New Pocket PC Freeware

Windows MobileLike I said in my last post, there hasn't been much to report in the world of PDAs as manufactures place their emphasis on smartphones instead. Although there's not much new hardware, software continues to be developed for handhelds. Here are some recently released applications (mostly games) for Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile:

  • Arikone - Game where you connect the numbers with a line that cannot cross itself.
  • Color Lines - Classic game where you place five like-colored balls in a row to make them disappear and score points.
  • Delicious Plug In - Quickly bookmark and tag sites for from inside of Internet Explorer Mobile.
  • CapSure - Take photos of what's on the handheld's screen. Great for make how-to slideshows and handouts.
  • Dice - Simple random number generator 1-6.
  • Loan Assist - See how interest rates affect the cost of a loan. Note: Works on WM 3 and might not work on other versions.
  • Miner - A version of Minesweeper for Windows Mobile.
  • Music Trainer - Improve musical score reading and accuracy. Read more about the application.
  • MyEnglishFAQ - Quick reference for the English language, including commonly confused words and irregular verbs.
  • Pocket Uno - Pocket PC version of the card game.
  • Shift - Puzzle game where you move tiles around a board.
  • Skinz Sudoku - Friendly-looking Sudoku number game.
  • Sale Calculator - Figures the final price for percentage-off sales. Students could easily make their own calculator using Excel Mobile.
  • SimpTimer - Display up to six timers on the screen at once.
  • Skype - Free voice calls using Wi-Fi.
  • Taiyoukei - Database for information about the solar system. Includes images.
  • TildeTech Hangman - Simple Hangman game. You can make your own dictionaries of words.
  • Vexed - Puzzle game where you move tiles to make them disappear. Try to make the goal in as few moves as possible. This is one of my favorite puzzle games!
  • WM Screenshot - Another free screenshot program.
  • Word Seeker - Game of concentration with nine words that need to be matched. Words that match can be the same word, a synonym, antonym, or homonym.
  • And if you want to run lots more free software, buy StyleTap to run most all Palm programs, including the ones I mentioned in my previous post.

Pocket PC Apps

Simulate Sites for Mobile Phones and iPods

Nowadays there seems to be three kinds of websites. There are the full websites that you are used to viewing on your desktop or laptop. Then there are mobile versions of sites for cell phones. Mobile sites are created with a minimum amount of graphics, don't require much bandwidth, and can be navigated with a keypad. Additionally, there are sites formatted for the Safari browser on iPhones and iPod touches. These sites are sometimes called web apps and are designed to be used by touching the screen with fingers. Below you can see that CBS News formats its site according to what kind of device you are using to view it.

2 Kinds of Sites

Phone EmulatorNot all sites are programmed to format themselves into these three types of sites. Chances are that the your website is static and does not change no matter what size of screen it is being viewed on. If you'd like to see what a site looks like on a cell phone, you can use the dotMobi Emulator. The emulator is useful for not only checking your own site, but for pages that you might want students to visit on a mobile device.

If you'd like to see what a site or web app looks like on an iPhone or iPod touch, you can use iPhone Tester. iPhone Tester gives you a preview of what the page will look like on a simulated iPhone.

If you'd like a make a site that will function well on a mobile phone, handheld, or iPhone, you should check out Wirenode. It's a free service that allows you to easily create a compact webpage or site that will format itself for the device that's used to access it. Here's a site I made with Wirenode for the 2008 NECC conference. As you can see, Wirenode support text, images, news feeds, and hyperlinks.

Why would you care what your site looks like on a mobile device? Research firm IDC says that 1.3 billion people will connect to the Internet using a mobile phone in 2008. According to the March 2008 Tween & Teen Lifestyle Report, 73% of teens and 26% of tweens own mobile phones. Besides mobile phones, youngsters also often have access to the Web on other portable platforms like Palm handhelds, Sony PSPs and Nintendo DSs. The bottom line is that the Internet isn't just for desktop computers anymore!

Meet the Mobile Web

Mobile DevicesBelieve it or not, more people have access to mobile devices than desktop computers. Many handhelds can access the Internet, including cell phones, Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, Nintendo DS's, and Sony PSPs.

