Business Education and Technology: Observations on the Use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) by Domestic and International Educators

By Santandreu, Juan; Shurden, Michael | Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Business Education and Technology: Observations on the Use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) by Domestic and International Educators


Santandreu, Juan, Shurden, Michael, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal


ABSTRACT

Most business educators all over the world have not remained indifferent to changes in technology that directly or indirectly provide opportunities to enhance administrative and academic responsibilities. Although the acceptance of innovations has penetrated relatively fast the educational arena, the adoption process and usage rates have varied among different levels of education and geographic areas (mainly national versus international arena). The purpose of this paper is to explore and compare the use of this technology by domestic and international business educators and the way they perceive the use of this innovation by students in the near future. To gather the information e-mail introduction letters linked to a web-based questionnaire were sent to a select group of business faculty members both in domestic and international institutions.

INTRODUCTION

Many educators working in higher education have experienced the popularity of Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs) grow as new developments in software applications for educational purposes have hit the market. Numerous institutions of higher education have been experimenting with PDAs applications and usage in and out of the classroom. The University of South Dakota, for instance, hands out a new Palm pilot to every incoming freshman. Students use their Palms both in and out of the classroom (Seavy, 2001). Faculty members specially, and students alike, are beginning to find practical applications of PDAs for enhancing their teaching, professional development, and school work.

Applications are available to help students organize their classes and schedules. Applications are also available that allow students to plan their project due date and their studying requirement for specific tests. Students could also use the Internet capabilities of PDAs to access web sites for out of class assignments for the teacher. The usage does not stop here, though; students could use PDAs for their word processing needs, spreadsheet requirements as well as data base projects. Faculty applications are numerous as well, and the number of applications continues to grow. Application for faculty are available that not only records attendance and tests but also allows for the control and recording of results of homework and other assignments. Textbooks are available for downloading on the Palm, and faculty may even put their lecture notes on them as well. PowerPoint presentation can be made using PDAs, and many quantitative applications such as statistical packages are available for handheld personal systems.

The purpose of this paper is to explore and compare the use of this technology by domestic and international business educators and the way they perceive the use of this innovation by students in the near future.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Students and faculty members alike are finding endless ways to take advantage of the PDAs capabilities, both as personal tools to organize information, and as devices capable of supporting educational activities and projects.

Palm PDAs are going to be used by high school students to get and analyze economic data in Campbell, Ohio. The Concord Consortium, an education research and development organization, has used primary-grade students to measure and report seasonal heating and cooling trends using temperature sensors and PDAs (Rose, 2001).

This innovation has allowed students to learn how to apply technology to solve real problems. In Portland, Maine life sciences classes of sixth and seventh grade students are using Palm PDAs to conduct pollution research in the field. By using GPS locators, cameras, and temperature gauges, the students gather water temperature data, take photos, and input their findings in their Palms. After downloading the information into a computer the information is further analyzed and evaluated (Wood, 2002).

With Pocket Hyperchem Software, chemistry functions can be performed on PDAs that have Windows CE-based operating system. …

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