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Graham
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« on: December 15, 2004, 12:46:46 PM »

This thread is for everyone on the board to introduce themselves and tell us a bit about what they do, where they do it and their interest in handheld learning and computing devices...

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I'm Graham, fairly long in the tooth tech-nerd, developer and some would say (have said), evangelist. I've been working in the educational software and hardware field since around 1982 when I was developing software for the "Micros in Schools" scheme at the OU for Sinclair Spectrums, BBC Micro's and RML 380Z. I went on to join Research Machines (RML) when it was just 50 people and making computers in a warehouse on Mill Street (just down the road from the train station). By the way, I still have a completely working RML 380Z system! I stayed with RML (which became RM and grew very fast) for about 5 years eventually heading up the interactive media side of things, running the RM version of the Domesday Project for example, before leaving to set up Next Technology in Cambridge.


Next Technology was one of the first interactive media developers working with CD-ROM technology with shareholders including Philips Electronics and St Johns College we developed much of the very early system software that enabled various computers including the Acorn Archimedes to read CD-ROM discs, we developed hardware and software that allowed first generation Nimbus computers to work with videodiscs, developed audio/video compression and interleaving techniques that became the underlying principles of the CD-ROM XA format and the Enhanced CD. We developed numerous educational software and training titles for CD-ROM, CD-i and games consoles.

In 1988 Next Technology won one of the first DTI SMART awards  “for the research and development of a lightweight, handheld computer suitable for use by school children”.  More info here.

After Next, I took 10 years out of the education world having been seduced by the world of entertainment software. I started a company called Electronic Sound & Pictures (ESP) which pioneered "interactive music" and worked with a variety of recording artists including Peter Gabriel, U2, Nine Inch Nails, The Orb, The Grid, Stereo MC's and Depeche Mode. ESP was acquired by Virgin Interactive Entertainment and became an entertainment software developer and recording label. During this time I had acquired one of the first Palm Pilots and an Apple Newton (still have them in original packaging!).

After ESP I worked with Future Sound of London (FSoL) visual artist, Buggy G. Riphead, to form an art/technology unit called Hypersonique where we developed and explored mainly the visual aspects of digital design. We created fine art that was exhibited in the Barbican and the New  York Museum of Modern Art, we directed music videos for FSoL, The Fall and Salt Tank and designed the ships computer for the feature film "Lost In Space". I mean,  who could resist the opportunity to design a human-computer interface for a computer set 5,000 years into the future?

I then took the helm of leading Soho digital animation company Digital Arts, managed to grow it meteorically during the dot-com boom and then like a meteor it rapidly came down to earth with an almighty crash during the dot com bust. This was not before, however the very talented team there hadn't created some of the most compelling interactive theme park attractions, immersive visual environments and online experiences to date where only time will tell of the impact that some of this work will have had. But, of course, it's all about timing...

Just after the crash, a colleague and I started new research into handheld computers initially developing games software and an emulator that would play over 1,000 Sinclair Spectrum games on a Pocket PC. Our attempts to raise capital at a time when venture capitalists were contemplating hari-kari were not good and neither was a letter from Amstrad, the owner of the Sinclair brand, threatening Jihad if we released our emulator.

I spent the next 18 months travelling to various parts of the world with my wife, pre-school daughter and two (really big!) flight cases full of computers where I was providing consulting services to various companies in Australia, West Africa, China, America and the Caribbean. I also got involved in some human rights and social justice activism but that's another story  Wink Maybe a mid-life crisis but also a time to reflect, develop ideas and consider future direction, which having taken full Palm OS and Pocket PC development systems with me  I probably already had an inkling before I left.

So now back in Blighty living in South London, I'm convinced and wanting to convince those prepared to listen as well as those, perhaps more importantly, that are not; that now is the time for a new revolution in educational computing.

As you can tell from the above I've always enjoyed a bit of forward thinking and getting into the innovation trenches, I've set up Handheld Learning (the company not this forum) to provide consultancy and develop software, hardware and accessories for this nascent market.

Apart from all this I have a passion for contemporary music, art, film and writing. I write for various magazines, websites and have been known to do a bit of telly  Grin



Please don't be put off by this long intro! All introductions are really warmly received so that we can build this community and make it useful for everyone.

Cheers

Graham
« Last Edit: February 10, 2006, 09:22:06 AM by Graham » Logged
KathySchrock
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2004, 01:34:50 PM »

Thank you, Graham, for inviting me to become a member of this new online forum.

I am the Technology Administrator for a school district in Massachusetts, in the US, that is made up of 7 schools and a little over 3000 students, 500 staff, and 1200 computers. You can find out more about our school district here <http://nausetschools.org/> if you are interested.

I have been using handhelds ever since the first PalmPilot and have used both Palm and WindowsCE handhelds and palmtops over the years. For the past two years, I have been concentrating my efforts into educating teachers and administrators, both in my school district and others in the US and abroad, on the best way to use these devices to support teaching and learning.

I have quite a few presentations and Web pages dealing with handhelds, and will list them below. In addition, I maintain a large site of over 2500 educational resources for teachers, Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators, that will be 10 years old next June at <http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/>

Handheld sites:
POWER in the Palm of Your Hand
http://kathyschrock.net/power/

A Day in the Life of an Educator's Handheld
http://kathyschrock.net/dayinthelife/

Handheld Blog
http://handhelds.motime.com/


I look forward to the discussions that will be available in this forum!

Kathy

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Kathy Schrock
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Orleans MA 02653 USA
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rdroyer
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2004, 02:46:40 PM »

Hello Graham and others.  I am so thrilled that this forum has been created.  I teach educational technology at Salisbury University in Maryland, USA.  I work primarily with undergraduate students but we also have five graduate technology courses in our Master's program. I've only recently ventured into the world of handhelds but find the potential to be very exciting.  I recently attended the Handhelds in Education conference in Michigan, hosted by Elliott Soloways' Go Know group and my eyes were opened.  I live in an area that has few resources for technology; the digital divide is quite a reality in our area.  Consequently, our local schools are looking to handhelds as a way to bridge the divide and provide technology resources to students.  In our local schools, the current student to computer ratio is 10:1.   Sad  I'm hoping to use this forum as a way to stay connected to what is happening in other regions with handhelds.
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Graham
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2004, 03:07:41 PM »

Hi Kathy and Rdroyer

Sincere thanks for joing the forum and I hope you will find it a stimulating and useful place to visit from time to time. Very much looking forward to reading about your experiences in this field.

I certainly feel that the adoption of handheld computers as is proposed by the Dudley pilot and experienced by rdroyer will make a positive contribution to bridging the digital divide.

Kathy, the lists of resources on your web pages are fabulous!


Best wishes

Graham
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DanSutch
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2004, 04:35:24 PM »

Hi all,

Looking forward to getting involved in some really good discussion about the pros and cons of handheld learning and beginning to see if we can begin to seek out the principles that underpin good activities, environments and opportunities of connected, mobile learning.

I am a Learning Researcher at NESTA Futurelab (www.nestafuturelab.org), a not-for-profit organisation that is investigating ways of transforming learning experiences through the use of digital technologies.  I have a particular interest in investigating how handheld technologies can provide new learning experiences and what changes to current practice are needed to best support mobile connected learners.

Looking forward to some interesting discussions.

Dan
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anorman
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2004, 05:16:34 PM »

Hi

Good to see a new list - and to see that other people are as excited by what handheld learning can do as I am (and as frustrated by why the rest of the world just doesn't seem to get it........)

Anyway, a bit of background  -  In a previous life I was a lecturer in business in FE and then HE before I escaped.  Now I’m a member of a research group based at Leeds University Business School ( www.aimtech.org) and a long time Palm user.  Most of my work is concerned with using handhelds and other mobile devices to provide information to mobile workers and, specifically at the moment, to police officers.  I’d emphasise that I am not from a technical background – my interest is far more in how such technologies shape the way that people work, their relationships and the capabilities which can be added to the organisation and the process of gaining the benefits while avoiding the bear pits.

There is an overlap of interest in that I am now interested in looking at how the police forces who have invested in such technologies can make use of them in the provision of learning for officers –  there are a number of areas which are emerging – self-briefing on what has gone on and who has done what, access to decision support materials for unfamiliar situations ( Can I nick him for that?) and some more formal teaching –type applications which a couple of forces are looking at.

A bit of a hobby horse is that I think there is a lot of learning going on using various devices which isn't recognised simply becuase it isn't labelled as 'learning' and funded by a funding council as such.  So if a paramedic uses a tablet to check a procedure while in an ambulance on the way to hospital ......... well, I'd call that learning but a funding body probably wouldn't.  Given that, I think that the lines between learning and information (  and 'knowledge' is a whole other debate) are artificial at the moment and open to a lot more examination.

I'm also interested in maybe getting an EU bid together around the area of mobile computing and decision support under the CWE head of IST call 5  - but we are EU virgins and so would really like some kindly organisation to take the lead.... any takers?

Alistair Norman
AIMTech Research Group
Leeds Uni Business School

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jont
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2004, 05:42:19 PM »


Hello everyone.