The problem is most websites are not convenient to use on a handheld's small screen. So, many sites provide a mobile version of their content. For example, USA Today provides their current news stories in a simplified format at

USA and Mobile

In 2006, mobile websites got their own top-level domain name: .mobi. When visiting sites like on a mobile device, you know you're receiving content formatted for a handheld. Over half a million sites have been registered as .mobi and many more are on the way. Unfortunately, there remains a variety of ways that a website may format its mobile web address, making it difficult to locate a mobile site (if there is one). Once you find a useful mobile site, be sure to bookmark it!

I've added a section to Learning in Hand to help educators use the Mobile Web. I provide plenty of sample sites and tips for classroom use. Educators might be interested in making their own mobile site, so I've included a page with information about ways to create your own mobile homepage. Many web publishers are creating mobile versions of their sites because more and more people are accessing with web with a handheld.

PoducateMe Podcasting Guide

PoducateMeMicah Ovadia from Ohio has spent more than a year working on his PoducateMe Podcasting Guide. His time was well spent, as the guide is gushing with 186+ pages of information for podcasting in education. One look at the comprehensive Table of Contents and you can see why it took a year to create.

I'm always on the look out for how people define podcasting. Here's PoducateMe's definition:

A podcast is simply a collection of individual audio episodes typically recorded and edited on a computer, encoded in the MP3 file format, then uploaded to a Web server. Users of "podcatcher" software, such as Apple's iTunes, are then able to download episodes from the server to their computer and listen to the recordings on their computers or transfer them to a media player such as an iPod. Because episodes may be listened to at any time and anywhere, a popular analogy is to think of podcasts as TiVo for radio.
I noticed that video is not addressed in the definition. PoducateMe's guide includes some references to enhanced podcasts but none for video podcasts. After reading through more of the guide, you'll understand that audio podcasting can be complicated, simply because of all of the options in hardware, software, and publishing. PoducateMe often suggests alternative solutions to what I generally recommend.

I'll share one new thing I learned from browsing through PoducateMe. I've mentioned SyncTunes before, but it's worth revisiting after reading through Micah's guide. SyncTunes is free software for Macintosh that allows you to automatically sync podcasts (and other audio files) from iTunes to devices other than iPods. What about Windows users? There's BadApple, a free plug-in for the Windows version of iTunes. It's not as slick as SyncTunes, but BadApple allows Windows users to sync iTunes content to any device that mounts as a USB storage device, like Pocket PCs and memory cards.

Another way to automatically sync podcasts to non-iPod players is to skip the use of iTunes all together. myPodder is an alternative "podcatcher" that works with the online Podcast Ready service to automatically deliver podcasts to your desktop computer and portable device. There's even a version of myPodder that runs on Windows Mobile. That means your internet-enabled Pocket PC can subscribe to and receive podcasts without ever syncing to a desktop computer!

There are plenty of other useful bits of podcasting goodness in the guide. While the entire PoducateMe Podcasting Guide can be read online free of charge, it is available as a fully printable 29 MB PDF file for an educational price of $17.95. (The online version cannot be printed and the text cannot be copied.)

Edition 2 of Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators

Handhelds for Teachers BookThe second edition of Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators by Tony Vincent and Janet Caughlin is now available! You might be familiar with the first edition published four years ago. Edition 2 has been completely updated and has an added 50 pages. Besides taking you step-by-step through using Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, iPods, and podcasting, the book gives dozens of examples of classroom use. In fact, the vignettes with teacher lesson idea and their insights into handheld computing is my favorite chapter. There's also a chapter with school administrators telling you all about how they use handhelds to do their jobs better.

The podcasting section is an exciting new addition to the book. It takes you through finding, subscribing, and listening to podcasts in iTunes, on an iPod, a Palm handheld, and Pocket PCs. It even has a tutorial for creating and publishing a podcast using the free Audacity software.

As with all of Janet's Workshop Books, busy educators can pick up Handhelds for Teachers & Administrators and get started right away using their handheld computers. The book's CD-ROM provides useful resources for the tutorials, lesson ideas, and podcasting. There also is this website that has all of the web links mentioned in the book.

Currently Edition 2 is not yet listed on the Tom Snyder website. Call the publisher at 800-342-0236 to order the book. You also order from K12 Handhelds here.

