Please Supply a Caption!

We all know him. We all love him. Dr. Elliot Soloway is the person who has done the most to advocate for handhelds in classrooms. You can see him in this video. My trip to Philadelphia was sponsored by Dr. Soloway's company, GoKnow. GoKnow has great software for using Palm and Pocket PC handhelds in classrooms like Sketchy, FlingIt, iKWL, and Cells.

As I was spending time at GoKnow's booth at the NECC conference, I couldn't resist taking a photo of this handheld hero. You can see Dr. Soloway pictured below. Let's have some fun and brainstorm captions for the photo. Please leave a witty caption in a comment!

Give this photo a caption!



NECC Student Interview

Mill Creek StudentsJulie, Tori, and Lauren, soon to be seventh graders from Mill Creek Elementary School in Warrington, Pennsylvania, used their handhelds for every subject. They took a train to Philadelphia for NECC today to present a poster session. These fine students in Jason Jaffe’s classroom have made terrific Sketchy animations. In fact, their animations placed in the 2004-2005 GoKnow Sketchy Animation Contest! They stopped by to visit me at the GoKnow booth Tuesday to get a free (and orange) stylus/pen.

I interviewed Julie, Tori, and Lauren and recorded two minutes of it using my LifeDrive. I think my handheld made a pretty good recording; however, NECC’s exhibit hall is very noisy, so there’s lots of background noise. Anyhow, click here to listen to an MP3 file and hear what Jason Jaffe’s students have to say about using handhelds. If you use handheld with students, what they say probably sounds very familiar.

Click here to listen.



Bits & Pieces

Teacher with HandheldHere are some quick items for you...

Enter to win a free Tungsten E2 Educational Started Pack from the Palm Store for Educators. Simply enter your name, institution, and email for a chance to win six handhelds with wireless keyboards, six 128MB expansion cards, and more! Enter by July 31. The winning name will be drawn on or around August 8.

Inspiration has released its concept mapping (they call it "visual learning") software for Pocket PC handhelds. It requires Windows Mobile 2003 or later and 3MB of available memory. You can download a free 30-day trial.

Google has added a new feature to their specialized search page for mobile users. It allows you to restrict your search to pages that are specifically designed for mobile phones and handhelds. Mobile Web Search can be helpful in finding sites that work well with web viewers like FlingIt or Plucker. It's also great if you are browsing the web on your handheld using WiFi.

PillyBurbs.com has a story titled, "Students Get Wet in Creek Study". Seventh graders studied and measured a local creek. Using science probes attached to handhelds, students received, recorded, and analyzed real-time data. Thirty-five handhelds were part of Palisades Middle School's grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. According to the article, the project had to be developed from scratch and "the end result was a thick packet of worksheets for the students to complete, starting with vocabulary definitions of watershed-related terms and continuing to explain what a watershed is, what kind of life can be found there, and more." It sounds to me that the 35 handhelds could have certainly been used for these tasks instead of piles of worksheets! Maybe next year they'll get even more use from their handheld computers!

TeachLEARNING has an article by Sheetal Singh called "Mobile Managers". It's a brief guide to software and hardware that school administrators might find handy and includes Palm and Pocket PC suggestions.

If you are perhaps looking to purchase a couple of handhelds or some accessories, you should try registering for Adopt-A-Classroom. If your classroom becomes sponsored, you will have $500 to spend on classroom supplies!



I'll be at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Philadelphia next week. You can find me at GoKnow's booth (#430) at the dates and times listed below. If you're going to be at the conference, please stop by! I'd love to meet you and answer any questions you might have about handheld computing. I'll have my handheld filled with great stuff to beam you! In fact, mention my blog and I'll give you a really cool (and really orange) stylus/pen! If you've been to one of my workshops, you know how popular this combination stylus and pen really is!

Visit Tony at NECC!

If you are attending the conference, here's a great listing of all handheld sessions and activities. I'm going to have a hard time deciding which sessions to attend! Whatever sessions I do decide on, I will be blogging about my experiences from NECC. I hope to learn lots of new stuff and share it with you. So if you can't make it to the conference, check back here to read the blog.

Other conference attendees will be blogging from the conference too. Check out their blogs on this page. Also, Apple Distinguished Educators will be having a "podcasting marathon" that you can hear by going to www.iste.org/necc/podcasting.

Whether you actually travel to Philadelphia or you simply read and/or listen to those who do attend, I hope you enjoy the largest annual education technology conference!

