Entries in pocket pc (35)


New Pocket PC Freeware

Windows MobileLike I said in my last post, there hasn't been much to report in the world of PDAs as manufactures place their emphasis on smartphones instead. Although there's not much new hardware, software continues to be developed for handhelds. Here are some recently released applications (mostly games) for Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile:

  • Arikone - Game where you connect the numbers with a line that cannot cross itself.
  • Color Lines - Classic game where you place five like-colored balls in a row to make them disappear and score points.
  • Delicious Plug In - Quickly bookmark and tag sites for Delcious.com from inside of Internet Explorer Mobile.
  • CapSure - Take photos of what's on the handheld's screen. Great for make how-to slideshows and handouts.
  • Dice - Simple random number generator 1-6.
  • Loan Assist - See how interest rates affect the cost of a loan. Note: Works on WM 3 and might not work on other versions.
  • Miner - A version of Minesweeper for Windows Mobile.
  • Music Trainer - Improve musical score reading and accuracy. Read more about the application.
  • MyEnglishFAQ - Quick reference for the English language, including commonly confused words and irregular verbs.
  • Pocket Uno - Pocket PC version of the card game.
  • Shift - Puzzle game where you move tiles around a board.
  • Skinz Sudoku - Friendly-looking Sudoku number game.
  • Sale Calculator - Figures the final price for percentage-off sales. Students could easily make their own calculator using Excel Mobile.
  • SimpTimer - Display up to six timers on the screen at once.
  • Skype - Free voice calls using Wi-Fi.
  • Taiyoukei - Database for information about the solar system. Includes images.
  • TildeTech Hangman - Simple Hangman game. You can make your own dictionaries of words.
  • Vexed - Puzzle game where you move tiles to make them disappear. Try to make the goal in as few moves as possible. This is one of my favorite puzzle games!
  • WM Screenshot - Another free screenshot program.
  • Word Seeker - Game of concentration with nine words that need to be matched. Words that match can be the same word, a synonym, antonym, or homonym.
  • And if you want to run lots more free software, buy StyleTap to run most all Palm programs, including the ones I mentioned in my previous post.

Pocket PC Apps


Simulate Sites for Mobile Phones and iPods

Nowadays there seems to be three kinds of websites. There are the full websites that you are used to viewing on your desktop or laptop. Then there are mobile versions of sites for cell phones. Mobile sites are created with a minimum amount of graphics, don't require much bandwidth, and can be navigated with a keypad. Additionally, there are sites formatted for the Safari browser on iPhones and iPod touches. These sites are sometimes called web apps and are designed to be used by touching the screen with fingers. Below you can see that CBS News formats its site according to what kind of device you are using to view it.

2 Kinds of Sites

Phone EmulatorNot all sites are programmed to format themselves into these three types of sites. Chances are that the your website is static and does not change no matter what size of screen it is being viewed on. If you'd like to see what a site looks like on a cell phone, you can use the dotMobi Emulator. The emulator is useful for not only checking your own site, but for pages that you might want students to visit on a mobile device.

If you'd like to see what a site or web app looks like on an iPhone or iPod touch, you can use iPhone Tester. iPhone Tester gives you a preview of what the page will look like on a simulated iPhone.

If you'd like a make a site that will function well on a mobile phone, handheld, or iPhone, you should check out Wirenode. It's a free service that allows you to easily create a compact webpage or site that will format itself for the device that's used to access it. Here's a site I made with Wirenode for the 2008 NECC conference. As you can see, Wirenode support text, images, news feeds, and hyperlinks.

Why would you care what your site looks like on a mobile device? Research firm IDC says that 1.3 billion people will connect to the Internet using a mobile phone in 2008. According to the March 2008 Tween & Teen Lifestyle Report, 73% of teens and 26% of tweens own mobile phones. Besides mobile phones, youngsters also often have access to the Web on other portable platforms like Palm handhelds, Sony PSPs and Nintendo DSs. The bottom line is that the Internet isn't just for desktop computers anymore!


