Until recently, everyone assumed that educational computing required desktop computer or their cousins, the full-optioned portable. Since our founding in 1995, we have been exploring less-expensive options: handheld and small portable computers. This technology will soon give students full-time access to computation and wireless connectivity, while expanding where educational computing can take place to the home and field. This is an important equity issue because these computers will provide much of the educational benefit of more expensive computers in an inexpensive format that has many advantages over desktops.
The Concord Consortium is one of the founders of the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) and our contribution has focused on Ubiquitous Computing. The CILT/CC effort focuses on stimulating research, applications, and educational implementations of inexpensive, portable computers.
Our most recent work is focused on probeware for handheld computers. We have developed new probeware software called CCProbe which is built upon the open source CC LabBook System. CCProbe works on Palms and PocketPC handheld computers as well as MacOS, Windows, and Unix desktop operating systems. This work all falls under an umbrella we call CCProbeware. While the initial work is with probeware the CC LabBook system is a powerful system for developing many types of applications for handheld computers.
Earlier our Science Learning in Context project developed practical implementations of probeware and small computers and carefully studied them in several classrooms. Current research involves looking at handhelds equipped with inexpensive probeware in middle school inquiry-based learning. We are also collaborating with the Exploratorium to study the use handhelds and networking to deepen and evaluate the museum learning experience in a project we call the Exploratorium Electronic Guidebook
For more information about ubiquitous computing in education, see the following:
- USight - Our site to meet all your handheld computer needs
- PIE: Palm Applications In Education - Our reviews of software for the Palm OS
- Handhelds Track Student Progress - Small portable computers have the power to change education
- Monday's Lesson - Using a handheld computer as a Field Guide
- Beam Me Up, Scottie! - Handheld computers extend the range of wireless communication in school
- The CILT Ubiquitous Computing Theme