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  1.    #1  
    I coordinate new student orientation programs for a small liberal arts university and I'm always reminding students that managing their time and keeping a good calendar will help them be successful. I've only recently started using a PDA myself, but I find myself telling more and more students that it could help them to use one. My roommate got a PocketPC this term and says it is helping him at Ohio State.

    So... Students: How has your PDA helped you in school (high school and/or college - undergrad or grad)? Which platform would you recommend for other students? What software and accessories are must-haves for students?

  2. #2  
    I would recommend a cheap, replaceable device like the m1xx series from Palm, along with a Palm Portable Keyboard and Wordsmith (,, respectively). I think that a keyboard is great for taking notes or even writing papers; however, if you go this route, I recommend against filling up the device with lots of other software or hacks (system extensions that can be unstable) as, in my experience, lots of programs will often crash Wordsmith and cause it to lose notes.

    If you really become into PDAs, a PocketPC device would benefit you more, but both platforms have some good student software. I usually just use DateBook+ for assignments as most student software is very cumbersome. Pocket Word on the PocketPC integrates well with Word on the desktop, although it has less formatting objects than Wordsmith on a Palm.
  3. #3  
    I am a Freshman and have been using my Vdx in school. My opinion is this:

    1. If you just want something for a schedule and writing homework go for something cheap like a Deluxe or m100.

    2. If your really into PDAs you can get any you want and it should work well.

    3. Always keep spare batteries on hand and make sure battery levels are checked before going to school.

    4. Make sure you have a good case to protect it.

    5. Make sure you use screen protectors. I can't tell you how many times other students wanted to look at my Visor and started controlling the screen with their fingers...
  4. #4  
    So long as it is getting used...
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by timbond
    So... Students: How has your PDA helped you in school (high school and/or college - undergrad or grad)? Which platform would you recommend for other students? What software and accessories are must-haves for students?
    Before I respond to your questions, you should know that I am a senior in high school. Anyways, my PDA has helped me in a large number of arenas at school. I use it as a translator/dictionary/verb conjugator in my French IV class. I use it to do quick calculations and measure the height of buildings and other objects in AP Physics class. I use it to take notes and type reports in AP Biology and Intro to Lit. I use it to pass time in my Teacher Helper block. I use my VPL to keep track of assignments in all my classes. Finally I use it to count down the days till my graduation (34 Days, 23 Hours, 41 Minutes BTW). This only outlines my VPL's uses for school as its usefulness goes far beyond that. I use it for everything from passing the time, to work, to watching television (as a remote and TV guide), to moving, keeping track of finances, and my love life (don't laugh, I asked my date to the prom using my VPL).

    I would definitely recommend a cheap Palm like the Sony S360, Palm m125 or m130, or any Handspring. The money saved on getting a cheaper Palm will allow the student to customize it to their needs with software and accessories. Most student are not laden with cash and are not willing to buy a Pocket PC AND software.

    Software/Accessory must haves:
    Wordsmith - Word Processor
    Ultralingua - language translator
    Noah Lite - dictionary
    CSpotRun - EBook reader
    Stowaway Keyboard

    Did you just go near a burning hot river of lava or are you just happy to see me?
  6. #6  
    Ditto to all of the above.

    I started using my Visor Deluxe at the start of this school year. I am a junior in high school. I highly recommend the Deluxe for a student. There is enough hardware and software for it that you can do just about anything. I use DueYesterday for my assignments. It is the best thing I have found for doing this. The only necessity for the Deluxe is the 8meg backup module. I cannot tell you how many times this saved a day's worth of notes and assignments when I found my AAA's had died. When I upgraded to the Pro the battery and data loss issue was resolved. I only ran out of juice twice and when I did everything stayed in memory. The improved speed in the Pro also made getting to my assignments and schedule a lot quicker... I have a lot of fast talking teachers.

    Right now I'm using a Sony T615, but the reason for my upgrade had nothing to do with use in school... but more a personal treat for myself .

    I really do hope that PDA's become more common in high schools. Unfortunatly I will not be there to see it if it does not happen in the next year. If more students were using software to keep track of assignments, coming back from a sick-day would be as easy as pointing two IR ports together. In my school though, I know of two other people besides me that have a PalmOS device. It used to be 3, but someone lost his Deluxe after about one month.

