Canadian Handhelds Video

Video FramesDean Shareski has posted a great video on his Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech blog. It's called The PA Palm Project: Students and Teachers Learning Together. The video begins with the narration:

Step through the doors of grade eight classrooms of Mrs. Dalgarno and Mr. McIntosh and you'll witness a learning environment that looks and feels different from many others.
Twenty-five eighth graders at a school in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada are equipped with Tungsten E2 handhelds and keyboards. Their original focus was writing, but students are using the computers in other subject areas as well. The video is divided into five segments: First Reactions, Making Learning Easier, Efficiency, Student Engagement, Unexpected Outcomes, and The Future.

In First Reactions, one student explains, "Like getting presents at Christmas, I felt really excited." In Making Learning Easier, the teacher explains that learning to write is much easier because of the word processor. Editing in particular is much quicker. Dalgarno explains in Efficiency that with handhelds, she is able to get through three lessons in the time it used to take her for one. Students can enter their writing much more quickly on a keyboard than by handwriting, saving lots of time. In Student Engagement an eighth-grade boy gives an example of how motivating the handhelds are:

Most kids in our class, they, like some of the people who didn't really come to school because they didn't want to, they are coming because of the technology.
An Unexpected Outcome was that communication among students increased. They are more like to share their notes from their handheld because they are digital and can be beamed or sent to others instantly. Students didn't tend to share their paper-based notes.

In The Future Mr. McIntosh says that the handhelds are a stepping stone to giving a computer with internet access to every child. [Though I say the handhelds are already computers--we live in a world where we use different kinds of computers at different times and locations for different tasks. And many handhelds already access the web wirelessly.] Mrs. Dalgarno tells the viewers that they are just at the beginning of the project. They are currently doing old things in new ways. In the future, she hopes to have students doing new things in new ways. She says they can do this once they learn more about more Palm software.

The 6 minute 32 second video is hosted on YouTube. The Prince Arthur Palm Project has its own blog if you're interested in learning more.