Thursday, May 13, 2010

Student-owned Wi-Fi?

Lifehacker reports that the next version of Android operating system could contain "built-in USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot sharing." As an Android owner this is exciting, but what could be the future implications for schools? Obviously this will not be on everyone's phone overnight, but what about five -ten years from now?
Will this type of technology make cable connections obsolete?

Is paying to put Wi-Fi hotspots in school buildings also a waste of money?

Will schools allow students to use this technology or pay waste money on equipment to block the signals?

Will this help end the filtering debates and make CIPA irrelevant?

I think every school should be 1:1 with internet devices. Allowing student-owned devices is the cheapest way to achieve this. This kind of technology could also finally make internet access available to everyone at a reasonable cost and help level the educational playing field for all children. Or educators could get scared and reactionary and do whatever they can to prevent this technology from being implemented in schools. Hmmm....

Thanks to @ijohnpederson for pointing out the article.


  1. I'm afraid that there will still be students like mine whose parents can't afford it. If schools don't help our poorest students keep up we are perpetuating the class structure that is already in place.

  2. I teach in a district with around 70% free and reduced lunch students. These same students have the latest gaming systems and cell phones and many have data plans. Many people of poverty still spend money on technology/entertainment. If one student can deliver a hotspot for a few others than the poor students can share that with those who have it.

    I also think that the majority of phones will have internet access within three years. So we supplement the few who do not have the technology by sharing with the kids who do.

  3. I agree. Kids already have the devices; we just need to learn how to teach using the devices as literacy tools.

  4. Schools cannot block signals due to US federal regulations.

  5. @John I can not find the article but I know I read something about a school putting in a jamming device to block wi-fi. I can see schools lobbying for an exception to the law to block instead of using it for student learning.