A document camera is my preferred way to show a handheld's screen to an audience. That's because there is no software required and few things can go wrong. I also favor document cameras because they can be used for many other things in the classroom like showing an answer key, a calculator, an iPod, or an art technique. Document cameras work best in combination with a data projector, but projectors can cost over $1,000. The good news is that most document cameras can also be attached to a television screen.
ELMO is a popular brand of document camera, but there are several other brands. AVerMedia is another company and they make AVerVision Document Cameras. In fact, AVerMedia is currently having an essay contest. You can enter to win one of five document cameras! Simply submit a 100-300 word essay by you or your students about how your classroom would benefit from a new document camera. Entries need to be emailed by April 28, 2006. Winner will be notified by May 14. Click here for more information. Thanks to Mike Curtis for informing me about this contest!
Another way you can demonstrate a handheld to an audience is with software that displays a handheld's screen on your computer. Then you simply mirror your computer's screen on a data projector. PdaReach ($24) and HandShare ($30) can both show a Palm's screen on a Windows computer through the handheld's HotSync cable. HandShare goes a step further and supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, so you can walk about the classroom using the handheld (or handing it to students to use). For Windows Mobile users, there's Microsoft's Remote Display Control for Pocket PC (free). These solutions are much cheaper than a document camera, but a Windows computer and a data projector are required. Oh, and if you have a SMART Board, students can operate the handheld by actually touching and interacting with the projection! Kevin in the U.K. has a great photo demonstrating this.
Besides a document camera or Windows software, you could try a hardware presentation solution from iGo. The Pitch Duo ($280) works with Palm OS and Windows Mobile handhelds. This solution requires a projector, but no laptop or desktop computer is needed. Unfortunately, to the dismay of many, the Margi Presenter To Go is no longer being sold.
What's your favorite way to demonstrate a handheld to a room full eager students?