Wellington’s Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has successfully instituted handheld PCs in the classroom, giving students and teachers instant access to the internet wherever they are in the school.
Year 6 students have 25 Hewlett-Packard Pocket PCs, to be used in two adjoining classrooms, while the upper school has 18 Pocket PCs, which are stored in a suitcase that has recharging capabilities. The suitcase with the PCs is booked in the same way as the computer lab.
This easy access to ICT resources in the classroom has enhanced the use of ICT across the curriculum, says the school. Students are no longer tied to desktops for internet access. They can also capture images, thoughts and sketches during investigations. Teachers also no longer have to take the whole class to the ICT lab just to look at a particular website or websites. Now, students can access the information they need in the classroom, when it is most relevant, saving on valuable teaching and learning time.
The pocket PCs also enable students to record and store data while on field trips and then upload it to the school network on their return.
The main challenge was setting up wireless coverage in the school’s solid, old brick buildings. This was overcome by using a variety of wireless channels, along with thorough testing to determine the best location for nodes.