Meet the Mobile Web

Mobile DevicesBelieve it or not, more people have access to mobile devices than desktop computers. Many handhelds can access the Internet, including cell phones, Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, Nintendo DS's, and Sony PSPs.

The problem is most websites are not convenient to use on a handheld's small screen. So, many sites provide a mobile version of their content. For example, USA Today provides their current news stories in a simplified format at m.usatoday.com.

USA Today.com and Mobile

In 2006, mobile websites got their own top-level domain name: .mobi. When visiting sites like google.mobi on a mobile device, you know you're receiving content formatted for a handheld. Over half a million sites have been registered as .mobi and many more are on the way. Unfortunately, there remains a variety of ways that a website may format its mobile web address, making it difficult to locate a mobile site (if there is one). Once you find a useful mobile site, be sure to bookmark it!

I've added a section to Learning in Hand to help educators use the Mobile Web. I provide plenty of sample sites and tips for classroom use. Educators might be interested in making their own mobile site, so I've included a page with information about ways to create your own mobile homepage. Many web publishers are creating mobile versions of their sites because more and more people are accessing with web with a handheld.


PoducateMe Podcasting Guide

PoducateMeMicah Ovadia from Ohio has spent more than a year working on his PoducateMe Podcasting Guide. His time was well spent, as the guide is gushing with 186+ pages of information for podcasting in education. One look at the comprehensive Table of Contents and you can see why it took a year to create.

I'm always on the look out for how people define podcasting. Here's PoducateMe's definition:

A podcast is simply a collection of individual audio episodes typically recorded and edited on a computer, encoded in the MP3 file format, then uploaded to a Web server. Users of "podcatcher" software, such as Apple's iTunes, are then able to download episodes from the server to their computer and listen to the recordings on their computers or transfer them to a media player such as an iPod. Because episodes may be listened to at any time and anywhere, a popular analogy is to think of podcasts as TiVo for radio.
I noticed that video is not addressed in the definition. PoducateMe's guide includes some references to enhanced podcasts but none for video podcasts. After reading through more of the guide, you'll understand that audio podcasting can be complicated, simply because of all of the options in hardware, software, and publishing. PoducateMe often suggests alternative solutions to what I generally recommend.

I'll share one new thing I learned from browsing through PoducateMe. I've mentioned SyncTunes before, but it's worth revisiting after reading through Micah's guide. SyncTunes is free software for Macintosh that allows you to automatically sync podcasts (and other audio files) from iTunes to devices other than iPods. What about Windows users? There's BadApple, a free plug-in for the Windows version of iTunes. It's not as slick as SyncTunes, but BadApple allows Windows users to sync iTunes content to any device that mounts as a USB storage device, like Pocket PCs and memory cards.

Another way to automatically sync podcasts to non-iPod players is to skip the use of iTunes all together. myPodder is an alternative "podcatcher" that works with the online Podcast Ready service to automatically deliver podcasts to your desktop computer and portable device. There's even a version of myPodder that runs on Windows Mobile. That means your internet-enabled Pocket PC can subscribe to and receive podcasts without ever syncing to a desktop computer!

There are plenty of other useful bits of podcasting goodness in the guide. While the entire PoducateMe Podcasting Guide can be read online free of charge, it is available as a fully printable 29 MB PDF file for an educational price of $17.95. (The online version cannot be printed and the text cannot be copied.)


2007 Sketchy Animation Contest Winners

The winners of the 2007 Sketchy Animation Contest have been announced! GoKnow says they had over 400 amazing entries. They have posted winners from six categories: Social Studies, Science, Math, Language Arts, Other, and Teacher.

Winning animations include Sound Waves, Ecology Cycle, Nouns, Essay Parts, and Bullies and Me.

