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Windows Thread, PDAs in a classroom in Technical; Some bright spark here has had the idea of getting a batch of PDAs for every year 7 student. They ...
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    MK-2's Avatar
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    PDAs in a classroom

    Some bright spark here has had the idea of getting a batch of PDAs for every year 7 student. They will then all use these all the time to encourage handwriting etc (because obviously a pen and paper doesn't).
    I've never used a PDA before, so know nothing on the specifics.
    Will it be able to authenticate with our server for their username (PDA with wifi of course)? Can the version of Windows on most PDAs join a domain or are they restricted to just using the wireless connectivity as a route for internet access?
    Basically I'm looking for pro's and con's to the idea of every year7 student having a PDA

    **forgot to add, what about things like AD policies, would they run ok if it were able to join to a domain, or does this then leave us open?**

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    You would have no control over the pda via your gpo's as you do with your desktops and laptops.

    They can log on to your wireless network using their domain username and password but I've never used that for any more than internet and email as I don't know if anything else is even possible.

    Usually you plug them into a cradle and this updates them and copies stuff across to the pc as a local copy.

    Ben

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    well i can think of some negatives at the mo, and they rule out the advantages. The head of our school has got a wireless PDA and i personally think that he doenst use it on the net, as the connection is a bit p**s poor, even stood under an access point. surely giving each year 7 kid is a bad move, just think of the damage costs that will occur and if some kid leaves it lying around by accident, then you have to folk out another s**t load of cash. I personally think that PDAs for kids is a bad idea and if anyone should have it should be the teachers first. As for the AD policies i dont think that they are applied, but if you have a web filtering sat on your proxy then im sure that you should be able to filter web sites, just dont bang in the default gateway in the IP settings of the PDA, oh thats another thing, you may have to give each PDA a Static IP.

    T

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    Domino's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    you can use the terminal services client on most of them to get to your usual network software and places.

    assuming you have a terminal server

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    My dell axim connects to our radius server for wireless authentication fine and gets a dhcp lease fine as well.

    Works well.

    Ben

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    I read in one of the computer mags that all secondary pupils in Lothian (somewhere in Scotchland I think) will be getting a PDA gratis if their local government get their way. That's 60,000 pupils and 6,000 teachers! (golden rule of educational IT policy: never give anything out unless teachers can get a pressie) Ouch ouch ouch.

    The only link I could find was this blog post which makes it seem a little less likely to happen than the magazine did:

    http://crunchgear.com/2007/01/23/sco...ve-a-handheld/

    Surely it'd be quicker to buy some shredders and start chucking money in

    EDIT: Just noticed that article links to the one I read in IT Week:

    http://www.itweek.co.uk/2173098

    Unfortunately their website is about as fast an aging tortoise meandering through treacle.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    I've used the web on my Palm (Clie) PDA. Works fine through wireless but the small screen is a real pain - even tho' the browser works great - you can drag the screen around with touchscreen and zoom in and out etc..

    If i'm somewhere remote with wifi access then yeah - it's handy to have, otherwise forget it.

    I also have word and excel on it - which are sorta usable. I have a palm app that works full screen with an onboads thumbscreen which is easy to use, plus you can save in dos format for example.

    Video and photos could be useful too (in school).

    You're not far away tho', with all these applications, on a bog standard mobile phone. On my 18 month old phone I can write notes, view spreadsheets, run multi language dictionaries, listen to podcasts and surf the web. With bigger screen sizes and wifi built in the PDA becomes redundant.

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    Great! I should be able to pick up a cheap PDA on eBay soon then.

    If they want to encourage handwriting in an ICT way, there is a company that makes clipboards which you put normal paper on then write away and it will then connect by USB to a computer and recognise the text.

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    I remember reading about a bunch of schools where they did this and had a positive effect on truancy - the teachers seemed to think they were good for the school. Personally I'd spend more on getting more teachers and less on poorly thought through technogadgets, but I doubt if the trial schools were given that option.

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    It does indeed sound like another one of these ideas where somebody decides that they MUST have technology X and then it's up to somebody else to work out how to use it in an educational and practical context.

    This is something that I intend to combat over the new financial year... with teachers deciding upon what they want the outcome to be and technologists (i.e. me) deciding the best means to reach the outcome.

    I would initially challenge those that have decided that PDAs will improve handwriting. I have used a PDA for years and tend to use 'block recogniser' writing rather than handwriting recognition because it sucks.

    I would also challenge what outcome is desired. Is it intended for all the little darlings to use it as a hi-tech homework diary? Are the PDAs to be used for work (Pocket Excel and the like)? Will the PDAs be used to connect to Exchange for email and calendars? Does anybody actually know what a PDA is?

    You will also need sanctions in place and policies governing use. 'Forgetting' to bring the PDA to class should mean detentions and losing the PDA should lead to parents paying for a replacement (which will be unpopular at £100-odd a time). If email and the Internet can be accessed, this should be monitored because kids will be kids and the number of messages flying back and forth across the classroom will get out of hand very quickly.

    I'm sure that there must be some kind of educational context for using PDAs but nothing springs to mind. I hope you have something to think about though.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    We have a number of small projects based around this at primary level in our LA ... I will try and persuade someone to join the forum and reply to this thread about it ...

    There has also been research done on the Becta Research Network about this with a generally positive response.

    The main idea, as with anything that introduces technology, is that there has to be a reason ... a project ... and discernable objectives. Without this it falls flat on its face.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    @Grumbledook: That's what I was trying to say... except you said it far more succinctly as always.

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    @Grumbledook: That's what I was trying to say... except you said it far more succinctly as always.
    I think I'll have a new t-shirt made ...

    Grumbledook: Translating Geeks since 0830.

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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    I couldnt imagine all the kids having PDAs. The amount of broken and "oh the battery ran out and Ive lost everything" would be a complete nightmare.
    As for getting use out of them.... Seriously how many of us can say they really get good use out of their PDAs. The only reason I use mine as much as I do is it's because its also my phone! Kids using calenders (not) and being able to email all the time hmmmm. No doubt there will also be some games they can play via infrared or wifi or bluetooth . Just give them all a PSP and be done with it :P

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    john's Avatar
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    Re: PDAs in a classroom

    Just give them all a PSP and be done with it
    Take it you missed the PSPs in education stuff at BETT last year (assume it was there this year as well but as I didnt attend I cannot confirm) I know stuff is out there as our curriculum manager attended a conference where they demonstrated it.

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