Monday, July 1, 2002

Palm broadens options in education


By Steve Niles

June was a big month for Palm in the field of education. Not only will the company be providing handhelds for a special program aimed at school superintendents and principals, but at the National Education Computing Conference (NECC), PalmSource, Inc. told educators to expect broader choices in mobile products for education. Palm and InSTEP (Integrating Strategies and Technology In Education Practice) also announced that Palm handhelds will become an integral part of InSTEP's program to provide educators throughout West Virginia with the skills and strategies to help them teach in student-centered, high-technology classrooms.

NYTALKS and Palm handhelds

It all started with Palm's June 3 announcement that the company expects more than 5,000 Palm handheld computers to be purchased for a three-year grant program designed by the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the SAANYS (School Administrators Association of New York State), and the SED (State Education Department). The program was developed to help education leaders throughout New York state begin to explore technology as a catalyst for organizational growth and student achievement.

The program is called NYTALKS (Technology, Achievement, Leadership, Knowledge and Skills), and it's designed to give superintendents and principals access to quality leadership and technology training. The three organizations were awarded a $7.5 million State Challenge Grant for Leadership Development by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and NYTALKS was developed as a result. The terms of the grant required the program to use a digital tool, which is where Palm comes in.

The first phase of the program will begin on July 28 with orientation and Palm-sponsored basic training. The Palm handhelds will include Palm's Mobile Mentor Software: Educator Edition CD, containing various software programs aimed at school leaders. The handhelds will be configured, preloaded, and delivered by Pomeroy Computer Resources, Inc., a provider of enterprise IT solutions. The second phase of the program includes a series of regional "learning experiences" provided by SED's Leadership Academies, including technology fairs, local workshops, business and school site visits, and other leadership enhancement activities.

Expect broader choices

On June 17, at the NECC (National Education Computing Conference), David Nagel, chief executive officer of PalmSource, Inc. (the Palm OS subsidiary of Palm, Inc.) told educators to expect broader choices in mobile products for education. In the coming months, Nagel said, Palm OS platform licensees, such as AlphaSmart, are going to be bringing new products to market. PalmSource is the