Sketchy Contest 2007


Edition 2 of Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators

Handhelds for Teachers BookThe second edition of Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators by Tony Vincent and Janet Caughlin is now available! You might be familiar with the first edition published four years ago. Edition 2 has been completely updated and has an added 50 pages. Besides taking you step-by-step through using Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, iPods, and podcasting, the book gives dozens of examples of classroom use. In fact, the vignettes with teacher lesson idea and their insights into handheld computing is my favorite chapter. There's also a chapter with school administrators telling you all about how they use handhelds to do their jobs better.

The podcasting section is an exciting new addition to the book. It takes you through finding, subscribing, and listening to podcasts in iTunes, on an iPod, a Palm handheld, and Pocket PCs. It even has a tutorial for creating and publishing a podcast using the free Audacity software.

As with all of Janet's Workshop Books, busy educators can pick up Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators and get started right away using their handheld computers. The book's CD-ROM provides useful resources for the tutorials, lesson ideas, and podcasting. There also is this website that has all of the web links mentioned in the book.

Currently Edition 2 is not yet listed on the Tom Snyder website. Call the publisher at 800-342-0236 to order the book. You also order from K12 Handhelds here.

As a shameless promotion for the book, I made a Gizmoz animation of myself telling you about it. You can make your own Gizmoz for free by uploading a photo of yourself and then supplying text or audio.


Free Poetry Resources for You to See

Poetry eBooksK12 Handhelds has made available several poetry curriculum resources for Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, and desktop/laptop computers.

You can download Types of Poetry and Poetry Anthology eBooks. The eBooks are in Mobipocket format and have lots of examples with linked vocabulary words. Mobipocket is a cross-platform eBook reader and you can download it for free. Windows users can even download the free Mobilpocket Creator for making your own cross-platform eBooks. [There are not versions of Mobipocket for Mac and Linux computers--but you can use a Mac to install Mobipocket to a Palm handheld.]

Also available from K12 Handhelds is a Poetry Scavenger Hunt in Microsoft Word format. You can use Palm's Documents To Go or a Pocket PC's Word Mobile to view and complete the scavenger hunt.

Another freebie is a 10-question Poetry Types Quiz in Quizzler format. Quizzler is available for Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, Macintosh, and Windows.

K12 Handhelds also points to additional resources teachers might use, including two great poetry podcasts. The podcasts are from Houghton Mifflin and School Library Journal.

Finally, K12 Handhelds offers a one-page PDF called Poetry Classroom Activities that gives simple and advanced ideas for using these resources. Activities include comparing poems, creating a poetry blog, and highlighting metaphors, similes, and other literary devices in Mobilpocket.

Thanks K12 Handhelds for making these resources freely available!

Screenshots of Resources

Note: Recall my tip in Soft Reset #19... If you are trying to download a file and only weird text shows up in your browser's screen, click your browser's Back button. Then right-click (Mac users can Control-click) and choose "Download Linked File" or "Save Link As..." from the context menu. The file is saved to the desktop. If the file is saved with a .txt extension, click the file name and remove the .txt. Then the downloaded file should have the correct icon and function properly.


2007 Sketchy Animation Contest

Sketchy ScreenshotsGoKnow, the company that makes the Sketchy animation software for Palm handhelds and Pocket PCs (45-day free trial), has announced its fourth annual Sketchy Contest:

Do you use Sketchy in the classroom? Do you know a budding artist that uses Sketchy to convey educational concepts? We're announcing our 4th Annual Sketchy contest, and we hope you will participate. In past years we have received hundreds of Sketchys from all over the world. This year's contest will be even bigger and better!

Last year, as well as subject area categories, we introduced the new "Teacher" category for all you teachers to get in on the fun and we're glad to have it back! Prizes you ask? 1st place finishers will receive a special 1 GB iPod Shuffle. Digital Cameras are on hand for all 2nd place finishers, and 3rd place secures a new addition to our prizes: the Pocket Mind Reader! Numerous honorable mention certificates will be provided for those who have their Sketchys posted on the Web.

Please visit http://www.goknow.com/sketchycontest to view the official flyer and rules. You can also view previous winning Sketchy animations.

Please direct any questions to sketchycontest@goknow.com.
The deadline to submit entries is May 25th, 2007.

