South Dakota University Mandates Use Of Handheld Computing Devices
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
The University of South Dakota (USD) at Vermillion has provided Palm handheld computers to 1,300 first-year undergraduates and first-year law and medical students. The initiative, which is one of the first by a U.S. campus to mandate the use of handheld computers by undergraduate students, began at the beginning of the 2001-2002 academic year.
“The University of South Dakota students live in a mobile society. We must provide a learning environment using the latest technology so our students can take advantage of the benefits of anytime, anywhere learning to better prepare for the future. Palm’s mobile technology enables us to extend learning beyond the walls of classrooms,” said USD president Dr. James W. Abbott at a news conference.
The USD Foundation is underwriting the majority of the cost of the handhelds. Students will bear a portion of the cost through a small assessment during four semesters, according to university officials.
The Palm handhelds are expected to help students with classroom instruction and communication inside and outside of lecture halls and dormitory rooms. With their handhelds, students will be able to take notes, access writing reference tools such as a dictionary and thesaurus, create drawings, collect data, graph mathematical functions, manage activities and assignments, and play games. They also can instantly beam messages to their friends, send and receive e-mail and access the Internet wirelessly. Palm developers have created approximately 500 education-specific applications and accessories for students and faculty.
“USD has stepped into a leadership role; it’s one that’s reminiscent of what happened in the mid-1980s when Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford and other top universities made significant investments that led to the widespread adoption of personal computing technology on campuses around the world,” said Mike Lorion, Palm’s vice president of education.
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