Handheld Computer Articles

High-tech tools reduce paperwork, allow more time for teaching

By Deborah Benedetti and Amy Neil, March 23, 2005, Penn State University

Special education teachers in Pennsylvania regularly monitor their students' progress in learning how to read, write, do math and much more. The monitoring process is critical to helping students succeed in the classroom and in life. However, the process is time consuming for teachers, and it focuses their efforts away from the students. Soon teachers and others who work with students with disabilities will have a new tool to help them simplify and speed up monitoring of student progress, so they can spend more time teaching.

Will Ubiquitous Computing Improve Education?

By Andy Zucker

In 2002, Maine began the world's largest school laptop program, providing Apple iBooks with wireless Internet connections to 34,000 grade 7 and 8 public school students and teachers. Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, and Vermont have pilot laptop programs, and dozens of schools and districts in other states support one-to-one computing.

Any Computer, Any Interface, Any Curriculum

By Carolyn Staudt

Fifth-grade science was different last year for Mrs. Rivera. Each year her students build terrariums and grow "fast plants" in them. Last year, for the first time, her students monitored the humidity, temperature, and pH sensors inside their terrariums while they studied the growth of their fast plants. As a result of this extensive data collection, students graphed and analyzed the differences between terrariums, which sparked further questions and experimentation. Mrs. Rivera had purchased sensors that functioned on desktop computers in the local computer lab. Little did she know that her school district would soon adopt a specific kit-based, standards-based curriculum for science that encouraged students to study various environments-inside and outside the classroom-in urban and field settings, around streams and rivers, and within homes.

Unlocking the learning value of wireless mobile devices

J. Roschelle, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2003) 19(3), 260-272.

Many researchers see the potential of wireless mobile learning devices to achieve large-scale impact on learning because of portability, low cost, and communications features. This enthusiasm is shared but the lessons drawn from three well-documented uses of connected handheld devices in education lead towards challenges ahead. First, 'wireless, mobile learning' is an imprecise description of what it takes to connect learners and their devices together in a productive manner. Research needs to arrive at a more precise understanding of the attributes of wireless networking that meet acclaimed pedagogical requirements and desires. Second, 'pedagogical applications' are often led down the wrong road by complex views of technology and simplistic views of social practices. Further research is needed that tells the story of rich pedagogical practice arising out of simple wireless and mobile technologies. Third, 'large scale' impact depends on the extent to which a common platform, that meets the requirements of pedagogically rich applications, becomes available. At the moment 'wireless mobile technologies for education' are incredibly diverse and incompatible; to achieve scale, a strong vision will be needed to lead to standardisation, overcoming the tendency to marketplace fragmentation.

Beam Me Up, Scottie! Handheld computers extend the range of wireless communication in schools

Stephen Bannasch, Head of Technology, Concord Consortium

Small handheld computers are becoming both more powerful and less expensive. Consider this: the cheapest handheld models, currently priced at $150 to $600, are similar in computing power to a 1988 vintage Mac. (Of course that Mac didn't run for weeks on a couple of AAA batteries.) By combining much of the computing power of a desktop system with the portability of a graphing calculator, handhelds could become the first truly personal computer used by students both in and out of school.
http://www.concord. org/newsletter/2000fall/beam.html

The Handheld Computer as Field Guide

Barbara Tinker, Carolyn Staudt, and Dick Walton, Concord Consortium

Handheld computers allow students to process more of their work in the field, closer to their immediate observations. Powerful software programs have recently become available that make these portable tools ideal companions for fieldwork. Although field guides have traditionally been used to study the natural world, they can easily be adapted to human-built neighborhoods, as the questions are not really very different: "Who lives here?" "Where and how do they live?" "What behaviors can we observe?" "What changes do we see?" Assisted by these tools, students can assemble a rich set of data about life in their own back yard, becoming local area experts-in-the-making. Local field guides can even become a legacy from one classroom to the next. More important, projects such as this help students discover real-life connections for their study of mathematics and science.
http:// www.concord.org/newsletter/2002winter/monday_lesson.html

Handheld Computing for Educational Leaders: A Tool for Organizing or Empowerment

David Pownell, Gerald D. Bailey, Published in

Electronic School.com Copyright © 2001, National School Boards Association. Electronic School is an editorially independent publication of the National School Boards Association.

Every so often a new technology comes along that challenges our thoughts about what technology is supposed to be. Handheld computers, we predict, are the next machines that will change the face of our everyday lives. Already common in the business world, these tiny devices are just now being introduced into schools. Technology leaders need to think deeply and systematically about how this new technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning.

