Teacher Tap


Handheld Devices in the Classroom

What's the difference between Palms, Handsprings, and other hand held devices?

How can I integrate a GPS device into my classroom?

What's geocaching?

handheld boyHand-held devices are rapidly becoming a common technology at work, school, and play. There are many different handheld devices. Explore the following links on this page:

PDAs - Personal Digital Assistant by companies such as Palm share the same operating system called the Palm OS. You can download free and inexpensive software for your Palm OS from the Internet. You can "hot sync" your PDA with your computer and they work together as a great team.

An increasing number of applications are being developed for educational administrators, teachers, and students. Because they are inexpensive when compared to laptop computers, many schools are finding that a mixture of desktop, laptop, and handheld devices can be used to meet a variety of educational needs.

essential readingGo to Learning in Hand. This website is a resource for using handhelds in schools. Learn about handheld hardware and software, find lesson plans and information on podcasting, read online articles, and more from Tony Vincent.

Hand-helds are not likely to replace other technologies. Instead, they can address specific problems and needs. Palm OS applications allow students to use their hand held as a graphing calculator, word processor, database, test prep tool, and reference resource. Teachers and administrators are using hand helds for record keeping, scheduling, and other administrative as well as teaching applications. Additional devices such as science probes, digital cameras, digital audio recorders, keyboards, GPS devices, and other modules can expand the hardware even more. Check out 101 Great Educational Uses and Hand-Held Curriculum Applications for hand helds for lots of ideas.

The key to the hand-held is its portability. Great for field trips, home use, and anything requiring quick information access and recording, these devices can be used without the hassle of heavier technology.
Besides the Palm OS, other hand held devices are becoming popular. For example, GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) devices may be used with a Palm hand held or as a separate device. To learn more about this technology in the classroom, check out the Geocaching Page

Learn about How Things Work: PDA. At the How Things Work website you can also learn about Digital Camera, GPS devices, MP3 players, MP3 format, digital recording, translators, and scanners. For a great starting point, check out Kathy Schrock's Digital Gadgets Page

There's a growing body of research related to the effectiveness of hand-held devices in the classroom. Much of the research is being conducted with support from companies such as Palm, so keep this in mind as you examine the study results.

Read Personal Digital Assistants in the Middle School Classroom: Lessons in Hand by Beverly B. Ray, Anna McFadden, Susan Patterson and Vivian Wright in Meridian (Summer 2001).


Personal Digital Assistants


General Starting Points



Palm Gear - Palm OS applications

Handango - Palm OS applications

EuroCool - Palm OS applications

Palm Station - Palm OS applications

Cnet - Palm OS applications

tucows - Palm OS applications

Avant Go - allows worksheets and other information to be moved between the web and hand held device

PDABuzz - general PDA information

PDA Live - general PDA information

Freeware Palm - Palm OS applications

Hi-CE - Palm OS applications

Educational Starting Points

The Educator's Palm (Handheld Learning) - explores issues and ideas related to integrating Palm technology into the classroom

Hi-CE - examines the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education at the University of Michigan projects

K12 Handhelds - company focusing on education and hand held technology

ProbeSight - dedicated to probe technology in the classroom (both Palm and Computer OS)

Concord Consortium - resources and articles on using handhelds.

KPBSD Palm Page - a great school district page on handheld devices in schools

pdaED - contains resources and articles on handheld devices in schools

Mobile Technology: K12 Handheld Links Page

Palmtops: Handheld Computers in the Classroom

Technology & Learning - The Handheld Educator

Teacher and Administrator Tools

HandySheet - an educational service that allows you to create custom worksheets on your Palm OS

Learner Profile - Sunburst

Vivonic Fitness Planner - Palm OS fitness software

Software List

Educational Applications

Palm for Academics

Mobile Inquiry Technology - good lesson ideas

Handheld Computers as Mindtools

Concord Consortium List

Palm Applications on the Web - great links to good educational Palm applications

Palm Workshops for Educator

PDAed - educational applications of hand helds

Palm Education - Palm's website

Palm Education Pioneer Grant Findings - results of projects

Project M3 Palm Stuff - applications for the Palm

Specific Applications

Expedition ES - use your hand held as a portable surveying instrument

Geney - collaborative problem solving application to help children explore genetics concepts

Quizzler - quiz maker and lots of free quizzes

Popular Palm OS Educational Applications

Thinkdb - database - download existing databases, templates, or develop your own

GoKnow - lots of software downloads for educators (Including FlingIt, Cooties, FreeWrite, PicCoMap, Sketchy. )

Avant Go - file sharing - moves Internet pages to your Palm

WordSmith - word processor - word processor that's word compatible

PalmReader - ebook reader - read text and ebooks

Memoware - ebook reader - download ebooks

Documents to Go - portable documents - upload to Office

ImagiMath - graphing, solving, calcuating

ImagiProbe - probe

QuickOffice (Word & Excel) - word processing and spreadsheet

Handango - math

Quizzler - create and use quizzes

Probes and Sensors

ImagiWorks ImagiProbes - probes that connect to handheld devices

General PDA Applications

The Educator's Palm - Fingertips - lots of tips and tricks for educator use of palms

