Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.533.1 - 6.533.6
Handheld Computers in the Classroom and Laboratory
Robert L. Avanzato Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington has integrated the student use of personal digital assistant (PDA) technology into several Information Sciences and Technology and engineering courses in order to foster active and collaborative learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory. Activities supported by the use of these handheld computers include electronic team exams, distribution of notes, programming, collaborative database projects, and access to web-based materials. Student access to handheld, mobile computers provides opportunities for improvements in both learning effectiveness and in the efficient delivery of instruction.
Penn State Abington has integrated the student use of personal digital assistant (PDA) technology to foster active and collaborative learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory. The PDA is an inexpensive, handheld computer that supports database, spreadsheet, document viewing/editing, graphics, programming, and web-browsing software. The Palm™ handheld  was selected for the integration effort due to its low cost, intuitive interface, extensive software support, and large user community. This PDA device features an infrared (IR) beaming capability, which allows students to electronically exchange software applications and data. A brief chronology and overview of the Penn State Abington experiences with Palm handheld integration follows. Through support from 3Com and Palm, thirty-five students in an introductory Information Sciences and Technology (IST) course were each provided with a Palm IIIx™ handheld computer in the fall of 1999. Classroom activities supported by the use of these handhelds included electronic team quizzes, distribution of notes, interactive software reviews, collaborative database projects, and access to web-based materials. Student teams developed prototypes for commercially feasible PDA applications in areas such as health care, inventory management, and law enforcement. The handheld computer requirement for students in this freshman IST course has continued through a combination of industry support and internal funding. As of spring 2001, over 150 IST students have been provided with Palm handhelds for educational use at Abington. Because students retain ownership of the PDAs, integration in subsequent IST courses can be achieved in a low-cost manner.
Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education
Avanzato, R. (2001, June), Handheld Computers In The Classroom And Laboratory Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9319
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