    How prevailent are PDA's in the college setting? I know about 92% of the students at NC State bring computers from home, but I wonder what the statistic on PDAs would be.
    "Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's Fire." - John Parr
  7. #7  
    If you search back in the archives of VisorCentral, there have been several articles about PDA's in school, and items like a Stowaway in school. (yes i wrote them back in the day.. so yes, I'm plugging myself )
    -Michael Ducker
    TreoCentral Staff
  8. #8  
    You might want to check out this site at the University of South Dakota -

    They started a program that mandates the use of palms for certain groups of students. I think there are a couple of other colleges tthat are doing the same type of things and maybe a couple of high schools. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.
  9. #9  
    I am working on an undergrad degree through a life long learning program and only have class 1 night per week, but have put my Visor Platinum to use constantly.

    An example, the very first class required about 40-50 disacussion questions and a two page journal be turned in every week, with a 10 page paper for the final, all done on my VPL. I did not use a PC until it came time to print each assignment. Wordsmith was the killer app here, especially with the built-in spell check / thesaurus. For this type of work, I would definetly recommend a keyboard solution (not the thumb-board type!)

    You may also want to look into some of the outliner / project management applications out there (Shadow Plan, Progect , and Bonsai). I use Shadow to input my syllabus with the course info (teacher, location, book list, assignments, etc...) which can then be linked to the built-in PIM applications to create to-do's, etc...

    Another place you may want to check out is, a nice community for the use of PDA's in education, though not nearly as active as VisorCentral.
  10. #10  
    It seems to me that a college campus would be a good place for a PDA to get lost, damaged, or stolen. I would warn students to take precautions and perhaps consider PDA insurance and/or extended warranties.
  11. #11  
    Personally, I think that 'using an organizer' should be part of the school curriculum from grade school up, starting with a simple printed calendar and working towards personal organizers (paper or electronic).

    I think PDA's offer benefits on several levels:

    1. Juggling the school schedule, and integrating work, social life, and so forth into it as well. Reminders and alarms are a useful part of this.

    2. Tracking assignments. I am teaching my high schooler to enter assignments. She puts it in DateBook, repeats it for every day from now to the due time, uses 'notes' for details, and uses several shortcuts to simplify the process.

    3. Tracking grades. She is just using MemoPad for this now- one note per class then recording the assignment and the grade, but a simple spreadsheet or many other programs could do it as well (right now, our focus is on getting the stuff remembered and done!)

    4. On-board tools- calculators, reference material, study aids, etc.

    5. Note-taking. This is a personal issue with most students- some like to and can type to take notes, some cannot or do not. The PDA can always be used for quick notes- especially with BugMe or a similar program. If doing 'full notes', I would strongly recommend a biggie-sized keyboard and 'crashproofing' the PDA as much as possible.

    I also agree with the need to 'school-proof' yourself- a good 'never take it off' case, screen protection, back-ups, security, loss-proofing, redundant system (paper and pencil), etc.

    I also agree that for MOST students, the less expensive the unit is, the better! The Prism at for $130, a FlashPlus memory expander for $30, and other assorted accessories is less that most of us paid for the Prism alone, even on sale! You would save even more using a Visor Deluxe from the clearance house mentioned in todays articles at VisorCentral!
    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are at!
  12. #12  
    Madkins007: I highly recommend Due Yesterday for your high-schooler. It does all of the things you mentioned in one program.. here is a snippet from the site...

    "Your Classes
    Now you'll have detailed information about your classes such as teacher information, grades, and classwork right in your hand; any time, any place.

    Your Classwork
    The robust classwork management features allow you to keep details of all your classwork such as tests, homeworks, and quizzes, organized and easily accessible. You can customize how your classwork is displayed, clearly showing what is important to you. You can even export your classwork right into the Date Book and To Do applications.

    Your Grades
    Always have up to the minute grade information available with Due Yesterday's grade tracking functionality providing class grades and overall GPA.

    I have been using it for a year now. It is great how it averages your grades instantly, so I always know where I stand in a class.

    They made it free as of version 4.0. I just updated to version 4.6 at the site and noticed that they have also made the desktop software free. Great stuff!
    "Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's Fire." - John Parr
  13. #13  
    Hi Guys! I've been out of it for a while, but here I am! My PDA experience in school has been both rewarding and I've come to a very good conclusion that I think is applicable to many students.

