once. The parent argument against spending money on technology is similar to that used against increasing NASA's budget on the grounds that there are poor people in the US. We have to try new things, despite the existence of economic disparity.

RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
LiveFaith @ 6/4/2004 1:22:58 PM #
Should throw in a Wifi enabled version of Battleship for the ROTC groups.

Pat Horne;
RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
The Black Moose @ 6/4/2004 2:26:02 PM #
It is great to have handheld technology being used like this, but is it not unsettling that for a Wifi situation such as this, the only choice is the Tungsten C? Sony offered hope while they lasted with a better selection of Wifi enabled Clies. If Wifi is going to stay in popularity, Palmone needs to do something about it. The Tungsten C is over a year old now. At least they designed memory, processor, and the screen to stay up to date until now. Lower prices would help too. I would not see it worthwhile to spend $400 on a Tungsten C for my own purposes. Maybe they are up to something. Like someone said, maybe Palmone is attempting to dump a stockpile of Tungsten C PDAs before either a new PDA is released, or the evasive palm OS drivers for a Wifi card become available. If more schools buy into this, that would be good news.
RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
twalk @ 6/4/2004 6:15:53 PM #
Most schools do get grant money for buying technology. If you don't spend it, you lose it. (And $12K isn't a large amount by far for most of these grants.)

In practically every study done so far, the ROI on technology in schools is terrible. Most teachers normally don't integrate them into their class plans. The computers are often in "labs", meaning it's a special trip for a class to go to them. Very little of the educational software is any good, and the "good" software is typically rote-memorization type.

For computers to make the massive improvement in learning that so many feel is possible, would mean that the students would be working in a much more free-form, go at your own pace, learning situation. That's not going to happen in the public education system (for many reasons).

I've promoted the idea of getting PDAs instead of computers for a few years now. Every student can have one, they cost less, they aren't stuck in seperate labs, and they can do double duty as ebook readers and calculators. Give all the kids a folding KB and set up some IR interface printers, and all the word processing stuff is also handled.

Why PalmOne doesn't have dedicated people going to schools selling this idea is beyond me.

RE: 400*30=12000 to burn?
rcartwright @ 6/4/2004 6:30:18 PM #
The merits of the plan notwithstanding, there is no way that Palm is selling T/Cs at retail here. Not when you can buy Dana Wireless for under $400 each. I would bet the sales price is more like $300 maxper unit if not less.

Life is a great adventure or nothing.

Interesting idea

Louis Berk @ 6/6/2004 9:29:48 AM #
As a teacher of IT to secondary school students in the UK I have to say I'm quite attracted to the idea of the use of PDAs for a number of tasks. I also think it would be of benefit to students to own this type of technology.

I recently set one of my classes the task of producing arguments for an against the idea of giving all the students in the school a PDA. Obviously they were attracted to the idea although they did point out some obvious drawbacks including the issues of maintenance, the increased risk of theft and the physical limitations on using the devices for complex homework assignments.

The problem as acknowledged in other posts is cash. It is just simply beyond the budgets of most schools to consider "automating" their students, which is a pity because I think the long term benefits for education and society speak for themselves.

This is a great initiative but unless it is tied into private sponsorship deals or central government funding then I think that for most schools it will be just too expensive compared to other technology initiatives which can reach more students.


RE: Interesting idea
Louis Berk @ 6/6/2004 9:36:13 AM #
Apologies for answering my own post but I am about to start to test Teacher's Pet, which is classroom management software on my Treo 600. I want to see whether it really can replace my paper record books.

If anyone has any experience or tips to pass on I would mind hearing them.


RE: Interesting idea
LanMan @ 6/8/2004 9:45:25 AM #
I've used Teacher's PET exclusively for a couple of years. However, my needs are light as I am a part-time college teacher with only a couple of classes per semester.

Full-time computer network engineer
Part-time computer science teacher
Christian till the end-of-time <><


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