Educational Editorial: Handheld devices as educational tools

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –Our granddaughter, Kinsey, turned 5 on Monday. In addition to all of those qualities that cause grandparents to declare giftedness for grandchildren at birth, she has an iTouch…a small handheld device that looks like an iPhone without the capacity to call anyone.

It has games, songs, and videos and permits you to put it in a Barbie purse with lots of room for other stuff and replaces in one tool that weights less that a "Sippy" cup half full of juice all of the unique devices that you historically needed.

With typical fanfare, last weekend Apple started to deliver the pre-ordered versions of a new device called the iPad. With pre orders and store sales, analysts estimated that 300,000 to 400,000 would be sold the first weekend and 6 million this year.

Well, what is this thing that some skeptics call simply a big iPhone? It is described as a "touch screen" slate or tablet computer. It has a 9.7-inch diagonal screen and weighs 1.5 pounds.

As Apple jumped into the Smartphone market and transformed its nature, it has now taken on an idea that Microsoft unsuccessfully tackled with its Tablet PC ten years ago.

Imagine what it must have been like to pass the first handheld chalk slate around the classroom…and now make it instantly "upload" and display more information than you could ever grasp…like the great books for .99 cents.

Oh, and for the 5-year old, it is not a toy or piece of equipment, it is a three-dimensional chalkboard and an extension of her hand…with the world literally at her fingertips.

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