In the past, educational technology has been littered with failures - - software that did not produce, computer labs infected with what author and consultant Jamieson McKenzie calls "screen saver disease," and curricula that ignored the potential of technology. But there have also been many successes - - schools that give teachers the technical and curricular support they need, students who use technology to practice information literacy and develop authentic products, administrators who give needed support for technology, and communities that value and support the school programs.
http://www. electronic-school.com/2001/06/0601handhelds.html

Handhelds Track Student Progress: Instant Feedback Through Beaming Identifies Student Misconceptions

Carolyn Staudt, Concord Consortium

While the first handheld computers lacked educational support, the new generation of handhelds now emerging are smaller, more powerful, and have educational applications in all subject areas. Their potential to improve education is so significant, we call them "equity computers": low-cost computers that can open the door for all students, regardless of circumstances, to quality education.
http://www. concord.org/newsletter/2002winter/handhelds.html

The Future of Handheld Computers in Education: A conversation with Palm, Inc.

Mike Lorion, Vice President for Education at Palm, Inc. and Carolyn Staudt, Concord Consortium

Through her research at The Concord Consortium, Carolyn Staudt has become excited about the educational uses of handheld computers. She spoke with Mike Lorion, Vice President for Education at Palm, Inc., about the future of handhelds in the classroom and some of the challenges ahead.
http:/ /www.concord.org/newsletter/2000fall/futureofhandhelds.html

Computing on the Run: Some thoughts on portable computing

Jon "Hannibal" Stokes, Senior CPU Editor of 'Ars Technica'

For the longest time, I actively resisted being sucked into the world of portable gadgetry, preferring to spend what little cash that came my way on upgrades for my home PC. I was especially determined not to own one of those infernal Palm Pilots. Too many of my friends have already been assimilated; any time you ask them their last name they have to whip that thing out of its hip holster like some yuppie Doc Holiday and vigorously tap away. It seemed to me that if man has gotten along for this many millennia without palmtops, we ought not be so utterly dependent on them now.
Then somebody offered to give me a Palm III.
http://www. arstechnica.com/wankerdesk/3q99/portable-1.html

The Electronic Curator: Using a Handheld Computer at the Exploratorium

Stephen Bannasch, Head of Technology, Concord Consortium

Consider this: a successful museum exhibit draws a museum- goer's attention for only two minutes; many visitors spend even less time. A hands-on interactive exhibit, on the other hand, might encourage visitors to spend a great deal more time than two minutes exploring a math or science phenomena.
http: //www.concord.org/newsletter/1999fall/electronic-curator.html

Reconciling Conflicting Evidence: Researchers use models and handhelds to investigate how students learn science

Carolyn Staudt and Paul Horowitz, Concord Consortium

What happens when a student's mental models do not agree with her observations, such as when a phenomenon observed in one situation fails to repeat itself on a larger scale? Does that mean all models are wrong, or are they just too simple to describe the complex situations that students face on a daily basis? To study this question, our Data and Models project is purposefully creating such conflicts for students in order to look at the interplay of theory and experiment and to develop strategies for dealing with it.
http://www. concord.org/newsletter/2001spring/evidence.html

The Whole World in Their Hands

Robert Tinker, President Concord Consortium

Information technologies have the potential to make huge improvements in education over the next decade as they reshape society and create new learning opportunities. Whether this potential will be realized for all students depends on the ability of education to reinvent itself at the local level. In this paper, I will briefly examine the impact of networking on learning in general and science education in particular. Then I will ask how these new resources will influence the educational system and its ability to reach all students.
http://www.ed.gov/ Technology/Futures/tinker.html

Designing Handheld Technologies for Kids

Kori M. Inkpen, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University

Computers are becoming an important tool in learning environments, however, chidren's access to computer technology is often limited. Computers are commonly placed at the back of the classroom or in a separate computer lab. At home, if computers are available, they are often found in a home-office or another communal area. In both cases, the physical location of the computers is separate from many places where children's activities and learning occur. Flexible access to technology will provide tools to help children construct knowledge throughout their daily activities.
http: //www.cs.sfu.ca/people/Faculty/inkpen/Papers/hcscw_inkpen.pdf

A Computer in the Palms of Their Hands

Kate Crawford, University of Sydney, Carolyn Staudt, Concord Consortium

Schools are under new pressures to prepare young people for a world in which human activity involves more creative and diverse forms of social expression, critical evaluation, negotiation and problem solving. In order to successfully realize these new community expectations, schools must be able to use new information and communication technologies to their advantage.
http://www. concord.org/library/1999fall/palm-computer.html