How to best use Palm Pilots in the classroom?

There is an available grant in my district that includes a class set of PDAs, a new computer (my computer has a Pentium 90 in it), a new laser printer, and a thousand dollars to buy Palm software. To get the grant, all I have to come up with is a brilliant way to use all that.

The problem is that I don’t know that much about PDAs, never having bought one. I was hoping Dopers could answer some questions I have and then suggest cool, cutting edge, creative uses for the PDA that never would occur to me: I want to wow the selection committee with something more intriguing that just “they could read e-books”

For the record, I teach Junior English (American Lit) , both regular and AP. Next year I will also be coaching Academic Decathlon.

  1. I already have a class message board (Gee, wonder why I like message boards?). With the infrared thingamabobs, could students post directly to the class message board from class? Could they email stuff to themselves from their seat to refine and post later? Can they “sinc” from their seats?

  2. I play many competitive games. If two teams are working on a multiple choice thing, could both sides beam their answers into an excel spreadsheet (or into something I could cut and paste into an excel spreadsheet?)

From Palm

Read first-hand accounts of how schools like yours have successfully implemented handhelds by palmOne. Education snapshots offer a glance of creative ideas for implementation. The Handheld Educator gives you curriculum ideas, tips, techniques, and more.

I work in an education setting in the technology field. We have looked at getting PDA’s for our PC Networking class and even got a Compaq I-Paq (Pocket PC) to experiment with. The idea was to see if we could get a good wirless connection established with the PDA so that students could use it as a reference tool and administration could use it to access our student information system while on the move in the building.

The problem we ran into was that the wireless connection was spotty at best, and that if students wanted to reference matierial on the web, they would simply use a desktop PC.

Personally, I love my Palm Tungsten T3. It keeps me very organized and has some tools that I find very valuable, but those tools are mainly that which you would use a personal organizer for: Datebook/Calendar, Address book, To do list, and personal notes to myself. Everthing else is just icing on the cake after that and really doesn’t have much educational value. Sure there is a voice recorder that you could use for recording lessons and lectures, but you could just as easily do that with a hand held tape recorder at much less expense. So I would say that you have your work cut out for you in finding a creative way to use a PDA in an educational setting.

Doing a search on Google for, “Palm OS education software” did yield some results including:
http://pie.concord.org/index.php3?PALM_Session=ba9639d0c39a974035f115cf84d0432a
http://palm.hice-dev.org/
http://www.palmpilotarchives.com/education.html

So hopefully those links will be of some use to you. Let us know what you end up doing with this.

Also, be certain to refer to them by the generic product name rather than a really dated brand name.

Thanks. I have been perusing websites and will use the links. : I just wondered if any dopers had any wacky, stand out ideas.

1)The grant specifies Palms–there is no flexibility there.

  1. I was having nightmares sbout 50 posts worth of jokes about Public Displays of Affection in the classroom. Don’t you know this board?