How do I get started?
to become familiar with hardware, software, and how schools are
using handhelds. GoKnow's Getting
Started section of their website can help you begin using handhelds
with students. While there, check out their Frequently
Asked Questions. Also, read palmOne's
FAQs. Once you have the handhelds, read Matt Villasana's The
First Weeks of a Handheld Classroom–A Guide for Teachers
did you get the funding for your project?
funding for the handhelds in my school originally came from my
school district. In 2001 district administrators
a "handheld fair" and became excited about what handheld
computers could possibly do for students. As part of research
and development, the district bought my class of fifth graders
a set of Palm™ handheld
computers and keyboards. It was such a successful year, that
in 2002 all three sections of fifth grade at Willowdale began
using handhelds. My school also has a mobile lab of handhelds
for kindergarten through fourth grade. Today my school uses its
own technology funds to support the program.
are some grant resources I complied that may help with funding.
much does it cost?
purchased most of our hardware some time ago. Since technology
is always evolving, I recommend checking what is currently available. Visit learninginhand's Hardware section
for my recommendations of what to purchase. Be sure to take advantage
of the Palm
Educational Purchase Program. Handhelds generally cost around
$200 each (and include charging and synching cables).
Keyboards are priced around $60 each. The good news is most software
free! Here is
a page that lists where to download free applications and a
list of what I use with fifth graders. You should consider purchasing
a site license for GoKnow's Handheld
your students use paper and pencil?
My goal is to teach students, not to create a paperless classroom.
I use the best tools for the job. Some of the time it's the handheld,
other times it's good, old tried-and-true paper!
advice do you have for teachers starting handheld programs
in their classrooms?
hope the resources at learninginhand will help. It's been an
ongoing process for me to compile all of the resources now on
co-authored a book titled Handhelds
for Teachers and Administrators. It introduces the basics
of Palm and Pocket PC handhelds, hardware, software, and funding.
It also shares how teachers, technology coordinators, and administrators
are using handhelds across the United States. Here's a list of
more books about handhelds in education. There's also plenty
of videos online to help you
see how handhelds can be used. Also, check out my management
are the handhelds used for?
have used their handhelds across the curriculum. Here are
some lesson plans that use handhelds. In addition, browse the
different software applications we
use in each subject area and you can get a sense for some of
the things handhelds can be used for.
much are the handhelds used each day?
question is difficult to answer! In a one-to-one environment,
students have their handhelds as a resource all day long. They
other resources that they refer to throughout the school day.
It's difficult to say how much students use handhelds because
one day the class might use it for all subjects and another day
the class may not use them at all. I would venture to
say that students use their handheld computers about 30% of the
do students print?
is PrintBoy software
that allows students to print directly from a Palm handheld to
a printer with an infrared adapter. The adapter is fairly inexpensive,
but the software is $19.99 per handheld, which can add up quickly
with a class set of handhelds. Because of the expense, many students
synchronize their handhelds and then find their file
to print from the desktop computer.
It turns out that students
do not need to print very often, as much of our work is kept
in a digital format.
do you access student work on the handhelds?
may have to turn in their handheld or conference with the teacher
for assessment. The best assessment tool is GoKnow's Handheld
Learning Environment. Students synch their information to GoKnow's
servers on the internet and then the documents can be accessed
from any computer via a secure web page.
you give presentations and conduct workshops?
Yes! In fact, that's how I make a living nowadays! Please email me
for dates and fees. Learn more about my presentations and workshops