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About the GBA Architecture:

  • 32bit system that uses the ARM7TDMI processor and runs on the RISC architecture
  • The system runs at 16.78mhz and has some powerful 2d acceleration
  • 96kb of video memory, 32kb of fast internal RAM, and 256kb of external RAM
  • The screen is 240*160 pixels, and it supports either 8bit or 16bit color
  • With the powerful acceleration, alpha blending, rotation, scaling, and creating a mosaic effect are all relatively easy
  • Operates in one of 6 different screen modes: 3 for tile and 3 for bitmap based games / graphics each with different abilities / trade-ofs etc
  • 4 standard music channels and 2 other channels that can be used for mixing sound effects (Not sure about this)

Tools Needed:

  • Bitmap editor (e.g. Photoshop or Paint)
  • Code Editor (e.g. Notepad or MS Visual C++)
  • Compiler (e.g. DevKitAdvance)
  • GBA with Flash cart and Linker (e.g. EZFlash) Or Emulator
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Learning Styles:

  • Kinesthetic: Child works best when able to move and do things with large muscles.
  • Tactual: Child works best when able to feel using small motor muscles and through personal relationships.
  • Visual: Child works best when able to see, watch, read and view.
  • Auditory: Child works best when able to hear, speak, discuss and think out loud.
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Do Schools Want ICT?:

Schools are really interested in how new technologies can help aid learning.

Research into using different computer setups can be cited, including simple 'image recognition and memory matching' software for including children with learning disabilities into the National Curriculum, and electronic white boards with responces from children such as:

How did ICT (Information and Communications Technology) help you learn more about Maths?

  • 'Everyone had lots of ideas to share'
  • 'I could see what the teacher wanted me to do'
  • 'It was quick to see all the different kinds of graphs'

What did you enjoy most?

  • 'It was fun writing with the special pen'
  • 'Using my finger to make the computer work'
  • 'Having a go'

This shows the children appreciate trying something new, having a variation in lessons and playing with tech.

Also, the building better schools program which is being launched in X constabularies(?) has resulted in architects making some beautiful designs for new schools, in which having acess to tech is an important part.

A US led, but worldwide, initiative to improve education and training via learning technology, 'Advanced Distributed Learning [Initiative]' (ADL), working to develop a common technical framework for (Web-based) e-learning, where content is centralised and shared to any device that connects to it, (i.e. pc, laptop, pda, gameboy?) Also plans for Medical and Higher Education.

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From RM:

"ICT is to education what penicillin is to medicine" - Estelle Morris speaking at an RM conference

  • Mobile (laptop and Tablet PC) offer increasingly important
    • Four-fold increase in volume between H1 2002 and H1 2003.
    • Tablet PC positions RM at leading edge.
  • Whole-class teaching products (interactive whiteboards and projectors)
    • Order intake value up 55% year-on-year
    • Innovative product range (Bluetooth support, ClassPad, Easiteach Studio ...)
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From 'Wireless networking in schools: A decision making guide for school leaders':

(A joint publication of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) and the Technology Colleges Trust. It results from a survey of schools which have been using wireless networks, some for up to three years, and is aimed at headteachers and others who might be involved in a decision whether to 'go wireless.')

"As yet, few schools have used palm-sized devices with pupils, though the slightly larger handheld computers date back to Psion devices of a decade ago. These have been widely used for dedicated applications such as datacollection for science. More recent handhelds, using Windows-CE, have not proved a great success in the business marketplace. However, some schools are using them very effectively, either limited to the handheld's own resources or backed up considerably by applications held on a school server (see the Huntington School exemplar on page 9)."

"Importantly, wirelessly linked portables take the emphasis away from ICT and keep it with the main concerns of a lesson. In the wireless world, the laptop computer is the learning toolkit. Like textbooks, maps, a protractor or a pair of compasses, it is just another resource to draw on (though an immensely powerful and multitalented one). The technology becomes transparent, restoring the emphasis on subject content, curriculum context and skills development."

Implementation tips from schools (Based on wireless but can be looked at for any tech):

  • Small-scale pilots help identify issues and shape future use.
  • Keep a curriculum focus - don't get carried away with technology.
  • Plan by setting up a team and see it as CPD for those involved - have a neutral chair, and include curriculum representatives and technical people. Also governors? Local business people? LEA rep?
  • Make sure all staff are well informed and convinced of the value of the exercise.
  • Training, training, training - technical and pedagogical.
  • An Inset day to plan and practise use has been the key to success in a number of schools - with continued periodic training/development sessions.
  • Consider appointing one or more laptop/wireless champions - pupils and staff.
  • Poor battery management can waste the laptop resource - make sure chosen models have good battery life.

When compared to a laptop, batteries are still the critical factor in 'anytime, anywhere' learning. About an hour and a half is realistic. In the survey of schools that was part of the project that led to this publication, more complaints were received about the difficulty of keeping batteries charged than any other issue. (Note this is from a WiFi paper.)