As a shameless promotion for the book, I made a Gizmoz animation of myself telling you about it. You can make your own Gizmoz for free by uploading a photo of yourself and then supplying text or audio.

Free Poetry Resources for You to See

Poetry eBooksK12 Handhelds has made available several poetry curriculum resources for Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, and desktop/laptop computers.

You can download Types of Poetry and Poetry Anthology eBooks. The eBooks are in Mobipocket format and have lots of examples with linked vocabulary words. Mobipocket is a cross-platform eBook reader and you can download it for free. Windows users can even download the free Mobilpocket Creator for making your own cross-platform eBooks. [There are not versions of Mobipocket for Mac and Linux computers--but you can use a Mac to install Mobipocket to a Palm handheld.]

Also available from K12 Handhelds is a Poetry Scavenger Hunt in Microsoft Word format. You can use Palm's Documents To Go or a Pocket PC's Word Mobile to view and complete the scavenger hunt.

Another freebie is a 10-question Poetry Types Quiz in Quizzler format. Quizzler is available for Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, Macintosh, and Windows.

K12 Handhelds also points to additional resources teachers might use, including two great poetry podcasts. The podcasts are from Houghton Mifflin and School Library Journal.

Finally, K12 Handhelds offers a one-page PDF called Poetry Classroom Activities that gives simple and advanced ideas for using these resources. Activities include comparing poems, creating a poetry blog, and highlighting metaphors, similes, and other literary devices in Mobilpocket.

Thanks K12 Handhelds for making these resources freely available!

Screenshots of Resources

Note: Recall my tip in Soft Reset #19... If you are trying to download a file and only weird text shows up in your browser's screen, click your browser's Back button. Then right-click (Mac users can Control-click) and choose "Download Linked File" or "Save Link As..." from the context menu. The file is saved to the desktop. If the file is saved with a .txt extension, click the file name and remove the .txt. Then the downloaded file should have the correct icon and function properly.

2007 Sketchy Animation Contest

Sketchy ScreenshotsGoKnow, the company that makes the Sketchy animation software for Palm handhelds and Pocket PCs (45-day free trial), has announced its fourth annual Sketchy Contest:

Do you use Sketchy in the classroom? Do you know a budding artist that uses Sketchy to convey educational concepts? We're announcing our 4th Annual Sketchy contest, and we hope you will participate. In past years we have received hundreds of Sketchys from all over the world. This year's contest will be even bigger and better!

Last year, as well as subject area categories, we introduced the new "Teacher" category for all you teachers to get in on the fun and we're glad to have it back! Prizes you ask? 1st place finishers will receive a special 1 GB iPod Shuffle. Digital Cameras are on hand for all 2nd place finishers, and 3rd place secures a new addition to our prizes: the Pocket Mind Reader! Numerous honorable mention certificates will be provided for those who have their Sketchys posted on the Web.

Please visit to view the official flyer and rules. You can also view previous winning Sketchy animations.

Please direct any questions to
The deadline to submit entries is May 25th, 2007.

Thanks for your interest in Sketchy, and happy animating!
The GoKnow Sketchy Contest Team

Save & Convert YouTube Videos

Perhaps you checked out the video I posted yesterday. It's hosted on YouTube, the free video sharing service owned by Google. YouTube offers no way to download video as they'd prefer you to visit their website each and every time you want to view a movie. If you do manage to download the video to your desktop, YouTube videos are in Adobe Flash format (.flv), which requires special software for playback.

There is software that will download and covert YouTube videos for you. YouTube to iPod Converter is free for Windows users and PodTube is $5 for Mac users. Or, for $15 Windows or Mac users can use TubeSock. Whatever software program you use, you simply paste the web address of the YouTube video you wish to download. The software will pull the video from YouTube's site and then convert it into a friendlier format of your choosing. I prefer videos to be in MPEG-4 format because then I can play them in QuickTime, on an iPod or PSP, or in The Core Pocket Media Player (free) for Palm or Pocket PC.

If you don't want to mess with software, you can use the online service Like the software options above, you paste the YouTube URL into Vixy's web page. Vixy will convert the video for you and then save it to your desktop--no software required. Don't be fooled by the option that says MPEG-4 for iPod/PSP. Even if you're viewing on a Palm, Pocket PC, or desktop computer, that's your best option. It does take a while for Vixy's servers to convert your video, but you can't beat the price and convenience.

