Will mobile phones go back to school?

Will mobile phones go back to school?

All across America, kids are starting back to school this week, and among the highlighters and sharpened pencils, high-schoolers are packing cell phones in their backpacks.
That has some school administrators worried. Last week, in one example local to Silicon Valley, administrators at San Mateo Union High School District debated new policy to ban the use of camera and video phones. Echoing the fears that SMS messaging was the new tool of cheaters, school officials are concerned that camera phones will be used to snap photos of test papers. Apparently, these administrators have never seen a picture of a page of text as snapped by even the best camera phones. It would be far easier to study for an exam than to read the photo.
Certainly, it’s understandable that teachers and administrators want to eliminate distractions from the classroom. Ringing phones and electronic note passing diminish the learning environment. Cheating, by any means, cannot be tolerated.
Still, schools are trying to fight the tide with a paper cup. Technology is changing learning faster than old-school pedagogy can adapt. Mobile phones and other wireless communications and computing technologies enable collaboration among students, a skill that is arguably more valuable in the modern world than is the ability to learn by rote.
Imagine if mobile technologies were embraced, rather than banned, in the classroom. Imagine if kids learned to cooperate with one another rather than to compete on a curve. What if each student could contribute his or her strengths for the betterment of the group, rather than struggle to compensate for shortcomings? What if kids were taught to use technology appropriately, rather than having to leave their phones – camera or otherwise – at home?
As school districts across the country welcome their students to the 2004 – 2005 academic year, we would encourage teachers, administrators, and parents to reconsider their objections to mobile technology and embrace it for learning.

End notes

Vindigo Studios (DEMO alumnus) today launched Vindigo Traffic, a personalized traffic service for wireless subscribers. The service automatically sends text alerts and other continuously updated information to a mobile device, including features such as the estimated wait time for traffic jams, and interactive maps with flags marking delays by construction or accidents, the company said. For more details, go to www.vindigo.com/traffic.
If you’ve ever watched “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” and said, “I wish I were a lifeline,” you’re in luck. AOL and Buena Vista Television are adding an “interactive element” to the TV show by allowing AOL and AOL Instant Messenger users to become lifelines. To do this, add the “MillionaireIM” screen name to your Buddy List. When a contestant asks for the “Ask the Audience” lifeline, IM users can chime in as if they were in the audience, and the contestant sees the response of all the audience members and IMers who answered the question. Taping of the syndicated show goes from September 1 of this year through January 16, 2005. What is intriguing here is that AOL is using their instant messaging application to provide a sponsor/advertiser (the TV show) with instant access to a customer (the AOL IM users). Is this one step on the road to direct marketing between companies and their customers? Fortunately, this is opt-in, which means users have to choose to put the “MillionaireIM” as a buddy on their account, which should prevent thousands of pop-up IM ads from littering the desktop. For more details on the promotion, go to www.millionairetv.com.
Now that a U.S. court has upheld the legitimacy of the peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing application Morpheus, we’re wondering whether the masses will return to the levels of activity seen in the heyday of Napster (the old one) and Kazaa. One could argue that the activity levels never went away, but just moved on to other applications. Still, once companies like Apple and Real, and even Napster, went to a low-cost pricing model for music sharing, many users adopted this method for getting their online users instead of using the P2P software. The court ruled that the distribution of file-sharing software is legal, because the product is capable of “substantial non-infringing uses,” and that the company producing Morpheus cannot control the various uses that end users make of the software. For more reaction from the maker of Morpheus, go to www.vnunet.com/news/1157557.

DEMOmobile 2004

The search is under way to find the 50 products that will launch at DEMOmobile 2004, September 8-10, 2004, in La Jolla, California. DEMOmobile is a high-visibility launch platform that will set your company on the path to success. It’s the best venue for positioning new mobile and wireless products and establishing strategic relationships with the players who will lead you to success. The conference’s stringent selection process and excellent reputation serves as an endorsement for your product as it comes to market. DEMO events have helped companies like Palm, Handspring, IBM Pervasive Computing, Logitech, Mirra, Tapwave, Macromedia – even Microsoft – launch their products, create critical business relationships, and sell to thought-leading early adopters.
DEMOmobile 2003 demonstrators benefited from more than 162 million media impressions before, during, and long after the event.
http://www.idgexecforums.com/demonstrate/tour/index-demo2.html to learn more and complete an online application.

DEMOmobile 2004
September 8-10, 2004
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA

Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at chris@demo.com. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.

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