    I began with my brother's Compaq 2010c, it was a cool little device, but I never used it for school, because the battery literally could not last longer than 30 minutes. I was eventually able to sell it off for a Palm IIIc and GoType Keyboard my freshmen year. I must say, it served me well. Trying to remember, my main uses for it were note taking in spanish and doing my history assignments. I could complete them in class, and print them with out IR equiped printers. Pretty cool. As for english, I was in freshmen english then, so we didn't write many essays. But for big projects, it helped a lot, being able to type things at school, instead of home. Saves time. However, I found myself sometimes losing produtivity because of games, he he he...As for homework tracking, it did fairly well, and I kept on top of things. In the time management area, the DateBook didn't reallie help me much freshmen year. My schedule was not so hectic and full, and my mind could remember just about everything. However, I love the AddressBook, because it's just so cool. I can whip it out to get numbers so quick, without having to look for anything.

    Sophomore year, I sold off the IIIc and raised money for a Sony 710c and a keyboard. I loved that unit, it was so awesome. I used it in spanish and english a lot. It really kicks **** in doing english essays, saves a lot of time. My schedule got much more hectic, to the point I couldn't remember everything, and the datebook shined everytime . I didn't need it in band, computer science, or math, so it was kind of under used. I invested all my money into it, and had it stolen in December of sophomore year . After having it stolen, I was lucky enough to somehow be able to have raised money with minimal effort to get a Visor Edge, thanks to the guys here at VisorCentral The Edge looked great, and she did well, until I had problems with hard reseting. After that, I've sold it off, and I'll be getting a new Rex 6000 and IBM z50 soon.

    PDAs have done their share to greatly help me in tight situations. Get an essay done the day it's due, hehe. Find important information I need. Get things done. However, they've taken away my time in game playing and just the time it takes setting them up and getting them running, etc. My use of a PDA freshmen year, has prompted a lot of my friends to make their own investments. However, I've found none of them, and really even my self, to really use it beyond fancy toys. My hopes, is that the Rex in combination with the IBM z50 really help me use them my junior year to get things done well and efficiently.

    CONCLUSION: My conclusion as to the use of PDAs in high school and college, it takes a lot of experimentation as well as discipline. They are great tools, and the more people who use them, the better they will get. The address book is pure awesome, if you keep everything contact you know, you'll always have it with you. However, I've found the best PDA is the one inside of you. Managing your time to get things done, and staying on top of things before they overwhelm you. If you don't know how to manage your time, the PDA can't tell you, it just keeps track of it. Set strict scheduling and follow it. The PDA can only do so much, your own brain can help you to not need it. However, for those times you fall, it'll be there to pick you up

    I say, start cheap, and move on up. If you become really efficient with one, upgrade, otherwise, don't waste your money. I find I can suffice with or without one, but with a PDA things go more smooth. Next year, I think I'll finally be able to get the hang of PDAs in school, and really utilize them well.
    good artists copy, great artists steal. . .
  14. #14  
    timbond asked:
    Students and PDA's - what do you think?
    Having been out of school for longer than most of you have been alive I would say

    I like and am in favor of PDA's and against students!!
  15. #15  
    PDA's can be great in school, though I find that the tedium of entering in the information and then trying to cordinate that with the teacher's actual grades almost annuls any benifit that the thing has in the first place.

    However, when you start and realize how powerfull a Palm can be, it quickly makes your typical student notebook obsolete. I could use a Spreasheet to record my lab info in my Treo, then walk outside and connect to the internet to send of a memo created by the spreadsheet program (i'd be nice if they could do this) for transmit to my lab partner so they can make up the full report and have it in before the end of the day.

    I could then switch to AIM and make sure he got it.

    Then I could send a SMS message to my professor to ask some questions.

    Then maybe i'd pass
    -- Go Illini!
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by chrisfoster
    Then maybe i'd pass
    Now you just talking crazy.

    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by chrisfoster
    Then maybe i'd pass
    Or, between games and IM'ing the flavor of the week, fail miserably.
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  18. #18  
    Perhaps I fail, but thanks to Palm Reader Pro I am now a very well read person. Not to mention my hand-eye coordination thanks to Bejeweled and the like.

    I must say though, a monochrome screen is much more low-key when the lights are out in class durring a movie. The color screen on my Clie puts this white glow on my face.... kinda gives me away.
    "Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's Fire." - John Parr
  19. #19  
    Or, between games and IM'ing the flavor of the week, fail miserably
    I actually don't play many games anymore. However, cronic AIM usage is quite a problem. Damn the AIM over SMS gateway!
    -- Go Illini!
  20. #20  
    Originally posted by volcanopele

    I use it as a translator/dictionary/verb conjugator in my French IV class.

    Sounds like a useful program, what is it? (it might benefit my 8th grade son).

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