Daylight Savings Time Updates

Clocks will be "springing forward" a few weeks earlier this year thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada will observe Daylight Savings Time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. This poses a problem for computers, as they are expecting to adjust their clocks in April and October. Companies are putting out updates so that their operating systems will move their clocks forward and backward on the correct dates.

Palm has issued a Daylight Saving Time Updater for it's Palm OS and Windows Mobile handhelds and smartphones. In a classroom full of handhelds, I suggest syncing the DSTUpdater.prc file to one handheld. and beaming it around to all of the other handhelds. Once launched, it's a very quick install. Note: If an updated handheld is hard reset, then the DSTUpdater will need to be installed and run again. This will probably need to be done each fall after handhelds are reset for the new school year.

Microsoft has information about updating Pocket PCs with Windows Mobile here. Desktop computers may need to be updated as well. Here is information for Windows users and Macintosh users.

If you don't update your system for the new Daylight Savings Time rules, it's not the end of the world. You can always manually adjust your computer's clock. Unfortunately, that will involve adjusting your clock up to four times a year. You can manually change the time in March and November and your computer may make annoying changes in April and October (following the old rules).

Despite the confusion it causes, Daylight Saving Time is a great topic for students to explore various science and social studies concepts. Investigating Daylight is a great lesson plan from Microsoft and Daylight Savings Time from WebExhibits is a great resource for students.

Bits & Pieces

It's time again to list many of items that are piling up in my inbox and in my Bloglines feeds. There's a little something for everyone: Palm, Pocket PC, iPod, Mobile Phone, PSP, and podcasting users...

There's a new Google Maps application for Windows Mobile. It's also available for Palm OS. It requires an Internet connection.

Some Australian schools are using the Nova5000 with students. Read about their experiences in the NOVA5000 Australian Trials blog.

Some U.K. schools are using PSP (PlayStation Portables) in classrooms. Read about their experiences in the PSPTeachers blog. They are using the PSP's WiFi connection to deliver RSS feeds to the students. Be sure to check out their cool charging and storage cart. Click on over to this article from Popular Science to learn how to read eBooks and watch videos on a PSP.

Doug Hyde is a library-media specialist at a Wisconsin middle school. His blog, Classroom in Your Pocket, has a useful post about showing video from an iPod on a television or projector.

Karen Fasimpaur wrote about PocketPicture, a great paint program for Windows Mobile. It's free!

The Podcasts for Educators Weblog has a post titled evaluating podcasts. It links to a PDF file for evaluating podcasts for teaching and learning. In the future, the blog will be publishing an evaluation for students and young people to use. Also at the weblog, learn about podcasting through their Online Learning Studio.

Leonard Low posted his Top 10 Freeware Apps for M-Learning on his Mobile Learning blog. His suggestions focus on mobile phones and Windows Mobile devices.

Rolly Maiquez has a couple of blog posts you might want to check out: Useful Palm Handhelds and Language Arts Curriculum Integration Links and Funding Links.

Lynn Lary points to curriculum resources for a interesting lessons using MIT's free participatory simulations for Palm handhelds. Included are materials and handouts for a unit called "Future CSI" and a unit about the Big Fish-Little Fish simulation.

Those of you who are Windows, Palm, and iPod users may be interested in Palm2iPod that sends your contacts and calendar from Palm Desktop to your iPod.

Here are several new freeware applications for the Palm OS:

  • SequenceM: Sequencing application for elementary classrooms.
  • ClipExtend: Bypass the 1000 character clipboard limit so you can copy and paste larger amounts of text.
  • HealthCalc: Calculate BMI, body fat, heart rate zones, and more.
  • Pepe Palm Chat: Send text back and forth through infrared.
  • Checklist by Paper Trail Software: Create and manipulate checklists.
  • Dekses: Puzzle game where you follow the right number order and move the digits to their correct places.
  • Target: Game where you make words out of a 3x3 grid of nine letters.
  • tejpWriter: Word processor with a surprising number of features. I like that it can export to HTML. The applications is a little buggy, though.
  • SimpleChart: Plot up to three columns of data.
  • Subscribe to Palm Freeware's RSS feed.
  • Dale Ehrhart has produced many free educational applications. Read about them on his Pre-Service Teacher blog.
And here are some freeware applications for Windows Mobile:

  • Hubdog: Read news feeds and subscribe to podcasts on your Pocket PC.
  • Free PDA Keyboard: Full screen keyboard for easier text entry.
  • Pocket Notes: Notebook program with different pen sizes and colors.
  • Subscribe to Pocket PC Freeware's RSS feed.