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From intouch!:

Education & Skills Secretary Charles Clarke announced new initiatives for 2004 at BETT that will see ICT transform education into "a service for the information age."

Mr Clarke said, "We have learners enthusiastic in their use of ICT, teachers with increasing levels of skills and confidence and
new strategies for learning and teaching. Our challenge is to bring this great resource together with partners, industry and government to deliver an education service fit for the information age."

The Secretary of State has announced that there will be £25m of additional funding set aside for interactive whiteboards in 2004-2005.

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From 'Handheld Computers (PDAs) in Schools Report, March 2003, David Perry':

The characteristics of the PDAs that met universal approval included:

  • small size - always with you
  • instant-on (no waiting for an operating system to 'boot up')
  • much longer battery life than laptops
  • the quantity of data they could hold
  • the 'up-to-dateness' (currency) of the data
  • the ease of synchronisation and sharing of data by infrared 'beaming'
  • the price advantage over laptops.

At their current state of development, responders suggested the following possible weaknesses:

  • small screens
  • not rugged enough for school use
  • lack of print-out capability (not applicable if networked)
  • the time it takes to input data (especially free text)
  • the necessity to charge batteries every night (cradles are a must)
  • costs of software and accessories
  • unstable data storage (but only if the battery is allowed to go flat) leading to lost work.

"We went into the school garden with the PDAs and made notes on the colours, sounds and sights of autumn... I do like the idea of using satellite navigation to find buried treasure as suggested on one [web]site. Maybe I could bury some in our local park!"

Usually, the second concern, after costs, revealed by our respondents tended to be the safety of children carrying such devices. This seems reasonable when mobile phone crime - especially among children of secondary school age - has reached epidemic proportions. However, the comparison with phones is not as close as it may seem, as PDAs are more easily kept out of sight away from easy access and are not used in the street.
Ironically, one US school has commented on the value of the cheapest, lowest functionality PDAs in this respect. They suggested that lacking the capability for MP3 music download and play, advanced games and instant messaging meant that these PDAs were much less attractive items for teenagers to steal. And low cost means a smaller loss when there is one of course.

  • "We use it in science lessons and save things on the memo-pad."
  • "I like to use it in maths, as it's got a calculator, and I like science... the teacher sent us the periodic table [for the PDA]."
  • "In some lessons, if the teacher wants some homework, he can beam it to you, and you can beam it to your friends."

Observers have speculated on the 'toy' effect, the quasi-adult effect, and, more prosaically, on the appropriateness of the size of the items and their interface to children. (A negative correlation with this is that many older adults certainly find PDA screens less than wholly appropriate for their diminishing eyesight and clumsy fingers!)
Whatever does it, giving children a PDA lights up their enthusiasm, though whether this will always be the case, whether they might tire of them in time, or whether PDAs will eventually become ‘yesterday's news', remains to be seen. In the meantime, there is potential here to be exploited by, for example, targeting disaffected boys.

  • "I thought it was a bit boring when it was just an organiser... when I found out people were beaming stuff, I was very interested."
  • "When I found out there were games I was happy!"
  • "When I first started school I hated it... but then I got the PDA and it doesn't bother me now."
  • "When we don't have the PDAs any more, I think I'll still be more interested in computers."
  • "It's a very full hour... time flies with the PDAs as you are having fun."


When they were asked whether using the PDA had changed their plans for the future, seven out of 10 in one group of pupils said that using a PDA had made them change their ambitions. The common answer was to make more use of ICT in their future jobs.

  • "I wanted to be an actress, but now I want to be a teacher and use PDAs."
  • "I want to be a footballer, but now I want to be into computers, in case it doesn't work out."
  • "If you're already good at ICT now, you'll work on it and get better at it... then you can have a career."
  • "I'll want to do more IT at high school."
  • "I'll do IT at primary school, then at senior school, then I'd go to university and do IT, but you've got to do hard work."

From the USA:

XXX University is using PocketPC systems in the classroom in physics, French, chemistry, health and exercise, and sociology. The Department of Computer Science has been very active in the programme. They found very little educational software available commercially for the PDA and so chose to develop some 80 small software applications, including:

  • interactive reference documents
  • interactive exercises
  • explanatory documents
  • annotated exercises
  • interactive quizzes.
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From palmOne Education:

School or Educational System: Manatee High School & Sea Breeze Elementary School, Bradenton, Florida
Grade Level: High school 11-12, Elementary K-5
"What we've seen is that the students are much more likely to do and complete their assignments using the handhelds."
Tina Barrios, Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Manatee County Schools

Also, this link may be useful, but they are palms, so less relevant

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Project Home

Project Proposal

Project Progress

Project Notes



Updated 02.05.05

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What's New?:
03/05/04: More Flash demos and new ROMs on downloads page.
19/04/04: More Flash demos and a new ROM on downloads page.
14/04/04: Updated Flash demo and a new written paper on downloads page.
23/03/04: Added a Flash demo and written papers to downloads page.
06/03/04: Added screenshots of Flash demos in progress to downloads page.
29/02/04: Had some publicity on GBADevr's and GBADev.

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