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Palm Handhelds in the Classroom

Page history last edited by Roxann Nys 14 years, 9 months ago

Although Palm is moving more and more toward supporting only Smartphones like the new Pre, the older Palm handhelds are still very viable tools for classroom use. Here's one video which shows how a teacher in the DePere school district uses them in her 5th grade classroom.

Fliqz has shut down their service. To access this video, email support with this video id: 604a46489197428e8589a3209f041115


Palm still makes three models, the Palm Z22 (retails for $99), the Palm Tungsten E2 (retails for $199,) and the Palm TX (retails for $299). All three have great potential, depending on your needs. I'm always asked which I recommend and I always have to ask "How do you plan on using them?" before I can answer that question. I do recommend that you shop around, as good refurbished models are out there and are usually very reasonably priced.


I would definitely purchase a wireless (IR or Bluetooth) keyboard, as those enhance the functionality of the devices tremendously and make data entry very easy. They range in price from $25 to about $50, depending on the make/model.


Again, I'll refer you to Tony Vincent's Learninginhand.com website, as it is a wealth of info about Palm handhelds. Be aware that Tony is no longer updating that part of his website, but there are still many valuable resources there. Don’t forget about Tony’s earlier series of podcasts called “Soft Reset” which gives great tips and tricks for Palm and Windows based handheld computers. These can be found and downloaded for free on iTunes.


Once you get a classroom set, see this article Managing Palm handhelds


You DON'T need an iPod to listen to a podcast, you can listen from your desktop or a handheld device. From the PalmFocus website, an article titled "Listening to Podcasts on a Palm Device" shows a variety of ways you can do this. It includes links to a number of applications (free and inexpensive) that allow you to make your podcasts "to go."

Free or Low Cost Applications for Handheld Computers:

  • FreeWare Website is an easy to use portal for hundreds of freeware and shareware handheld applications. CAUTION! There is a link to “mature content” on this site–not recommended for children.

  • Here's a comprehensive listing from Tony Vincent of some great Palm software categorized by curriculum area. Almost all of the suggestions are freeware.
  • AvantGo is a free application that allows you to pull information from the web onto your handheld device. No wireless connection necessary.

  • FlingIt allows users to instantaneously “fling” Web pages from the desktop computer to the handheld computer. Students can decide whether or not to include graphics and determine the link depth of the captured Web pages. Students can then view Web-based content at home, on the bus, or in their seats. FlingIt sites can also be beamed from one handheld computer to another for the sharing of Web-based resources.

  • eReader allows you to read your eBooks whenever you want and wherever you go. You can use eReader to add bookmarks, navigate your eBooks easily, and search for words in your eBook. There is no charge to download and use the software. However, there is a feature-enhanced eReader Pro (which includes several free books such as Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary) for $9.95.

  • Nosleep software open source project This project consists of a suite of innovative and useful applications for Palm OS, Mac OS, and Windows, that are all freely available. All of their software is completely free because they believe that some high-fidelity software should be available to anyone.

  • PalmGear website Everything For Handheld Devices. Games, Apps, eBooks, Themes & More! Use the advanced search option and specify “freeware” or “shareware” when you search for information on this vast web resource.


Links to some handheld applications for school administrators


GoObserve $ (99.95 as of 2/07) Demo download available. Works on Palm or PocketPC systems.

GoObserve provides observation scheduling through your desktop computer. After you synchronize your handheld, the observations are automatically added to your calendar. When in a classroom, the handheld component of GoObserve allows you to seamlessly “script” activities. Using categorization and time-stamping features, you can record, minute-by-minute, how teachers are doing and if students are engaged.


ScheduleFinder mobile student management tool for administrators

$ (site license pricing-call for info)

Automatically takes data from student management system for use on a Palm. In addition, the application integrates with many of the unique features of the various handheld devices (i.e. built-in digital cameras, cellular phones, barcode scanners) to offer even more powerful functionality. provides school Administrators instant access to all of their student information, photo IDs, and emergency plans on a Palm handheld.


CFB Timer from Tucows  (freeware)

This is a countdown alarm for timing anything from a few seconds to 99 minutes. It works even if your Palm is switched off or reset.


Countdown  (freeware)

This application keeps track of the number of days until a certain date. Useful for counting down how many days until a test or that much-needed vacation!


Power Walkthrough $300 for software plus training costs which vary–contact McREL for pricing options.

McREL’s Power Walkthrough software and training helps school leaders turn their regular classroom observations into “power walkthroughs” by using Palm or Windows Mobile hand-held devices loaded with McREL software that uses McREL’s popular manual, Classroom Instruction that Works, as the basis for classroom observations. The software facilitates brief classroom visits that focus on effective instructional strategies, the level of student engagement, the use of technology, and several other factors that research has shown to influence student learning.


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