Learning2Go Phase 2 Report

Learning2Go ReportThere's more evidence that handhelds improve student learning. Wolverhampton's Learning 2 Go partnership in the United Kingdom released a report at the end of 2006. The 46-page End of Phase 2 Report is full of notable facts, figures, charts, and recommendations:

  • The number of schools in the Learning 2 Go project expanded dramatically in Phase 2, the academic year 2005-2006, from approximately ninety handheld devices in use to over a thousand.
  • Handhelds are not the not 'magic answer' but effective use is conditional on other aspects of effective teaching, class management, as well as school culture.
  • In general progress is not so good [in secondary schools] and baseline achievement has not yet been established by all schools.
  • There is almost no evidence of distraction from established learning approaches caused by devices as feared by some teachers.
  • Attendance at school appears to be significantly improved, certainly in Primary schools, which was notable against the general trend across the Authority [school district]. Attendance for boys was shown to be more improved than for girls.
  • There was evidence that a school's ability to manage innovation and change at the highest levels was critical to success.
  • Year 6 students achieved 5 percentage point increase in science, 3.5 increase in math, and -1 point increase in English. No explanation is available for the English outcomes, but the report offers further insights.
  • Mini-Computers Bring Test Boost was published by BBC News and briefly shares some of the report's results. Dave Whyley from the project is quoted, "Attendance figures have gone up. We're also seeing boys switched on to reading. They like e-books. One boy read his e-book until his battery went flat on his PDA at night."
  • The report includes lots more information, including examples of what students and teachers are doing with their handhelds, parent reactions, technical issues, and much data analysis.
  • The key message for all audiences remains that unless current PDAs and software are implemented with a well prepared and structured support framework; then the successes seen in the Wolverhampton project will not be realised.
With the success of the partnership, we can look forward to more reports and resources from Learning 2 Go. Something we do know from research is that achievement gains do not come until a teacher's second year of handheld implementation. For more sources of research and studies, visit the Research Web Links page.


Here's a new freeware math game for Palm and Windows Mobile users: ArithmeTick. The game helps student become faster at addition, subtract, multiplication, and division. Players can choose which operations will be used and the skill level. Once the game begins, it's a race to get as many problems correct as possible. Players are awarded up to 10 points for each problem depending on how quickly the problem was answered. Also, players are awarded extra time for each problem solved correctly. Challenge problems worth 50 points are offered at the end of each level. Since there is no erase button, you should know that if you enter a wrong number by mistake you can clear your current guess by tapping on the problem.

Let's see how high those scores can go! Offer this game to students and post their high scores in a comment to this post.

Download the Palm version.
Download the Windows Mobile version.

Soft Reset #18: Quizzler

Soft Reset LogoSoft Reset #18 is online! The episode is about Quizzler, software that works with Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, Windows, Macintosh, iPods, and the web—so just about everyone can put Quizzler to good use. John Covele, the developer of Quizzler, joins Tony and Mike to tell about Quizzler's new features.

Show Notes:

  • Tony's Tip: When making eBooks and quizzes for handhelds, keep all of the files you used to create your content. You never know when you need to make changes to the original.
  • Mike's Tip: Rename Palm .prc files to indicate different versions of applications. Also, backup your files online for free at at AOL's Xdrive.
  • Palm users can make quizzes on their handhelds using Quizzler 4. Here's a handout to help.
  • Learn about Quizzler 5's new features.
  • Quizzler Maker for Mac & Windows. Create quizzes with 10 questions or less for free. Export quizzes to Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, iPods, and the web pages. Here's a screenshot.
  • Quizzler Pro Website from Pocket Mobility, Inc.
  • Quizzler Server: Collect scores wirelessly & turn your handhelds into a set of clickers.
  • Free Quizzler Quiz Library.
  • Download Quizzler software.
  • Visit Soft Reset's Discussion Forum to discuss the show!
  • Leave a voicemail for us to play on the show! 206-333-1942
  • Email Tony and Mike at

Enjoy the show! Click an icon below to listen or subscribe.