Thanks for your interest in Sketchy, and happy animating!
The GoKnow Sketchy Contest Team


Save & Convert YouTube Videos

Perhaps you checked out the video I posted yesterday. It's hosted on YouTube, the free video sharing service owned by Google. YouTube offers no way to download video as they'd prefer you to visit their website each and every time you want to view a movie. If you do manage to download the video to your desktop, YouTube videos are in Adobe Flash format (.flv), which requires special software for playback.

There is software that will download and covert YouTube videos for you. YouTube to iPod Converter is free for Windows users and PodTube is $5 for Mac users. Or, for $15 Windows or Mac users can use TubeSock. Whatever software program you use, you simply paste the web address of the YouTube video you wish to download. The software will pull the video from YouTube's site and then convert it into a friendlier format of your choosing. I prefer videos to be in MPEG-4 format because then I can play them in QuickTime, on an iPod or PSP, or in The Core Pocket Media Player (free) for Palm or Pocket PC.

If you don't want to mess with software, you can use the online service Vixy.net. Like the software options above, you paste the YouTube URL into Vixy's web page. Vixy will convert the video for you and then save it to your desktop--no software required. Don't be fooled by the option that says MPEG-4 for iPod/PSP. Even if you're viewing on a Palm, Pocket PC, or desktop computer, that's your best option. It does take a while for Vixy's servers to convert your video, but you can't beat the price and convenience.


Daylight Savings Time Updates

Clocks will be "springing forward" a few weeks earlier this year thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada will observe Daylight Savings Time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. This poses a problem for computers, as they are expecting to adjust their clocks in April and October. Companies are putting out updates so that their operating systems will move their clocks forward and backward on the correct dates.

Palm has issued a Daylight Saving Time Updater for it's Palm OS and Windows Mobile handhelds and smartphones. In a classroom full of handhelds, I suggest syncing the DSTUpdater.prc file to one handheld. and beaming it around to all of the other handhelds. Once launched, it's a very quick install. Note: If an updated handheld is hard reset, then the DSTUpdater will need to be installed and run again. This will probably need to be done each fall after handhelds are reset for the new school year.

Microsoft has information about updating Pocket PCs with Windows Mobile here. Desktop computers may need to be updated as well. Here is information for Windows users and Macintosh users.

If you don't update your system for the new Daylight Savings Time rules, it's not the end of the world. You can always manually adjust your computer's clock. Unfortunately, that will involve adjusting your clock up to four times a year. You can manually change the time in March and November and your computer may make annoying changes in April and October (following the old rules).

Despite the confusion it causes, Daylight Saving Time is a great topic for students to explore various science and social studies concepts. Investigating Daylight is a great lesson plan from Microsoft and Daylight Savings Time from WebExhibits is a great resource for students.


Bits & Pieces

It's time again to list many of items that are piling up in my inbox and in my Bloglines feeds. There's a little something for everyone: Palm, Pocket PC, iPod, Mobile Phone, PSP, and podcasting users...

There's a new Google Maps application for Windows Mobile. It's also available for Palm OS. It requires an Internet connection.

Some Australian schools are using the Nova5000 with students. Read about their experiences in the NOVA5000 Australian Trials blog.

Some U.K. schools are using PSP (PlayStation Portables) in classrooms. Read about their experiences in the PSPTeachers blog. They are using the PSP's WiFi connection to deliver RSS feeds to the students. Be sure to check out their cool charging and storage cart. Click on over to this article from Popular Science to learn how to read eBooks and watch videos on a PSP.

Doug Hyde is a library-media specialist at a Wisconsin middle school. His blog, Classroom in Your Pocket, has a useful post about showing video from an iPod on a television or projector.

Karen Fasimpaur wrote about PocketPicture, a great paint program for Windows Mobile. It's free!

The Podcasts for Educators Weblog has a post titled evaluating podcasts. It links to a PDF file for evaluating podcasts for teaching and learning. In the future, the blog will be publishing an evaluation for students and young people to use. Also at the weblog, learn about podcasting through their Online Learning Studio.

