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