Very Orange Stylus/Pen



New Blog Look & Features

As you can see, I've made some changes to my blog. Up until now, I have used KidzLog software to publish this blog. While KidzLog is easy to use, it does not allow for readers to add comments. I've switched to Blogger (I will continue to use KidzLog for the weblogs at my elementary school, however). With the new set-up through Blogger, I can include more than one image per post. In addition, I can post from any computer, not just the one I have the software loaded on. The best new feature is that now you (yes, you!) can make comments on my blog posts! There are talented educators who read this blog regularly and I want everyone to be able to read what they have to say. So please, feel free to add information, critique, correct, question, or agree with any of my posts! Add your comments by clicking the orange link at the end of a post. Read any comments by clicking the date of the post.

The nearly 100 blog posts I made beginning in October 2004 will continue to be archived. Just click on the links at the right. Don't forget you can search learninginhand, including all blog posts. Also, for those of you who subscribe to the blog, there is a new RSS feed. It's http://feeds.feedburner.com/learninginhand.


Software Updates

Brian Shau has updated two Palm applications. Angles v1r4 now includes an option to include or not include reflex angles (which are angles that are greater than 180 degrees). Also, GoneMad! v1r5 fixes several bugs and includes a keyword help menu. To update your software, simply install. The new versions will replace the older versions.

In fact, it never occurs to many handheld users to update their software. Updating is important because programmers often fix bugs that may be making your handheld crash. Also, updates usually contain great new features, bug fixes, and compatibility with the newest hardware. Quizzler 4.0, eReader 2.6.1, Idea Pad 3.1, and FlingIt 2.7 are some freeware Palm OS titles that educators often use and have been updated recently. To see what version you are using, choose Info from the File menu from the Palm’s home screen.


Animation Gallery

Sketchy ExamplesI've finally got around to posting many of the great Sketchy animations I've recently collected from students and teachers. learninginhand's Sketchy Animation Gallery now includes 20 animation examples. The gallery contains some great uses of GoKnow's Sketchy software. There are examples of showing the definition of a word, solving a math problem, retelling a story, illustrating a process, communicating facts, and more. You're probably wondering how I was able take these animation off the handhelds and put them on the web I used GoKnow's Palm Archive and Application Manager (a.k.a. PAAM). It's part of their Handheld Learning Environment and makes it possible to synchronize your handheld to a website. Then you can access many kinds of handheld documents through the PAAM website, like Sketchy animations. You can download these animations as GIFs. The animated GIFs can be used in slide show applications like PowerPoint or put into web pages. There are more Sketchy animation examples online. Check out GoKnow's 2004-2005 Sketchy Contest Winners. By the way, Sketchy is available for Palm and Pocket PC.



The George Lucas Education Foundation publishes the very glossy magazine Edutopia: The New World of Learning. I've subscribed since the first issue, and really enjoy it. It's about teaching and learning in today's schools. In the current issue, #5, Edutopia addresses two of my favorite topics: podcasting and blogging. Edutopia is about much more than technology, though you're bound to find great articles about handheld computing within its pages. The magazine has a great layout, is very colorful, entertaining, inspiring, and super informative. In fact, back in the Fall 2003 issue (from before Edutopia became a bimonthly publication), there was an article titled "The Write Stuff" about using handhelds for improving writing. The George Lucas Education Foundation also has a great website, full of videos, links, and great ideas.

Oh, and you can subscribe to Edutopia for free! Just click here to subscribe.


100% of Homework Turned In On Time!

There's yet another newspaper article featuring the use of handheld computers in a school. This one is from Pennsylvania. Twenty eighth-graders at White Oak's St. Angela Merici School used Zire 72s and wireless keyboards for learning. The handhelds were purchased with funds through a $10,000 grant awarded to teachers Diane Johnston and Judi Butler. They started using them this last school year and have seen great results. In fact, according to the article, "Johnston said she saw a dramatic increase in the number of assignments completed on time as a result of the program." Before using handhelds, about 75 percent of student work was turned in on time. But when students used handhelds for assignments, 100 percent of students turned their homework in on time. Wowzers!

Read the article "Students Hold Learning Keys in the Palm of Their Hands" from the McKeesport Daily News.