Leonard Low posted his Top 10 Freeware Apps for M-Learning on his Mobile Learning blog. His suggestions focus on mobile phones and Windows Mobile devices.

Rolly Maiquez has a couple of blog posts you might want to check out: Useful Palm Handhelds and Language Arts Curriculum Integration Links and Funding Links.

Lynn Lary points to curriculum resources for a interesting lessons using MIT's free participatory simulations for Palm handhelds. Included are materials and handouts for a unit called "Future CSI" and a unit about the Big Fish-Little Fish simulation.

Those of you who are Windows, Palm, and iPod users may be interested in Palm2iPod that sends your contacts and calendar from Palm Desktop to your iPod.

Here are several new freeware applications for the Palm OS:

  • SequenceM: Sequencing application for elementary classrooms.
  • ClipExtend: Bypass the 1000 character clipboard limit so you can copy and paste larger amounts of text.
  • HealthCalc: Calculate BMI, body fat, heart rate zones, and more.
  • Pepe Palm Chat: Send text back and forth through infrared.
  • Checklist by Paper Trail Software: Create and manipulate checklists.
  • Dekses: Puzzle game where you follow the right number order and move the digits to their correct places.
  • Target: Game where you make words out of a 3x3 grid of nine letters.
  • tejpWriter: Word processor with a surprising number of features. I like that it can export to HTML. The applications is a little buggy, though.
  • SimpleChart: Plot up to three columns of data.
  • Subscribe to Palm Freeware's RSS feed.
  • Dale Ehrhart has produced many free educational applications. Read about them on his Pre-Service Teacher blog.
And here are some freeware applications for Windows Mobile:

  • Hubdog: Read news feeds and subscribe to podcasts on your Pocket PC.
  • Free PDA Keyboard: Full screen keyboard for easier text entry.
  • Pocket Notes: Notebook program with different pen sizes and colors.
  • Subscribe to Pocket PC Freeware's RSS feed.


Learning2Go Phase 2 Report

Learning2Go ReportThere's more evidence that handhelds improve student learning. Wolverhampton's Learning 2 Go partnership in the United Kingdom released a report at the end of 2006. The 46-page End of Phase 2 Report is full of notable facts, figures, charts, and recommendations:

  • The number of schools in the Learning 2 Go project expanded dramatically in Phase 2, the academic year 2005-2006, from approximately ninety handheld devices in use to over a thousand.
  • Handhelds are not the not 'magic answer' but effective use is conditional on other aspects of effective teaching, class management, as well as school culture.
  • In general progress is not so good [in secondary schools] and baseline achievement has not yet been established by all schools.
  • There is almost no evidence of distraction from established learning approaches caused by devices as feared by some teachers.
  • Attendance at school appears to be significantly improved, certainly in Primary schools, which was notable against the general trend across the Authority [school district]. Attendance for boys was shown to be more improved than for girls.
  • There was evidence that a school's ability to manage innovation and change at the highest levels was critical to success.
  • Year 6 students achieved 5 percentage point increase in science, 3.5 increase in math, and -1 point increase in English. No explanation is available for the English outcomes, but the report offers further insights.
  • Mini-Computers Bring Test Boost was published by BBC News and briefly shares some of the report's results. Dave Whyley from the project is quoted, "Attendance figures have gone up. We're also seeing boys switched on to reading. They like e-books. One boy read his e-book until his battery went flat on his PDA at night."
  • The report includes lots more information, including examples of what students and teachers are doing with their handhelds, parent reactions, technical issues, and much data analysis.
  • The key message for all audiences remains that unless current PDAs and software are implemented with a well prepared and structured support framework; then the successes seen in the Wolverhampton project will not be realised.
With the success of the partnership, we can look forward to more reports and resources from Learning 2 Go. Something we do know from research is that achievement gains do not come until a teacher's second year of handheld implementation. For more sources of research and studies, visit the Research Web Links page.