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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More $ For IT or Let Students Use Their Phones

Pete Reilly discusses a recent E-School News survey.

Nearly three out of four school leaders say they don’t have enough IT
staff to support their needs effectively, according to the survey.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they can’t maintain their
network adequately, 63 percent said they can’t plan for new
technologies, and 76 percent said they have trouble implementing new

Pete's continuing thoughts are correct, when operating on the assumption that we truly need school provided computers. 

I am becoming more and more convinced that the way schools might consider spending some of their tech dollars on providing students with free web/data access through the cell phone providers in the community.  It seems to me that a mobile provider could allow unlimited access to all students from the hours of 7:00 to 5:00 (or longer?).

Some benefits:
  • Cell phone venders and mobile providers would be the IT department.  Phone breaks, they replace or repair.
  • Families are providing phones to their kids at younger ages, and the phones many of them have are more powerful than the computers we provide in schools.
  • No need for filters!  Mobile providers could include visited web sites for the parents.  Then the responsibility falls more on the student and parent when it comes to viewing inappropriate material.
  • School finances could be spent on training teachers how to teach with phones.
  • Students would have the advantage of thumb-typing over the teachers, so students would have confidence in the tools.
I use an iPhone.  It is my first phone with web access.  It is $20 a month for unlimited data.  If teachers/admins/schools are afraid students would use the phone in bad ways, then get the iPod Touch, with no phone access.  Google Docs, Zoho, and other online office suites will allow students the software.  To me it makes too much sense not to do.  But how much trouble would a teacher be in if the made a cell phone a requirement for their class, in place of a notebook, colored pencils, and backpack?

Cell Phone
Everywhere web
Use it to learn, I do
"We don't need no stinkin' 'puters"

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