Finding Podcasts

Now that you might have a break over the summer months, it's a great time to check out some podcasts. Remember, you don't need an iPod, MP3 player, or a handheld computer to listen to podcasts—you can listen from the comfort of your desktop or laptop computer. Where can you find podcasts for your listening pleasure? Podcast Alley! Podcast Alley is the place to browse, search, and listen to over 3,300 podcasts. How you do know which ones to listen to? Podcast Alley ranks podcasts based on votes placed on its website. So, the more votes a podcast has, the higher on the list it will be. Also, Podcast Alley allows you to listen to any podcast without even leaving the Podcast Alley site. I hope you can find some time to browse and search Podcast Alley. Check out the Education podcasts, but also find some that interest you on a personal level.

Speaking of podcasts, Radio WillowWeb has wrapped up production for the 2004-2005 school year with Willowcast #8. This podcast is a short one about summer. It's by fourth and fifth graders that worked with me before school in Willowdale Elementary's WillowWeb Club. If you enjoy Radio WillowWeb, please considering voting for it at Podcast Alley (click the Vote Now! link on this page). We'd love to get more people listening to our Willowcasts, and accumulating votes will help Radio WillowWeb rise toward the top of the Education podcasts page. Also, you're not limited to vote for just one podcast—so please vote for all podcasts you'd recommend to others. The voting is reset each month, so vote monthly.

A wonderful resource for educational podcasts is David Warlick's experimental podcast directory called The Educational Podcast Network. There's not a whole lot of podcasts there, yet, but David's adding new programs just about every day!


June 2005's Education in Hand

There's a new issue of District Administration's supplement, Education in Hand, sponsored by palmOne. June 2005's issue features Maryland's Montgomery County Schools and their use of Wireless Generation's reading diagnostic software. Page ten goes hour-by-hour showing how teachers can use their handhelds for a variety of tasks. Do you use your handheld as much? Well, at least teachers can relate to entering grades at 8:30PM! An hour-by-hour listing for administrators in on page 19. Writing a grant or need to justify funding of handhelds? Then check out page 24, "NCLB and IDEA Support Handheld Learning." There's also the "2005 Solutions Product Guide," and of course, lots of advertisements for palmOne's line of handhelds. This issue contains information on the new Tungsten E2 and LifeDrive. Although Education in Hand's articles are pretty good, I actually enjoy looking through the ads to see what new hardware and software is available. I'm glad that this publication can now be downloaded as a PDF, since the PDF contains everything in the print version, including those colorful advertisements and product placements.



I've had my palmOne LifeDrive for a week now. It's palmOne's newest handheld (they prefer you can it a "Mobile Manager"). What's special about this handheld is that it has two types of wireless connectivity: Bluetooth and WiFi. Something else that is special is that is has a built-in 4 gigabyte hard drive. It doesn't seem long ago that I was amazed at the 16 megabyte storage capacity of my m515. Anyhow, the built in drive is really like having a 4 gig expansion card always inserted. The LifeDrive has a main memory, like other palmOne handhelds, that is separate from the hard drive memory. It's a little confusing knowing where your applications and documents are because of this partition.

The WiFi is great for using Quick News. My LifeDrive automatically checks for updated RSS feeds and downloads them using my home wireless network. Quick News also automatically checks for and downloads new podcasts. I can play these mp3 podcast files using the bundled Pocket Tunes software.

Something else that is great: video. I really like the LifeDrive's longer screen. I've converted many of my students' videos into the MPEG-4 video format and copied them onto my LifeDrive. I've also made copies of some of my favorite movies I have on DVD (using HandBrake for Mac OS X) and saved them in the MPEG-4 format on the LifeDrive. The included Media application won't play MPEG-4 (or other video formats that I like), so I installed the free The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP for short). TCPMP doesn't have a fancy interface, but it plays just about any video format I can throw at it. It really is as simple as connecting the LifeDrive to the computer and then copying the video file to the hard drive.

The bad news is that my LifeDrive crashes at least twice a day. I don't lose any information, but I find myself a Diet Coke while it takes at least three minutes to restart. Yes, three minutes! This would be no good in a classroom - a student with extra time on their hands waiting for a computer to reboot is a recipe for trouble. As I read reviews of the LifeDrive, I'm not the only one experiencing the frequent crashes and long restarts. I hope palmOne is able to correct this problem, as I plan to move out of my Tungsten C and into my shiny, new LifeDrive. I just don't know if I can handle that much caffeine...

Page 1 ... 32 33 34 35 36