This is a short presentation on integrating handhelds into the classroom intended for teachers who have some familiarity with handhelds and want to use them more effectively with their students. It also features a list of some of the best freeware available.
Posts Tagged ‘palm’
Palm has announced that their Education Purchase program will end Oct. 31.
If you have recently purchased a volume of Palm handhelds, make sure to get your claim form in asap.
Well, the workshop on “Using Mobile Technology to Differentiate Instruction” that I wrote about earlier is pretty well finished. I’m really happy with the content in it and think this is a great resource for schools using mobile tech and looking for resources.
I’ve structured this in a wiki, and it is intended to be used for either a face-to-face workshop or as an online self-guided learning experience.
This is licensed under a CC BY SA license, so you are free to use it for your own purposes as well.
This is my first attempt at using a wiki to facilitate both a F2F workshop and a self-guided experience. If you go through it, let me know what you think.
This new edition has a lot of new information, including a section on podcasting, which includes tips for using Audacity and information on publishing your podcast. Even if you already have the old edition of this book, it’s worth getting this update. It also includes a new CD with more lessons, software, podcasts, and movies!
After a few hours of reading more about the new Foleo and watching Palm’s video conference on it, here are a few more of my thoughts.
- The Foleo can be used as a standalone device (i.e. without a smartphone). It has built-in WiFi, a USB port, a VGA port, an audio-out jack, and slots for SD and compact flash cards. (There is no hard drive.) I think Palm is purposely under-selling the Foleo’s potential as a low-end laptop, but in fact, that seems to be what it is.
- The price is right. I was expecting more of a UMPC-type device, and at $1,500-2,000, these devices are way too expensive for what they are. However, at $500, the Foleo seems affordable. And you can bet the price will drop over time.
- A drawback of the Foleo is that it is one more device to carry around. How this works for you will probably depend on your personal preferences and how you use different devices now. Personally, for “real work,” a big screen is important to me, as is access to desktop applications. Currently, I use my phone as a wireless modem for my laptop. I have a very small notebook that I love. (For entertainment like music, reading, etc., I prefer mobile devices.) My laptop is 2.8 pounds and has a DVD player, a 40 GB hard drive, and a 1.6 GHz processor. It’s a “real computer” that can boot Windows or Linux, and it’s not a lot bigger than the Foleo. I do like the form factor of the Foleo, though I wish it had a tablet-style flip screen. I think for people who have been able to wean themselves from a laptop and are able to use their smartphone as their mobile computer, the Foleo is a great product. For people like me who still find a laptop indispensable, it’s probably not as relevant. (Maybe I’ll evolve though….:)
- I really like that Palm says they’ll support a variety of devices, including the iPhone. The whole idea of using Linux (although Palm has their own version, which could be a concern) should be to open the device up to developers. As they’ve done in the past, Palm is opening their device and encouraging lots of development. Apple has chosen not to make their devices accessible, and I think that’s a mistake.
- There is apparently no support for old Palm OS apps. (In fact, Palm is reaching out to developers to develop PIM apps.) While this is a little unfortunate, it probably makes sense.
- Is this device relevant to education? It’s hard to say. I’d guess not too much in its first release, but very possibly down the road. If the price comes down to under $300, the processor gets more robust, and some solid educational applications are developed — all of which seems likely — this could be a decent educational laptop. With all the new Web 2.0 apps (and the addition of offline syncing), this could be very powerful. In fact, it could be a step closer to the super-user-friendly, book-type form factor computing device we’ve dreamed of for schools. Of course, we’ll watch what happens with OLPC and the Classmate as well.
All in all, I think this is a good move for Palm.
TCPMP is a great free mobile audio and video player for Palms that we’ve recommended in the past. You may have noticed that the old web page for the TCPMP hasn’t been up lately.
Apparently, like other projects, TCPMP’s CoreCodec group has branched off to create a commercial product. We haven’t evaluated the commerical product yet, but we suspect it has some useful features. (Money coming in tends to help product development.)
If you’d still like to use and download the old free Open Source version though, we now have a link to it on our site that you can use.