Pen Computing - information and resources for hand-held computers

Hands High Software - work, home, and school applications

Bike Brain - a Palm OS application for your bike

ImagiWorks - PDA applications

Vernier - probes


PDA Grants

Palm Education Pioneer Grants - program has ended

Handspring Foundation Grants - program has ended

Schools and Classrooms Using PDAs

Consolidated High School District 230 - high schools

How to Choose a Palm - diagram in PDF

Planet 5th - Handhelds in the Classroom - elementary school

Palm Pilots at Vanderlyn Elementary - they have blogs showing class activities

KPBSD Palm Page

Paperless Classroom - middle school


At Ease In The Handheld World - Converge Magazine

Debating Merits of Palms in Class - Wired News

Educational World: Handheld in the Classrom

Forget PTA; This School Goes PDA - Wired News

Handheld Devices Make Inroads in the Classroom - Teaching Today

Handhelds Go to Class - Edutopia

Handhelds in the Classroom - Tools for Teachers by Cyndi Pride - Technology and Learning

Handhelds of Tomorrow - Technology Review

Maryland students use PDAs - eSchool News Online

Palm Reading Goes Educational - Wired News

Schools Get a Helping Handheld - Wired News

Study touts classroom benefits of handheld computers - eSchool News Online

Technology In America - PC Magazine

Handhelds: Tool or Fad? - EdWeek

Getting a Handle on Handhelds - Electronic School

Hands-on Learning - Electronic School

Using Your Palm Handheld in the Classroom - Palm Power

Kids Need Hands-On Tech - Wired News

Research Teams Develop Free Ed Software for Hand helds - eschool News

Handheld Computing for Educational Leaders - Educator's Palm

Leadership Model for Handheld Computer Technology - Educator's Palm

Devices are Ready-at-Hand - HICE Palm Page

Classroom Tech Upgraded - DET Schools

On the Map - Article about a K12 geocaching project

The Handheld Computer as Field Guide

Curriculum Ideas

101 Great Educational Uses for Your Handheld Computer - list

Handheld Computers as Mindtools

Probesight - Explore the curriculum ideas

Projects Using Handhelds

Lehigh Earth Observatory's EnviroSci Inquiry Web Site

Student How-to Videos


GPS & GIS in the Classroom

Check out our Geocaching with Kids page. There are also lots of ideas for projects at the geocaching website in the GPS in Education discussion area.

GPS Overviews

Geocaching: High Tech Hide and Seek - article about geocaching

GPS: A New Constellation - great overview

Classroom Applications of GPS and GIS

Cache of Palindromes - a numeric palindrome activity

Confluence Project example - New York

Find Your Declination Adjustment Value - understanding magnetic north

From a Distance - NASA - tons of lessons for all grade levels

GIS - Geographic Information System 

GLOBE Chat - discussion about uses of GPS

GLOBE Teacher's Guide: GPS Investigation - great guide with handouts and lesson plans

Geocache Monarch Tracking & Release Program - students create, tag, release, and track paper butterflies as they move from geocache to geocache

Monitoring Times - Having fun with GPS

NYGPS - join this Yahoo groups on math, science, and social studies

Prime Numbers - a geoache

Trimble: All about GPS

Where's George

Locate images - LandSat system, LandSat in the Classroom

Scientist's Corner: Precision, Elevation Changes - GPS Receiver Precision explanation and article

Using GPS in the Classroom

GPS/GIS WebQuests and Projects

Lewis and Clark: Lost in the Wilderness


Oh the Places You'll Go! - Travel Bug WebQuest

Screech Dude

State Park WebQuest - get ideas for building your own

Where's in a Name - find another person and play an interesting geography game

Specialized GIS Applications to Historical Solution-finding Lewiston Idaho

GPS/GIS Lesson Plans

Camp Internet: GIS, GPS and Mapping Studies

Community Mapping Activity

Environmental Education Lesson: Globes, Maps, and GPS

Farming - What's a GPS, GPS in Farming, Story for Kids about GPS

From Home to School, GPS Style

GPS /GIS Activities

GIS and GPS in the Schools

GIS as a Tool in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

GIS/GPS Lesson Plans

Global Positioning System Classroom Exercise: Where Am I? - lesson for kids, no gps needed

Global Mapping Activity

GPS Activities in Math

GPS Operations - US Naval Observatory

Latitude and Longitude

Learning to Use the Sextant

Scientist's Corner: GPS Report - description of GPS system


Portable Electronic Keyboards

Research Articles on Portable Writing Devices - research

Word Processing Language Arts Activities


Alphasmart Lessons

How Technology Facilitates the Writing Process - article

Alphasmart Community Center - an idea exchange center - lesson ideas

Practical Classroom Activities with an AlphaSmart - classroom ideas

Use of Technology in the Classroom to become Better Writers - article




Digital Camera Resources

42eXplore: Photography - traditional and digital photography resources

Digital Camera Resource Page

Digital Cameras Enhance Education - tips and links

Short Courses in Digital Photography - tutorials and resources

Digital Cameras and Camcorders in the Classroom

1001 Uses for a Digital Camera

Classroom Applications for the Digital Camera

Digital Cameras: Handbook Page

Digital Camera Lesson Plans - Kodak

Digital Video in Education

Going Digital in the Classroom

Digital Imaging and Presentation Tools

Digital Microscopes in the Classroom

Handiscope - Innovative Data Communications - portable, handheld, high resolution video microscope 

Interactive Whiteboard - SMART board

Mimio in the Classroom

Visual Presenter

Explore Curriculum and Technology Examples

Explore ways to combine teaching, learning, and technology.

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