Grasshopper: Almost NO bars on our cell phones within our classroom building, we are in the dead zone of the world, AT&T get better than T-Mobile, but still really not workable in our classroom.
I'm no expert, of course, but might a temporary wireless hotspot be made to serve the purpose? Some laptops and even phones can do this, I hear. One of your BYOD students might be able to set one up as an emergency backstop. Making it actually happen might be akin to practicing the Dark Arts...
By the way, "Guess My Race" seems really innovative: simple but powerful, like all great ideas. Thanks for introducing us to it. Issues of race and identity have always fascinated me since I was a child in Papua New Guinea.
Leedale: I know that BYOD is a big movement in education right now, but I like the idea of moving towards hardware-agnostic software (i.e. web apps), so that students have easy access to them at home.
"Hardware-agnostic software": what a great phrase! It's exactly what I've been seeking to describe the intersection of education, ITC and social justice.
@grasshopper: That game is really fascinating! Frankly, I was raised caucasian in a very caucasian area. There was one African-American student in my elementary school in my grade...ever.
Now, my closest friend is a Deaf Black woman. The amount of cultural information that I have absorbed from her is staggering about both cultures (Deaf and Black).
That app is really interesting, too, because there is a lot of racial stereotypes being slung around a lot in popular entertainment now. Some of it's respectful, some of it is not in the name of "making a point", and some of it is downright nasty. Apps like this really bring a different focus to it and bring up some excellent points for discussion.
To address the technical issue: Students could actually connect smart devices to the wireless at the school. It's kind of a pain, as I.T. has set up a portal that requires you to enter an email address. It's possible to share wireless from a hotspot as well, but that requires some kind of connection (cellular or wireless) to be pre-existing.
@Michael Barry I've been a proponent of "hardware-agnostic software" for awhile. Sometimes the best I can find is an open source application that's released for several platforms (like GIMP). Sometimes it's something like a Java program that will run wherever there is a Java environment installed. Sometimes it's a cloud-based application. I love the idea of it "just working", although that's rarely what happens, LOL!
My concern as someone who doesn't have much money is that I can't afford to buy a "cell phone" (which is really more of a pocket computer in this case) so my options in participating is such an environment might be limited. Assuming the education system in question isn't just going to give me a phone and a plan for free, I'd have to share with one of the "haves" or maybe there would be some classroom models (which isn't really BYOD anymore.)
I certainly don't mind it being an option, but having it be a requirement would be a problem.
It COULD be a workaround for IT problems in some cases, but some problems are network based. For example, my campus blocked access to Steam last time I checked. If the IT department is unwilling to let such things be accessed through their network, it's still an issue.
Lisa Nielsen, the author of Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning wrote an interesting article '7 Myths about BYOD debunked' in which she talks, among other things, about this digital divide. She points out that allowing the students who have devices to bring them to school will actually give the ones who do not have personal technology devices greater access to school-owned technology tools as less students will be competing for that access. Your text to link here...