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Introducing PDA's to Your School
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and smartphones, are portable, handheld computers that are used by millions. Also called handhelds, the PDA has the ability to keep track of appointments, do word processing, surf the web, download ebooks, and developers are adding more functions every day. As PDA technology advanced, interest in using the PDA in the classroom grew. Not only do PDAs assist teachers in keeping lesson plans, to do lists, student records, and other data, PDAs are being used by students to help them through the learning process.
Benefits of PDAs in Classrooms
PDAs help students in a variety of ways. Textbooks, homework, special projects, extra credit assignments, and learning software for subjects from English to Geometry, may all be contained in a PDA and used by students. Specialized software is available for the PDA to assist students with disabilities to learn more easily and grow to their potential. PDAs have become an invaluable learning tool for students around the world.
Curriculum & Lesson Plans
As handhelds become widely used in classrooms, more lesson plans are being devised that take full advantage of the PDA's capabilities. Software vendors have developed and continue to develop learning software that encompasses a wide range of subjects and applications. PDAs have the ability to widen a curriculum and enhance lesson plans by keeping data and information at a student's fingertips. Studies also suggest that students perform better and achieve higher grades when a handheld was used during the course of the curriculum.
- Handheld Mania: A variety of lesson plans that include English, science, social studies, and math subjects.
- Software to Work with Palm Devices: A resource list of software available for Palm handhelds. Includes a variety of subjects, including language, social studies, math, science, and fine arts.
- Handheld Software: A resource list of software programs on a variety of educational subjects.
Questions to Ask About PDAs in Your School or Classroom
It is crucial that teachers and school administrators devise a PDA policy before introducing PDAs to the classroom. Usage and financial responsibility policies should be written and given to students and parents. The following issues must be addressed:
- Who will own the handheld?
- Who will be allowed to use them?
- What impact will they have on learning?
- How will staff be trained?
- What type of technology support will be available?
- How will use be evaluated?
- How will the PDA be introduced?
- Will students use it appropriately?
- How will acceptable usage be defined?
- How will passwords be handled?
- Will all students have access?
- Will students be allowed to take the PDA home?
- What happens in case of damage or loss?
Visit the following web sites for more information about using handheld PDAs in the classroom:
- PDA Applications and Resources: A list of available applications and add-ons used to enhance the student learning experience.
- Schools Using Handhelds: A listing of schools using PDAs in the classroom.
- Case Study: How the Avery Coonley School of Downers Grove, IL implemented PDA use into its curriculum.
- Using Handheld Technologies in Schools: A comprehensive resource discussing all aspects of using PDAs in the classroom.
- Wireless PDAs in the Classroom: Advantages and examples of using PDAs in grades k-12.
- Policy Issues: A list of issues to consider before introducing PDAs to the classroom.
- PAW'S Power at Work: Slideshow introduction for students new to using handhelds in the classroom.
- Management: Tips for managing handheld computers in the classroom.
- Learning with Handhelds: The Executive Summary of the Berrien County Michigan School District's implementation of PDAs.
- Handhelds Go to School: Lessons learned while exploring the use of handhelds in the classroom.
- Palm and Pocket PC Handheld Resources: List of handheld resources including a list of free educational software for the PDA.
- Handheld Computers in Schools: One teacher's experience implementing and using handhelds in a high school setting. Includes lots of resources.
- Handheld Policy: Example of a middle school's financial responsibility policy for use with handhelds.
- Using Pocket PCs in the Classroom: The use, care, management, and set up.
- Learning in the 21st Century: Parents' perspectives and priorities about technological advances in education, including the use of PDAs.
- Digital Tools: List of handheld resources, software, lesson plans, and useful facts.
- Handhelds in the Classroom: Where to begin – a list of resources.
- Technology Improves Learning: A case study.
- Using Assistive Technology in the Classroom: Information about the various technological tools available for students, including PDAs.
- Using Handheld Computers in Our Classrooms: A case study conducted at Kansas State University.
- The Next New Thing: Features advantages of using handhelds in the classroom.
- Strategies That Differentiate Instruction in Grades K-4: Explains how technology, including using PDAs in the classroom, promotes the concept of differentiate instruction in the classroom.
- Using Handhelds to Promote Creative Thinking Skills: How handhelds encourage creativity.
- Learning From Handhelds: Findings from classroom research.
- Using Handhelds to Help People With Motor Disabilities: How handhelds assist one facet of the disabled.
- Straight Forward and Deep Effects of Wireless Handheld Devices for Teaching and Learning: A report on the various ways PDAs enhance both teaching and learning.
- Handheld Use in K-12: Describes the use of handhelds at four different Michigan schools.
One area where schools can save money is by using Used Laptops and other refurbished computer equipment in bulk at a discount. Students on a budget can also shop around for refurbished pda's, smartphones, and netbooks.