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Learning with Handheld Technologies Handbook

Handheld HandbookFuturelab is a nonprofit U.K. organization committed to sharing the lessons learned from research and development in order to inform positive change to educational policy and practice. Last month Futurelab published the handbook Learning with Handheld Technologies. The 35 page PDF has implementation ideas and detailed case reports. This handheld book is useful for schools just starting to explore handheld computing and for schools who want to improve their current program. It's based on two years of research from the University of Bristol, which observed and interviewed some of the leading practitioners of handheld learning in the UK.

The second page of the handbook lists the key recommendations from the research.

  • There should be an authentic purpose with clear learning goals.
  • It is harder and takes more time to manage a small set of devices than it is to manage models of use where each learner "owns" their own.
  • Professional development is very important. A collaborative community of practice that involves the whole school will help embed handheld technologies in the curriculum.
  • Wireless internet connectivity is preferred because it makes the devices much more useful.
  • Schools need to figure out long term storage of students' data as they will produce so much work it won't all fit on the devices.
  • Spare handhelds should be on-hand for quick replacement of broken units.
  • Teaching styles must accommodate personal ownership of learning.
  • Successful projects used handhelds for accessing content and for producing projects.
  • Adoption of handhelds goes smoothly when integrated with with existing technologies like interactive whiteboards, software, and data projectors.
All of the recommendations in Learning with Handheld Technologies seem to apply to all school technologies, not just handheld devices. The handbook also contains a listing of many handheld learning projects from around the globe. The projects include all kinds of devices like Palm handhelds, Pocket PCs, and iPods. You can download the PDF or request a free hard copy of Futurelab's handbook.

Soft Reset #17: Mobile Internet

Soft Reset LogoSoft Reset #17: Mobile Internet is now online. There are a growing number of tools to make the Mobile Internet a friendlier place. In Soft Reset #17 Tony and Mike discuss using the Web on handheld computers and mobile phones. Searching, blogs, news feeds, bookmarks, and homepages are the topics. Although the focus is WiFi connections, accessing the Internet through Bluetooth is also addressed. Be sure to listen for the intro and outro voice--it's someone that knows Mike very well.

Show Notes:

Enjoy the show! Click an icon below to listen or subscribe.

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Can eBooks Help Reluctant Readers?

E-ReadersKathy Schrock wrote a two-page article about eBooks in the current issue of i.e. magazine from SMART Technologies. E-Readers: Can Electronic Books Help Reluctant Readers? starts on page 10. Certainly the answer to the title of the article is a resounding yes!

Kathy mentions Dr. Terry Cavanaugh's book, The Digital Reader: Using E-books in K-12 Education. The book is full of advice and resources for teachers. It offers a list of five strategies for high school teachers to support reluctant readers. Though, these strategies can surely be used for all readers. Kathy briefly explains the strategies:

  • Offer a wide range of reading materials.
  • Use pre-reading techniques.
  • Incorporate large-print materials.
  • Engage multiple modalities.
  • Teach important vocabulary.
Kathy summaries why eBooks are great for students: "The use of electronic books and the myriad of features available, can be of help to all students. The ability to access reference material while they are reading, highlight text with a virtual highlighter for note-taking and studying, and create a side note within the e-book to come back to later, are all key factors that enhance student's reading ability."

You can download the Autumn 2006 edition of i.e. magazine in PDF format. You can have a paper edition mailed to you by subscribing for free here.

Newsfeeds & Podcasts on Pocket PCs

Learning2Go WebsiteThe Wolverhampton Local Authority in the U.K. has been using Pocket PCs for a few years. They call their project Learning2Go and the students and teachers involved are doing amazing things with their tiny computers. Recently Learning2Go started a blog and podcast. Although the podcast is available in iTunes, Wolverhampton learners can use FeederReader on their Pocket PCs to subscribe to the blog and podcast. Here's the description of FeederReader from its website:

FeederReader is a full-featured RSS Aggregator with podcast listening and watching ("podcasting" or "podcatching") and enclosure support, running on Windows Mobile. It is designed for downloading and reading RSS feeds on Smartphones and Pocket PCs without the assistance of a host computer. You can update the feeds when the device is connected to the internet (i.e. through a LAN or Mobile Phone) and read them while offline.
Learning2Go has posted video tutorials to show how to manage feeds in FeederReader. FeederReader is available for download and requires free registration. Once installed, you can subscribe to newsfeeds and podcasts. Besides the Learning2Go feed, try subscribing to the Our City Podcast feed. New episodes have been posted this month!