I have similar tech nerd attributes to Graham as my computing goes back to the days of the Apple ][

I am now working on a research project at the Robert Clark Centre for Technological Education at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, investigating the educational benefits (or otherwise) of PDAs in higher education.
I am particularly interested in the potential of the PDA to be used as a portable Computer Aided Assessment platform  to deliver formative self-assessment questions to students where-ever they are.

www.ninelocks.com/projweb explains a bit about our project and how we are hoping to log when the PDAs are used.

By day I work in the dept of electronics at Glasgow as part of the computing support team and also help students with hardware and software projects.

I  develop shareware and custom software for www.ninelocks.com.  USA users familiar with http://learninginhand.com/ may have encountered the NineColors application which gets used in some science classes.  (I also noticed that Dudley get a mention on the learning in hand blog at http://learninginhand.com/blog/index.html it is good to see the UK catching up)

I've been a PDA user/developer for around 5 years, and worked in education for 10 years. Prior to that I worked in the computing and comms industry.

Anyway I am looking forward to some good discussion and hope we can get some good collaborations going! Though that can sometimes be tricky for both political and technical reasons ,as I know some of you already know!

There is also a mailing list for pda/mobile device users which can be found at
www.jiscmail.ac.uk/pda-edu. Which everyone here is welcome to join

best wishes

Jon
ps  (Hi Alistair hows the website   Wink  )
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2004, 09:16:32 PM »

Hello.  I work in ICT at the International School of Geneva, (Switzerland), where we are thinking about including handhelds (Palm Tungsten E) in the required "book list" for students from Class 7 up next fall on our new campus.  Like any new idea, this one is meeting with cautious curiosity on the part of the administration.  I've spent the last month on the web hunting for practical examples of success, warnings of weak spots to plan for, etc., and finally, through Bloglines I find a forum!

My own interests lie in the involvement of ICT tools with student learning/outcome / video, hyperlinked creations, etc.  Resources at our place are slim, and necessity has been the mother of invention.  Some  of that is visible at my own site, http://www.isg-online.org.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2004, 06:10:26 AM by keepps » Logged
ctomasino
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2004, 05:38:09 AM »

Graham,
Thanks for the invite to this much needed forum!
Let me give you some background...I am trainied as a classroom teacher, whose love for technology and learning has brought me to working with teachers to create the learning connection for technology! With my passion for teaching and learning I have acquired some "geeky" skills while working with thousands of teachers. My professional development support site can be found at http://ctomasino.home.comcast.net and www. active2go.com.

While I have been an active handheld user for years, where I live Illinois, USA handheld use in classrooms is just emerging. In concert with two other colleagues, Meg Ormiston and Kellie Doubek, I designed and am currently  implementing a three-year No Child Left Behind Grant which puts handhelds in the hands of over 3000 students in 5th and 9th grade! We are working with over 100 social science and science teachers to embed reading strategies to increase student comprehension and Palm OS handhelds are the tools we are using to facilitate this! We have some lesson plans found at https://www.pdaonline.org/BTDLessons/Search.aspx that the teachers are just beginning to create to show how the handhelds are used in their "active learning" classrooms. ANDwe have had statistically significant increases in student test scores after just one year!!!

They key behind the implementation is a framework that was developed so that handhelds don't follow the same path of technology integration as some of the other digital tools we see in schools. We have aligned handheld use with reading strategies that research studies indicate increase achievement. Our teachers create student learning activities with handhelds following a unique "ACTIVE" framework! It lets them be content area specialist and deploy reading across the content areas!

You can find more information at http:www.active2go.com/researchlinks/research.htm 
or visit one of my conference sessions at
MACUL in Michigan   http://www.macul.org/conferences/index.html
Illinois Computing Educators Conference  http://www.il-tce.org/home/home.asp
International Reading Associations Annual Convention http://www.reading.org/association/meetings/annual.html

I look forward to discussing handhelds in education with EVERYONE!
**Christine**
« Last Edit: December 18, 2004, 02:46:33 PM by ctomasino » Logged

Christine Tomasino
efriendlylearning.com
Graham
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2004, 09:57:13 AM »

Welcome Dan, Jon, Alistair, Keepps and Christine

many thanks for joining the forum and introducing yourselves!

I'm looking forward to great discussions on here and to learning a lot

Best wishes


Graham
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2004, 04:04:51 PM »

I'm Midge and like my friend Kathy Schrock live in Massachusetts in the USA. Last year I wrote a book on using Handhelds in the classroom published by Teacher Created Materials and I have authored two "expert guides" on using Palm Powered Handhelds for electronic reading and genealogy hosted by PalmSource. I am a student in a Master's program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA (but the classes are all distance) in educational technology.

I have been involved in technology for over 20 years. My first handheld was a Newton! Right now, I own a Zire 72, a m130 and a Sony Clie. I admit I follow Kathy around and buy her discarded technology when she tires of it or lusts for new models.

