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Palm Seeds Schools With PDAs

Taking a page from Apple's early playbook, Palm puts its hardware in front of students to win future sales.
Students at the Forsyth Country Day School outside Winston-Salem, N.C., won't just be asked to take out their books when school starts this fall, they'll also be asked to take out their Palm PDAs.

As part of Palm Inc.'s Palm Education Pioneer program, the company is awarding Palm hardware and software, valued at $2.3 million, to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities across the country. At Forsyth Country Day, about 400 Palm Pilots, model IIIc, will be handed to all ninth- through 12th-grade students and some faculty members. They also will get portable keyboards and educational software apps. They'll be able to use the machines to send and receive E-mail, and synch up with school and class Web sites.

Palm execs say they want to study how students use the devices and help raise academic test scores. Forsyth Country Day officials say they believe the PDAs will help students later in college.

Kids have "grown up with [these types of devices], and they love them. We want to help them learn with these devices," says Jolaine Harbour, director of education marketing for Palm.

Among the schools working with Palm are the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.; University of California at Berkeley, in Berkeley, Calif.; and Fremont Union High School District, in Sunnyvale, Calif.