Free Math Software for Pocket PCs Offer

SUMS Online offers software that is used in over 700 schools in the United Kingdom. The software consists of many math activities in Adobe Flash format. SUMS software works on Mac, Windows, and Pocket PC computers. Check out the sample activities SUMS offers in The Playground. SUMS activities are correlated with U.K. curriculum. The company is in the process of making their activities more U.S. friendly. Unfortunately, the software doesn't have built-in management or progress tracking. But, the software does offer valuable practice with interesting activities for students.

In fact, SUMS will give the first K12 school to apply from each recognized USA school board area a free two-year subscription to their online service (value $160 per year) along with free use for two years of the Pocket PC versions of the software (value $1 per handheld per year). Contact David McAll ( at SUMS Online before Dec 31st 2006. The free offer will be the "Americanized" versions of SUMS activities, though you can see the U.K. demos in The Playground.

SUMS Software Screenshots

Full Disclosure: I work independently from any company. I do not receive money from the products I write about on this site. The exceptions are my book and other books linked to from this site through

Handheld Learning U.K. - Day Two

Tony on Stage at Handheld Learning 2006The second day of the Handheld Learning Conference 2006 was held Friday, October 13. A full morning was planned with speakers taking the stage every 20 minutes! Thursday's sessions were mostly about policy and technology. Friday's sessions were more for educators and had examples of learning with handheld devices. Here are some notes I thought I'd share:

