Technology at students' fingertips

LONG gone are blackboards, chalk and real ink pens - with students in some classrooms today carrying a world of knowledge in an electronic device the size of their palm.

LONG gone are blackboards, chalk and real ink pens - with students in some classrooms today carrying a world of knowledge in an electronic device the size of their palm.

A group of students at a Felixstowe school are piloting the use of handheld computers and if the trial is successful the project will be spread out across the campus.

The aim of the project at Orwell High is to pass the control of information computer technology to learners rather than teachers.

Students can use the handheld computer whenever it is appropriate in the lesson rather than waiting for the teacher to decide to take students to a computer room or to get out a set of laptops.

They can connect wirelessly to the school network on the handheld computers, use all the normal computing functions and search the internet.

The devices also allow students to take photographs, videos and record audio.

Most Read

There are a wide range of opportunities for using the devices and so far students have:

Videoed experiments in science to review at home;

Photographed their products in technology;

Recorded their speaking homework for French;

Researched on the internet;

Read electronic books.

John Avery, assistant headteacher leading ICT development, said students were constantly finding new ways of using the handheld computers to benefit their learning.

“This is a really exciting project,” he said.

“It is in the early stages but the students with the handheld computers are really enthusiastic about the possibilities they offer.

“If this pilot is successful we would like to move throughout the school to providing personalised computing technology rather than fixed computers.”

Headteacher Peter Tomkins said: “We see ICT as a learning tool and being able to give students their own access to this tool is going to be of major benefit to their learning.”

The project has been funded by the E Learning Foundation, the school and contributions from parents.

Do you think handheld computers for students are a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk