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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: Handheld Computing


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Subject:   Handhelds: no; manipulatives: yes
Author: Dave
Date: Mar 18 2003
On Mar 16, 2003, Alice wrote:

>...
>My district provided me with a classroom set
>of Palm IIIc's this fall.
>...
>I came to the conclusion that they have no
>place in the required public school math
>courses.

Regarding handhelds, I agree with you completely.
There is no substitute for thinking or for practicing thinking, but I believe
having a handheld computer completely shortcuts the critical thinking
process.

The best uses of technology I've seen are as interactive demonstrations
(essentially electronic manipulatives), but specifically NOT for data collection
or data analysis.

When used for data collection, technology tools become toys.  They are far more
distracting than they are essential to the lesson.  When used for data analysis,
they are even worse - no thinking required.

>As far as other hand held technology, I really
>believe it is important for students to
>understand the basics before they pick up
>a hand held that does the work effortlessly.
>I feel the same way about graphing software.
>Students need to make their mistakes before
>the computer shows them the no brainer way.
>We aren't developing higher order thinking
>skills without understanding gleaned from
>making mistakes and figuring out what went
>wrong and how to correct them.

Yes, exactly.

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