Palm Inc. has announced the first round of awards for its Palm Education Pioneer (PEP) program, and Palm also introduced its Palm Education Training Coordinator program, which is designed to support staff development in the implementation of Palm handheld computers in education.

Palm has teamed with SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning to administer the program, as well as develop and conduct an evaluation of the program’s success. This evaluation will study the learning uses, experiences, and effectiveness of Palm handhelds in K-12 education.

The PEP grant program gives Palm handheld computers to K-12 teachers and their students to enable innovative teaching and learning. The first round of PEP awards includes 15 winners from across the United States, representing projects in a variety of grade levels and academic programs. These first winners are:

  1. Supporting Environmentally Concerned Kids with Palms (Foothill Middle School, Walnut Creek, Calif.)

    Sixth-grade students plan to investigate a local creek running through fairly untouched park areas into a very suburban and urban area. Students will use Palm handhelds to collect data, explain specific conditions at the creek, and communicate with each other during field excursions.

  2. Supporting the Transition to Junior High School (St. Vincent Ferrer, Cincinnati, Ohio)

    Palm handhelds will support students, including those with special needs, as they transition from elementary school to junior high school. Students will use the handhelds to take more responsibility for their own learning in language, math, and science classes and to manage their own time and assignments.

  3. Primary Research in the Economics Classroom (Memorial High School, Campbell, Ohio)

    Students will use Palm handhelds to create a “Viewseum” at a district web site. This Viewseum will share the results of an economic survey of all the valedictorians and salutatorians in the history of the Campbell City Schools. Handhelds will be used to track and analyze data for the survey.

  4. The Reasons for the Seasons (Northline Elementary School, Houston, Texas)

    Students will use astronomical software and light and heat probes with Palm handhelds to understand the patterns and relationships between the sun, earth, and moon that result in the seasons of the year and phases of the moon.

  5. The Effect of a Self-Monitoring Device on the Acquisition of Social Skills (Kennedy Krieger High School, Baltimore, Md. )

    This program will use handhelds to help special needs students improve their workplace social skills. Fifteen students will be selected and trained to use the handhelds to monitor social skills relevant to the employment setting to which they are assigned.

  6. From Concept to Calorie: Visualizing Advanced Chemistry Concepts Using Palm Handhelds (Beaver High School, Beaver, Utah)

    Students will use handhelds to carry out visualization and problem-solving investigations that supplement their course curriculum in chemistry. Investigations will emphasize problem-solving and collaboration skills that will allow students to do research, conduct information analysis, and visualize complex classroom theories and concepts.

  7. Ripple Project (The Lamphere Schools, Madison Heights, Mich.)

    This multi-disciplinary project brings together art, science, and creative writing using handhelds. Students will use the Palm as a canvas to draw trees and leaves they see outdoors. They will bring these to a nature center, where they will learn more about the specific trees and will be able to have a naturalist beam them relevant information. The sketches then will be used to create poetry and ceramic artwork displayed at the school.

  8. Extending the Support Network for Special Education Students and Teachers (Hommocks Middle School, Larchmont, N.Y.)

    Handhelds will help provide special education students with the support they need to master their organizational and academic objectives. Assessment tools and reference systems for teachers will help them keep track of how students are performing and make on-the-fly notes about useful teaching strategies so they can adjust more easily to their students’ needs.

  9. A Three-Pronged Approach for Handheld Technology: Curriculum Implementation, Modeling, and Assessment (Fulmore Middle School, Austin, Texas)

    Palm handhelds will be used as one of the primary technological resources within algebra courses. Educators envision a three-pronged approach to handheld use in their classrooms, which includes incorporating probes, modeling tasks and assessments.

  10. Vital Signs: Turning Passive Learners into Principal Investigators (Shead High School, Eastport, Maine)

    Handhelds will assist students as they work to accurately record significant subjective information in the form of written notes and digital imaging. These observations will act as a springboard toward understanding the physical, biological, and social effects of changes in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, as well as the impact that thought and language can have on data recording. Extending these understandings, students will compare the ways various social, occupational, and cultural groups use language.

  11. Environmental Science Academy/ WildLink: Science-based Research Expeditions into Yosemite National Park (Merced High School and Livingston High School, Atwater, Calif.)

    The Environmental Science Academy (ESA) is a four-week summer environmental science program for high-potential, low-achieving high school sophomores. Handhelds will augment the ESA program through the use of (1) sensors for data collection, (2) graphing and visualization software for synthesizing that data, (3) word processing software for journal writing, and (4) wireless communications for engaging students in learning.

  12. Ecological Monitoring and Business Plan Development (Kellogg Middle School, Shoreline, Wash.)

    Students will use handhelds to develop data-collection kits to test the health of a local water supply, and then teach elementary students how to use the kits. The goal is to test the effectiveness of a stream-monitoring project in improving student understanding in ecology. In addition, students will monitor the economic aspect of the project by using their handhelds to manage budgets, maintain personal calendars, and analyze business markets.

  13. Testing the Waters of the Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas High Plains (Slaton High School of Slaton Independent School District, Slaton, Texas)

    Students will use handhelds in the creation and use of mathematical models to develop an understanding of the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas. Students will use probes and software that graphs temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and specific ions. These visual representations will help students get an on-site representation of the water quality within different regions of the aquifer.

  14. Environmental Education (Immaculata School, Hendersonville, N.C.)

    Students will use handhelds with field data collection hardware and software to explore air pollution and acid rain as part of an Environmental Education Learning Experience. To build a better understanding of the processes of incorporating technology in the classroom, student teachers from the education department of Western Carolina University will be invited to participate in the classroom exercises.

  15. Integrated Field Study of pH Changes along the Arroyo Seco Utilizing Handheld Technology (Eliot Middle School, Altadena, Calif.)
The main focus of the semester-long project is how the terrain, geology, human interaction, and chemistry of the Arroyo Seco affect the pH along its length. Students will use handhelds to collect multiple data sets, including GPS positioning, water and air temperature, dissolved oxygen, flow rate, and pH. Other data collected will include rock samples and flora samples from the areas, located precisely using the GPS/handheld combination. This data then will be analyzed in the classroom to produce a clearer view of how and why the pH of the Arroyo Seco changes along its length.

These 15 winners constitute the first round of more than 100 grants to be awarded through the PEP program. Palm will announce the second round of winners this summer. Watch Palm’s web site for information on how to apply for future competitions.

Palm Education Training Coordinator (PETC) program The goal of the PETC program is to certify local educators to deliver consistent and up-to-date staff development on the use of Palm handhelds in education. The program helps school districts create in-house staff development programs for basic handheld computer skills. The program provides leadership, resources, and curriculum to unlock a whole new set of tools for administrators, faculty, and students.

The program includes the following:

  • A three-day trainer certification course for qualified trainers;
  • A trainer starter kit of hardware and software;
  • A ready-to-use curriculum; and
  • Ongoing support and update training for trainers.
  • In a collaborative effort between Palm and educational organizations, Palm is providing the three-day training program at no cost and will support ongoing professional development for the Education Training Coordinators (ETCs). The ETCs must agree to conduct professional development classes for educators in their district for two years and to stay current in the area of educational technology. In return, school systems are expected to provide transportation to the certification training and assistance and support for their new Palm staff development program. The next certification classes are scheduled for August. More information about the program, its requirements, and the schedule of classes is available online.

    Links:

    Palm Education Pioneer program
    http://www.palmgrants.sri.com

    Palm Education Training Coordinator program
    http://www.palm.com/education/training