Term Paper: Blackberry

Pages: 15 (4123 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

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Blackberry is one of a number of devices called PDAs, or personal digital assistants, allowing the user to send and receive e-mails using wireless technology and cellular technology. Business has adopted the Blackberry to a large extent as a way of maintaining communication with employees anywhere at any time. The growth of this product has been facilitated by the widespread adoption of the cellular telephone. Schools have been used handheld computing devices in classrooms, and this has also accustomed individuals to their use so that they then carry this use over into the business world. Problems of accessibility and security remain, and business is addressing these as they arise.

The Blackberry is a particularly popular example of the new wireless computing technology. The product is produced by a company called Research in Motion (RIM). The Blackberry allows the user to send and receive e-mail from virtually anywhere, using wireless technology to connect to a network. Such technology joins the cellular telephone to keep people connected and mobile. This has had a profound effect on business and on the development and maintenance of social networks. The technology also brings with it new security threats that have to be addressed, and all wireless technology ads to the security needs for business and for the individual because such technology serves as a new point of vulnerability. Still, the convenience of the technology and the way it allows for the sending and receiving of more complex messages at any time has added to its appeal.

Clearly, the external environment for the development of this technology has been one of competition from a number of directions, with shifts in the marketplace as new products and innovations in old products attracted consumers and left existing products behind until they as well were updated and redeveloped. The handheld market itself continues to grow as the computer revolution extends outside the home and office and into the street, with more people seeking not just PDAs (personal digital assistant) allowing for the inputting of data but also handhelds with connectivity capabilities to access the Internet from virtually anywhere. Products that can deliver these services at a reasonable price have an advantage.

Full-sized portable computers are called laptops, while smaller devices are known as palmtops, or personal data assistants (PDA). There are other hand-held devices in use, but these are the most common and are produced under a variety of names by many different companies. Students and business people may use these and other devices for taking notes, accessing information, communicating with one another, sending e-mails, writing reports, and many other uses. Schmeltzer (2000) points out some of the uses in an education setting, writing,

Think of a lesson plan where students tackle the topic of how large objects are built with machines. To learn about construction concepts, the students use Palm handheld computers to make concept maps and share this work with their classmates. Then, they take a field trip to a construction site, record observations on their handhelds, and, upon returning to the classroom, they upload their observations to a desktop computer to help create a database (Schmeltzer, 2000).

In addition, Schmeltzer notes, the student takes the handheld home and uses it for study. This use of handhelds is not simply a manifestation of more expensive and elite schools but of average public schools today, as Schmeltzer notes with reference to Michigan school districts: "Experts from the University of Michigan... are helping to implement programs that bring handheld computers into classes in Detroit and Ann Arbor" (Schmeltzer, 2000, 11). Such uses prepare the individual for continuing to use such devices in the business world.

Norris and Soloway (2003) also note the power of handheld devices in the classroom and state that such devices are being used in lower and lower grades:

Ample empirical data from the past 25 years suggest that when certain conditions are met, computing technology has a positive impact on learning and teaching in the primary and secondary grades (Norris & Soloway, 2003, p. 26).

The authors state that there is a range of impacts perceived, including increased time on task, higher test scores, lower cost, and increased motivation. The research literature suggests that there are six conditions that must be met for such benefits to be realized: 1) sufficient access to technology; 2) adequate teacher preparation; 3) effective curriculum; 4) relevant assessment; 5) supportive school/district administration; and 6) supportive family/community: "These conditions are needed for any educational innovation to be successful" (Norris & Soloway, 2003, p. 26). Similar requirements are found for use in the business world, with necessary support from the company and even the industry.

Crane (2001) also finds that such technology is being used much more at the high school level, with handheld devices like the Palm Pilot seen in the hands of students so that the product "is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the K?12 landscape. Its handheld computers are being used in innovative ways to promote student independence, increased productivity and group learning" (Crane, 2001). Students make use of these devices throughout the day, revising their schedules and to-do lists, keeping locker combinations handy, using the devices as a calculator for mathematics, reading current events on downloaded newspapers, taking notes directly into the Palm, uploading notes from others when class is missed, and so on: "Contrasted with a paper notebook full of illegible scrawl, the Palm-assisted notes are infinitely more useful for these students" (Crane, 2001).

Branch (2000) reports that many companies offer assistance to teachers in the process of introducing handheld technology to the student, such as a recent multi-company summer session showing teachers and administrators how to use and integrate technology into their school districts. He calls this "a quiet educational revolution" and explains, "Although small, and unlikely to change the universal learning landscape in and of itself, this revolution is no less profound to its participants" (Branch, 2000).

Schmeltzer (2000) discusses a program intended to accomplish much the same thing by introducing students to the handheld devices available and training them in their use. This is only one of several programs of this type, this one started by the experts at the University of Michigan's prestigious Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education (referred to as the hi-ce center).

The experts at the center developed learner-centered technology and curriculum to address the needs of today's schools. This program has been in close collaboration with the Detroit and Ann Arbor public school districts and has produced a new generation of middle-school science curriculum and software supporting students' active learning styles and teachers' instructional strategies:

The center also develops practical models for professional development, assessment, instructional practices, and home-to-school-community integration (Schmeltzer, 2000).

At one school, prior to this program, none of the students had ever used a handheld computer: "In just five class periods, the 11? And 12?year-olds were navigating as easily as they do the latest Nintendo game" (Schmeltzer, 2000). Schmeltzer also notes some of the singular benefits of handhelds in the classroom environment when he writes, truly effective learning tool supports teachers and students. Teachers can check students' work quickly by examining Palm-produced documents that have been transferred to a desktop computer. Each electronic Palm portfolio becomes the "evidence" of learning that a child can easily share with parents (Schmeltzer, 2000).

A teacher at another school finds other benefits to the use of handhelds:

Schottler is happy with the way the Palm program is helping her students. Where students used to have trouble reading their own notes, now legibility is not an issue, and grammar and spelling can be corrected when the pressure to pay attention to the lecture is off. Because they do not have to rely as heavily on adult input, the students show increased self-esteem, self-sufficiency and a general sense of fitting into the school setting that they may not have felt prior to the Palm program. Schottler sees for herself that having the Palm "can help them be a better student." Self-confidence can be a wonderful high. The "students are on a positive wave?

they can feel good about school" when they have these Palms to help them keep up with the other kids (Crane, 2001).

Many of these benefits might be achieved without the use of handhelds, of course, but the training students receive in this way translates to further use of technology later, which is becoming more important as the world becomes more technologically oriented and as employment may depend on the ability to adapt to new technologies.

Handhelds include small computers, schedulers, telephonic devices, even teaching aids offering specific content to users. More and more schools and businesses are making use of these devices.

The development of this business has been relatively rapid, building on the cellular technology that began to be marketed some two decades ago. The cellular telephone has become ubiquitous since that time, changing the way people communicate, enabling them to stay in touch from virtually anywhere at any time, altering the way… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Blackberry.  (2007, April 17).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/blackberry-one-number/873713

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/blackberry-one-number/873713.