If anyone knows more “scoop” on what’s going on with the Open Source version TCPMP (is anyone still maintaining it?), please post your comments.
That aside, this week I worked on a project that used technology to greatly reduce paper use in classrooms. The school already has Palm handhelds for their kids. They use them for brainstorming, research, writing, and assessment, among other things.
They also have a skills-oriented paper-based grammar and mechanics program that they really like, but using it requires making photocopies of hundreds of pages of materials for kids to do short practice exercises and assessments. So the teacher had an idea to put the paper handouts on the handhelds.
Being the tech integrator type that I am, I wanted to get fancier and so explored putting the activities into an assessment program so that they could be automatically scored, etc. In pursuing this, though, it turned out to be more work than it was worth. The activities would have had to been significantly reformatted and in some cases rewritten. In addition, most of the activities were only a few questions, so the benefits of “machine scoring” were trivial. So much for my great idea.
So we went back to just using the handhelds as a way to deliver the handouts. (Believe it or not, we made up paper bubble sheets for them to record their answers on. By consolidating this, we ended up with just 4 pages of paper for each kid vs. a few hundred and save the teacher a ton of time.) Not very technically elegant or innovative, but it worked.
Sometimes, the simple solutions are the best.
The rumor mill about Palm has been whirling wildly the last couple months. I haven’t posted on this, because most of it hasn’t seemed either relevant or likely to materialize.
Yesterday, CEO Ed Colligan announced a new Linux-based OS with product due out by the end of the year. It’s been widely known that this was in the works for the last couple years, so I’m not exactly sure this is “news.” However, Palm’s licensing of Windows Mobile (primarily to pacify enterprise users and cell phone carriers) and then licensing back the Palm OS from Access have muddied the picture.
I listened to Palm’s Analyst and Investor broadcast from April 10. Mostly it was a lot of (long, boring) smartphone market info targeted at investment analysts. I expected it to raise more questions than it answered, but there really wasn’t enough (any?) new info to even raise questions. You’d think from reading the press reports that there was more there. The entire discussion of the Linux-based OS was about 2 minutes (most of which was quoted in the press articles) of the entire 3+ hour presentation.
Not commented on in the above presentation were rumors about the forth-coming clamshell-type handheld/UMPC-type device (which Jeff Hawkins has already leaked). Stay tuned for more info on that.
For the education community, the best things Palm could do is keep producing great handhelds like the Tungsten E2 (schools don’t need an “innovation” every 6 months…we’ve appreciated the stability of the product line over the last year), continue supporting current apps on any new devices (there are hundreds of great educational programs for the Palm OS), and don’t forget the loyal base of educators who have bought and embraced their product over the years.
I enjoyed the enthusiasm of everyone who attended my Palm workshop yesterday.
As promised, here is the Daylight Savings Time patch for Palms.
We covered a lot, but there were so many things we didn’t get to also. Here are some links for you to explore more:
AvantGo (This is the web clipping program I showed to download a variety of web-based resources and htings like the New York Times.)
Plucker (more web clipping – this is the one I use for recipes and Yahoo driving directions.)
….Oh yeah, and how could I forget — the very cool folding SD plus USB card!
I have been working on a large project using handhelds and desktop computers to enhance student writing, and I am more and more convinced that one of the best uses of technology is in the area of writing. For many kids who have struggled with writing in the past, a keyboard can free them up to be successful writers.
Good software is a key as well. This picture is of a wall of Inspiration-generated concept maps. (Teachers will always have bulletin boards.:) Students used Inspiration to generate ideas for a persuasive essay. These concept maps were then converted to outlines that students used to organize their ideas and add details. I’ve seen kids really latch on to the idea of paragraph development using this method. The outlines were then transferred to Word, where kids wrote their persuasive essays.
This process emphasizes the steps of prewriting in a way that is more approachable for kids and makes the actual writing a lot easier. When tasked with writing a 500-700 word essay, kids groaned at the task. After using Inspiration to plan their writing, one little girl said to me “I’m gonna have WAY more than 500 words! Is that ok?” Now that’s the power of technology.:)