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III. ACTION PLAN:    A. Technology Access    B. ICT Literacy    C. Professional Development    D. Community Involvement     [Data]

ICT Literacy Toolkit
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1. Standards
2. Research
3. Case Studies
4. ePortfolio Support
5. Presentations
6. More Resources

Effective Projects Case Study


Beaming Combos at Derry Cooperative School District


This is a story about a project that started 1/1/2007.

For more information, please contact: Deborah Vachon at


The unit was designed for 3rd grade students. The unit actively engages students in creating an organized list using an Excel spreadsheet on handheld computers to solve combination word problems.  After completing this unit, students have gained a better understanding of solving word problems in an organized list and writing their own word problems in testing situations.  Various activities were integrated across the curriculum into Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics and Science.  The materials used for this unit included Palm Tungsten PDA handhelds, PalmOne Wireless Infrared Keyboards, Tribeam Charging System with eXFiles, Wireless Bluetooth, various software products and a document camera.


Funding: This project was supported by $5,000 from NCLB Title II-D (Educational Technology) and $0 in local funds. The project illustrates how federal funding supports “Technology literacy for all students - Implementing systemic changes through robust curriculum integration with technology (includes student work with digital tools, distance learning courses, etc.).” The project addressed the following grades and content areas: 

 Gr3-5      EngLangArts  Math       


The Setting: Our school is in a suburban area.  We have a limited amount of technology resources available at the elementary school level. This project strives to enhance daily use of technology by introducing handheld computers (PDA’s) into curriculum.  Students were able to connect these classroom activities to the real world by discussing PDA’s with adults who use them in their occupations (ex. school board, administrators, parents, classroom visitors, relatives, etc.). Each student had their own handheld.


The plot: The biggest challenge was making the best use of our grant money.  We opted to purchase refurbished handhelds in order to purchase a document camera.  We would have ordered more keyboards and more software applications. The biggest challenge during the implementation phase was getting all the applications to work on an eMac computer.  Most applications are written for Windows based applications.


The teachers: 2 teachers were directly involved. Classroom teacher #1 taught students how to use and care for handhelds, write word problems and set up spreadsheets, beam, etc.  Classroom teacher #2 had students learn from classroom #1 use of technology then class #2 developed their own word problems and solutions.


The students: Students were proud of their accomplishments.  They came up with new and inventive ways to integrate this technology into curriculum.  They loved getting away from pencil and paper any time they could.  They also enjoyed teaching others, both students and adults, how to use these handhelds.


The data: Students were evaluated on using various technology applications and devising mathematical word problems with answer sheet.  Students needed to: learn graffiti, technology terms and meanings,  PDA symbols and meanings, PDA care and use, synchronization, beaming, keyboarding, charging PDA, using wireless Bluetooth,  Microsoft Word, Excel Spreadsheets, educational games, and troubleshooting,   A rubric was designed to evaluate each student.


The difference: PDA’s became a “hook” to excite students about writing, developing mathematical word problems and collecting data.  Students wanted to use PDA’s for every subject area.  They were evaluated on technology use as well as developing 1 individual word problem accompanied by an answer key created in a spreadsheet.  Many students devised more than 1 problem. Students felt they were really part of the global use of technology in the workplace.  They found may ways to incorporate PDA’s into classroom activities.  Students were able to teach others how to use PDA’s and the applications on them.


Essential conditions: The financial backing of the project was critical since PDA’s are not widely used in schools, especially at the elementary level.  Another essential part was the willingness of the teachers to let go and let students explore and find effective uses for the handheld technology.  Students actively tried and succeeded in solving technology problems and found many shortcuts in navigating the PDA.


Changes for the future: I would start project earlier in the school year now that I have the resources.  The grant was awarded in January then materials had to be ordered.  Throughout this process, we needed lots of tech support from district and from vendors.  We had to complete our grant documents by the end of April.  This school year, I started in the Fall and the process was a more positive gradual progression. I think the rubric was a great way to evaluate.  I am always looking for new software in different subject areas to enhance the resources I already have.  This will lead to different types of evaluations.


Recommendations: I would recommend purchasing a wireless keyboard for every PDA, 1-2 additional PDA’s for teacher and/or aide, a larger charging station, and possibly a technology support package.


Telling our story: Our project was embraced by our school district.  Students from my class gave a demonstration to our School Board and Administrators in the spring of2007.  We were presenters at the Derry School District Technology Fair in 2007 and 2008.  We were also selected to do a hands-on workshop at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference.  Our local papers have covered this project in various articles.


Documents to share:  Project description,  Lesson Plan,  Rubric,  Combination Word Problems & Solutions,  Photo page