Electronic School, January 1999, p.A30

A new fad among educational professionals is hand-held electronic organizers called personal digital assistants (PDAs). PDAs have handwriting recognition software and can take notes and perform other functions when users write with a special pen on its “pressure sensitive” screen.

Users say these miniature machines offer numerous organizational features that can benefit teachers and administrators. PDAs can keep appointments, calendars, and to-do lists, organize lesson plans and alert users when they have something to do. PDAs can also serve as address books and notepads, and can replace old-fashioned paper-filled binders.

One of the PDA’s best features is its ability to communicate with your PC. Many PDAs are capable of accessing your office computer’s database, spreadsheet, and word processing programs when you are elsewhere. Many people prefer PDAs to laptops because of their smaller size and their longer battery life.

However, there are drawbacks to PDAs that make it improbable they will replace the laptop or desktop computer. The PDA’s small screen size makes it difficult to view graphics or a large text document. In addition, their small black-and-white screens make them less than ideal for surfing the Internet.