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Glenholme Students Carry PDAs

(Washington, CT)

Glenholme Students Carry PDAsWASHINGTON, CT - One parent stepped up to the plate. Then another, and another. They sat at round dinner tables at the annual Glenholme Auction. They were donating money for the purchase of Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs - that would be used by Glenholme students. With an enrollment of 95 boys and girls, parents offered to buy one and some offered to get two. When 20% were spoken for, one incredible man raised his hand and stated he would buy the rest!

With an eye toward the future, Gary Fitzherbert, Executive Director of The Devereux Glenholme School, knows that when students graduate from our program, they will be helpless without knowledge and training in all aspects of technology. He won't let that happen.

The goal in introducing PDAs to the student lifestyle on campus is to not only help the student with their special needs, but to prepare them for the future while teaching both accountability and responsibility.

For weeks prior to distribution of the PDAs to students, staff members in education, boarding, behavior and clinical areas have been devoted to instruction on their own hand-helds. Acquiring the needed skills through the adult Learning Center, staff and faculty know how to use the functions of the PDA as it relates to their students. More refined use will be taught during the year that will enable staff to utilize real-time information sharing as well as messaging students and staff. The hand-helds will eventually eliminate paper reports by managing both student and staff evaluations.

Mr. Fitzherbert spent time with the students, explaining the goals and use of PDAs. Excited for the opportunities these Personal Digital Assistants provide, students are trained in the use of regular functions that now assist with their organizational needs and personal information input. With continued training, students will enhance their skills in the classroom involving Word and Excel that can be transferred to projects through their PDAs. Students have taught their PDA their handwriting, used the voice record for memos to themselves, and as a verbal pass from one instructor to another. And of course, they all look forward to game playing once their work is completed. By the end of the year each student will have their goals, contracts, action plans, and primary behaviors on their PDAs.

More advanced functions will be activated throughout the year in the technology classes the students attend. These will include downloading approved music, downloading books to read, messaging through the WI-FI wireless connection to the network, and internet browsing during the academic classes.

Preliminary rules for the use of the PDAs are in place for the students. Their PDAs are not toys or gadgets but their responsibility and aids in structure and routine. They can organize their day and their future.

Which is the whole point.
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