A study was recently performed at Yankton High School in South Dakota to see if using PDAs has any effect on student performance.
According to a report in USA Today, 75 randomly selected students and four teachers at the school were each given a palmOne m130 last fall.
The m130 was introduced in 2002. It runs Palm OS 4.1 on a 33 MHz Dragonball processor. It includes 8 MB of internal memory. It has a low-resolution color screen and an SD/MMC slot for memory expansion.
According to one teacher, these PDAs were used for writing, graphing mathematical formulas, taking multiple-choice quizzes, and more.
At the end of the school year, the grades of the students using m130s were compared with the grades of all the other students who didn’t have these handhelds.
The school’s principal Mary Ticknor reported to the school board this week that the GPA of the students with handhelds was 3.08, noticeably higher than the 2.79 GPA for the rest of the school. The handheld users also had slightly better attendance records.
According to the USA Today, the school also experimented with giving some students laptops. This group performed even better than the ones who had handhelds. Not surprisingly, this test group was much smaller than the handheld group, as the laptops were far more expensive than the handhelds.