Friday, March 14, 2008

Death of the PDA

By Jonathan Nalder, :

A now finished Palm special deal giving away a z22 handheld with every TX handheld sold (see HERE) has been called the beginning of the end for PDA’s. Conducted in February, just shortly after Palm had closed its retail stores, it seems obvious that this special was nothing more than a chance for Palm to clear out unsold stock of the PDA’s it still (obviously) has.

Seeing as only one company has even released new model PDA’s at any time IN THE LAST THREE YEARS!, (HP) it seems pretty obvious that the PDA as a standalone device has long been on its way out.

This is made even more obvious as company that made its name making PDA’s (remember when ‘a Palm’ was as synonomous with handheld computers as ‘a Hoover’ is with vacuum cleaners still ...) starts clearing out stock in this way. Speculation is that they have already stopped production of their TX, z22 and E2.

Perhaps this has been inevitable since the time when smartphone sales picked up. Indeed, my recent pick as my school’s next handheld was a Palm smartphone. What’s sad for Palm is that they are potentially killing off the TX, a large-screened, wi-fi mini-tablet, just as the iPod Touch is showing that there is life for non-smartphone devices that focus on being MID’s (mobile internet devices) rather than just PDA’s.

Oh well. The PDA is dead. Long live the PDA (in other guises).

Let me add however, that for schools, this may all be good news as cheap units start appearing!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My local school districts embrace mLearning

iLearning: Elementary, high school students use Apple devices in IDEA pilot program

HALLSVILLE — Fourteen-year-old Amy Myers does not own an Apple iPhone, but she knows how to work one. Depending on the results of a Hallsville Independent School District pilot program, she might soon get a similar device to aid her education.

Amy is one of about 65 Hallsville High School students and four elementary classes participating in the IDEA (Innovative Devices for Educational Assistance) Pilot Project, which aims to determine whether using personal, handheld computing devices helps students. High school students are using iPod Touches in the project, and elementary students are using iPod Nanos. The project began three weeks ago.

Although the devices have not seen much use in classroom instruction, Myers said teachers have downloaded educational videos and audio recordings to the devices. The downloaded material is assigned as homework, and students must watch and listen before answering a worksheet.
"We like watching movies," said Myers, who credits the technology for a slight increase in her grade in biology class.

Her classmate, Ryan Cole, said one benefit of the recorded lessons is that they can be paused and watched again. He said he can also take notes in classes on the tiny computer.
Mike Stanfield, district technology director, is hoping grade bumps will be seen across the board. Stanfield said if the project produces a noticeable increase in learning and retention, every student could receive an iPod Nano or iPod Touch for educational use.

Stanfield said the pilot project, which has a budget of $100,000, was the result of wanting to expose all students to technology, even if the students cannot purchase the devices themselves. He said the Apple devices were purchased at discounted prices.

Read the rest here->