I carry my handheld everywhere I go but of course, so does everyone else here.  Grin

Nice to be a member of the group.

Midge
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2004, 04:37:16 AM »

Many people I already know have introduced themselves!  Hi Midge, Kathy, and Jon—fancy meeting you here! Christine, I don’t think we got to meet, but you presented at the Michigan handhelds conference I keynoted earlier this month.  It’s a small world!

Here’s a little about myself: My first handheld was a Palm III.  I used it to organize my calendar and to remind myself when I needed to keep students in for recess.  In 2001, I received a class set of Palm m505s for my fifth graders at Willowdale Elementary School in Nebraska, USA.  It was time to move beyond using handhelds as an electronic organizer and use them as a learning tool. I scoured the web to find software that would help students learn the fifth grade curriculum. I loved teaching in a classroom where each student had his or her own computer.  I also discovered I enjoyed helping other teachers use technology with students. Currently I’m the technology teacher/facilitator/specialist/coordinator for my elementary school.  My school has a handheld for each fifth grader and two roving class sets shared by grades kindergarten through fourth. Check out Willowdale’s web site: http://www.mpsomaha.org/willow

Aside from teaching students and teachers at Willowdale, I’ve contributed to or written books and articles about educational use of handhelds. I teach a university class titled “Handhelds in Teaching and Learning” and developed a series of Palm and Pocket PC workshops for teachers. Also, I maintain my web site, http://learninginhand.com

I know from visitors to my site that interest in handheld computers in schools is certainly not limited to the United States.  I’m pleased to see this new forum online!
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2004, 02:03:21 PM »

Me:
Hi, my name is Richard Millwood, currently Acting Director at Ultralab - a learning technology research centre in Anglia Polytechnic University. I am an old timer - 1980 I first started being paid for my interest in learning and technology.  My only PDA is a Newton - I am yet to return to using PDAs since it was discontinued (although I understand there is a thriving community of Newton fans continuing developments around it). I reckon any time now I'll be diving in again, especially as GPS emerges.
My interests:
We have been a partner in the EU project m-Learning and probed the possibilities of using PDAs in young-adult literacy and more. When we were in the midst of 'Newton mania' here we wrote applications, developed ideas and I was particularly thrilled with software for 'human data capture' supporting observational research, and would have liked to produce more decision support software - lots of ideas about this.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2004, 02:35:49 PM »

Thanks to Kathy Trinder for inviting me and this forum comes at a good time for me as I'm thinking about PDAs in medical education.

I trained as doctor in the UK during which time I "saw the light" - after almost missing an exam because I had forgotten what time it was at, I realised that a PDA might be necessary for survival. It then turned out to be rather useful for my clinical studies as well. After graduating, I developed software for Cambridge University's Project Palm: http://www.cbcu.cam.ac.uk/cbcu/pdfs_ppts/projectpalm.pdf. It allowed clinical students in the East Anglia region to share what they had learned in different specialties at different hospitals, pooling their educational resources.

During my house jobs I switched to helping clinicians use the machines for ward work, and eventually went on to write the book "Handheld Computers for Doctors". Its site (http://www.handheldsfordoctors.com) includes other articles that I've written about PDAs. I now work at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD in the USA. My work is at the NCBI BookShelf, which provides free access to biomedical textbooks. Last week we did a soft launch of our first PDA title, a collection of evidence-based medicine protocols: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=hstat1.part.93877 (click the PDA icon to the left of the title).

One of my colleagues is writing a new textbook for the BookShelf. Her topic is blood transfusion, and she kindly said that she will consider any PDA (useful) features that I would like to include in the book. So I am now thinking about the best ways to teach blood transfusion principles using a PDA's advantages. On the other hand, another colleague let me know that all her son's primary school teachers are getting PDAs. But apparently the machines are there to allow the teachers to document the students' test scores. In other words, the machines have been bought for administrative reasons, not educational ones. That's fine (the only thing worse than filling out forms all day on PDAs is filling them out all day on paper) but I'm sure that there are better educational uses for the devices. All of which brings me back to this forum - I'm keen to learn from participants, and to get feedback on my own efforts.

Thank you Graham for setting this up.
mo
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Andy
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2004, 09:28:52 AM »

Hi All,

I love these things  Grin - I'm based in Bristol, I've an educational background, and kind of worked into this area via developing elearning material to support my teaching at both HE and FE. In terms of mobile learning, then I've been interested for the last few years. Some of my reserach work / ideas are documented on http://www.mobile-learning.blog-city.com

Cheers

Andy
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Andy Ramsden
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University of Bath
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