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U.S. schools will spend nearly $6 billion on technology before the 2003-2004 school year is over, much of it on wireless PDAs. Why do small screens have such a big impact on K-12 students and their teachers? For one thing, they're just the right size, said Elliot Soloway, a professor of education and computer science at the University of Michigan. Soloway, who has conducted technology-related educational research for much of the last 20 years, said giving laptops to students is nice but impractical.
Re: Education and Technology: The Future of Handheld Computers by Diane Stresing.
Why are you supporting spending millions on PDAs for grade school children, when there aren't enough funds for the basics - like textbooks, teachers' salaries, smaller classrooms and new schools? Grade school children would lose and break PDAs. So many of our grade schoolers can't speak English, read, spell or even hold a pencil correctly. Grade school is the time to get a solid foundation in the basics of reading, writing, math, art, music and science, and much of the time students aren't mastering these skills. I can see some computer training by 3rd grade when their hands are large enough to handle the keyboard, but computers are not the answer to the many ills of our failing educational system. Without a solid foundation students are doomed to fail later in school and life - computers or not.
I don't suggest that handheld computers (or any other type) can fix all that needs fixing in our schools. In researching this topic, I did find that handhelds are a viable tool that can help teachers teach in a way that is very comfortable and accessible to children of all abilities. Tony Vincent, a 5th-grade teacher in Nebraska (see how his classroom works at www.planet5th.com) said it well when he said, "I don't teach technology...I use technology to teach."