According to this article, students are involved in a reclaiming project with a local creek. Once a week, they travel to the creek, handhelds in hand, and do experiments, as well as collect creek data and weather data.
The article points out that this school has a majority of students who are either below poverty line, don’t speak English as a main language, or both. The handhelds allow them to work with these students, and allow the students to work with each other, as well as expose the students to new technologies.
The article continues by saying that students share their research work with the community, allowing them to reach beyond the walls of the school, as well as the walls of home.
The students are very involved with the project, and the article indicates they are definitely learning, asking questions, and going beyond normal classroom activities. In this instance, collecting data from the creek might not be possible without the handhelds. So this article does show one instance where handhelds are certainly making a difference.
I picked this article, because it was one of the ones which came up when I searched for 3-4 grade articles dealing with handheld devices, and also because I thought the title, “Reclaiming a creek offers students hands-on lessons” was very interesting.