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SMS and wireless internet free to Minneapolis students

June 15, 2009

The fact text messaging actually costs carriers nothing  combined with the fact that free wireless internet service is also available to connect students in Minneapolis with the servers at Minneapolis Public Schools means that students and teachers in Minneapolis should be able to use Twitter and Moodle in their “classrooms”  which could be anyplace in the city for free.  The only cost then becomes the cost of the devices and the cost of training teachers and students how to use these tools.  The cost of devices is not much more, if any, than the cost of textbooks.

Due to the nature of the system used by carriers to send text messages between phones, texting does not cost the carriers any money at all.  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/business/28digi.html?_r=3&partner=rss&emc=rss   This is because SMS messages are designed to fit inside the bandwidth alloted to the “control channel”, which is used to establish communication between the mobile phone and the cellular tower. This channel is continuously active, so the messages are piggybacking on the control signal, for free.

It is essentially only our ability to think through the logistics of using the current technology that is keeping us from doing what is being done in colleges like the UT Dallas and will be done in UK elementary schools according to the recently announced plans.

I did a search on twitter in the classroom thinking I would get to the Youtube video of Monica Rankin and instead I found out that we’re already using Twitter in the classroom in Minneapolis.

The path seems to be getting shorter by the hour !  Now, we just need to get everybody on board.

One Response to “SMS and wireless internet free to Minneapolis students”


  1. Great Post!!! I’m on board. I’d love to get a class set of netbooks for my AVID students, connect to the Wireless Minneapolis Network, and turn Minneapolis into my classroom.

    How great would that be. I’ve seen the Roosevelt video and read an article about it. That is the future.

    I love the comparison to textbooks. Netbooks are about the same in cost but hundreds times better in uses. Let’s throw out the text books, put a netbook in every students hand and create curriculum around primary sources found on the new-fangled inter-webby thing.


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