  • Martin Ripley spoke about 21st Century Learning. Martin talked about a better definition of 21st Century Learning that not only includes books, spelling, and mental math, but also problem solving (with technology). Recently Britain's science standards have been called "more suitable for the pub than for the classroom." Britain has an assessment system not unlike the U. S.'s. Instead of "No Child Left Behind," they have "Every Child Matters." From speaking to delegates to the conference, it seems that the U.K. often follows the U.S. lead in education (and I love the word delegate to describe a conference attendee--it implies that those in attendance take what they learn back to others).
  • There is one project in the U.K. that seems to be mentioned every few minutes in each presentation. It's the Learning2Go Project in Wolverhampton school that currently has 1,000 devices in the hands of students. David Whyley spoke about "The Wolverhampton Experience." The project has been a big success, especially with teachers and students. David says that teacher training is the most important part of their initiative. Wolverhampton seems to use a lot of multimedia and websites with their Pocket PCs. I've noticed many Fujutsu Siemens Pocket PCs around the conference and those are the devices that Wolverhampton students use. Wolverhampton schools have noticed better students behavior and a positive impact on reading as a result of their project.
  • Wolverhampton has five points of its vision for their mobile learning initiative:
    • Enable "learning without boundaries..."
    • Bridging learning between home and school.
    • Learners -- using technology as if it were second natures.
    • Tapping into the learners' culture.
    • Improved achievement and attainment via raised aspirations and motivated learners and their families.
  • Gerry Gray from Court Moor School spoke about teaching with Tablet PCs. Tablet PCs run a version of Microsoft Windows that you can write on with a stylus. While I think Tablet PCs are pretty darn cool, I think they are just too expensive for schools--they are more costly than laptops. In a perfectly funded world, I think Tablet PCs would be a wonderful learning tool. Gerry showed an electronic textbook that her students can write and draw on. How useful! Gerry showed many other examples of her students' work. I'm jealous of what she and her students can do with their computers! Students use Microsoft Office OneNote to make pages that can contain typing, handwriting, drawings, images, and videos!
  • "Stealth teaching" was mentioned where learning is made so fun, that students don't know they are learning. Personally, I think learning should be fun just by its very nature. Hopefully it doesn't need to be done covertly and students realize they are learning and love it. I believe in telling students learning objectives for each lesson so they know that whatever activity we're doing, there is an educational reason. I think of a video I made with my fifth grade students telling about their favorite Palm applications where, even though its the last day of school, they remember exactly what or how they learned using a particular piece of software.
  • Three gentleman from Bradford talked about their KS4 PDA Project. The school paid for the handhelds, but parents pay for the insurance. Kids talking to each other is important. It was noted that when you take students into a computer lab, 30 students can quickly disappear--you can't see them because of "all of the kit." With handheld devices, students can still see one another and does not cut off communication. They told about a great field trip experience where some students visited a museum with smartphones. The students took photos and blogged right from the museum with the devices. Then students who were left at the school would read the blog and text message the field trippers questions to ask the docents or ask to take more photos of certain items. It sounds like everyone, whether they went on the trip or stayed at school, learned a lot!
  • Professor Miguel Nussbaum from Universidad Catolica de Chile showed an exciting series of applications for Pocket PCs called Edunova. It's based on students working in groups of three. Through Wi-Fi and a server, students interact with questions where all three exchange answers and then must agree on a final solution. The teacher's Pocket PC displays a color-coded matrix showing what's going on in each group. This is going to be a great tool as it elicits student discussion and has a great teacher management piece.
  • Stephen Carrick-Davies Chief Executive, Childnet International, spoke about online safety issues. Stephen says the real danger of the Internet is that adults will focus on the dangers and forget the benefits.
  • Tony Vincent at Handheld Learning 2006I spoke about my five reasons for loving handheld computers. These include freeing the computer lab, teacher tools, free software, engaging activities, and animations. I've given this speech many times in the states, but this was first time abroad and by far the shortest time I've had to showcase why handhelds are great for teaching and learning. Aside from a few other speakers like Gerry Gray, I was the only one to really talk about hardware and software. In fact, most speakers emphasized that its not about the technology and all about learning. So true. However, teachers need to know the capabilities of the devices so they can plan learning activities! Most delegates didn't realize that they can run Palm OS applications using StyleTap and were very excited with what they saw. I wish I had more time to share other pieces of software.
  • Paula Bouw, School of Education Leiden University Applied Sciences, presented "Innovation in Education? Please, switch on your cell phones!" There has been a lot of talking of using cell phones in learning. I was told that virtually all U.K. 12 year olds and up have mobile phones, so it makes sense that schools would try to use these as learning tools. The cell phone activities focused on taking photos and movies with cell phones. Students could share these via Bluetooth. One example was making an English ABC book. She shared a quote, "A photo is worth a thousand teachers." Students know that they learn a lot from images. To me, learning activities that use cell phones seem somewhat contrived. Smartphones, on the other hand, can so much more and right now, but those aren't the kinds of phones students already have (yet). But, if all of the students already have a mobile device, why not use it as a digital camera and messaging system?
  • Representatives from Wireless Generation spoke about their mClass Assessment software for Palm handhelds. They claim 100,000 teachers are currently using mClass learning in the U.S. and growing 75% per year. What I like is that when teachers use software to help them do their job like mClass, they begin to see how handhelds could be used by students for learning. 100,000 is a lot of potential handheld-using classrooms.
  • There was very little talk of Palm handhelds. In fact, I was the only a very few speakers even uttered the word "Palm." Pocket PCs are certainly the way schools in the U.K. are going. With the Edunova system mentioned above, I can see that Pocket PCs are getting content, software, and abilities that aren't available on Palm handhelds. Furthermore, with the availability of the StyleTap platform, Pocket PC users can run most Palm OS applications. Today there really are no barriers to going the Pocket PC route. In fact, Fujitsu Siemens is making the EDA, a Pocket PC made just for schools. The EDA is rugged and comes with a suite of software much like HLE from GoKnow, including Inspiration and an animation program. The EDA syncs using software that will allow multiple types of devices to sync content called Red Halo. Red Halo will use a local school server through Wi-Fi for students and teachers to access online. The EDA will ship in January, but after talking with sales reps, it may not be available in the U.S. If the EDA is successful in the Europe, it might be sold in the U.S.
  • Podcasts for each of the keynote sessions are available online. Presentations slide shows are available as well.
I absolutely enjoyed the conference and my time in London! As you can see, I learned a lot. I'm honored to have been a speaker and look forward to being involved in the Handheld Learning 2007 conference.