Archive for January, 2012

Don’t Fight Change: Use Of Cell Phones In Schools

There’s been lots of debate by school districts over how to handle the rapid change in technology as small electronics become fully functonal computers. Ban cell phone use in the school? Ban cell phones from all school property? Or embrace the technology and integrate into lessons?

More and more, school districts are realizing that students use cell phones regardless of the policies they put into place, and that it’s easier to get the desired results (no disruptions in the classroom) if they make policies that acknowledge the reality of the situation.

If you’re a parent who thinks kids shouldn’t use cell phones until they’re 16 (or 18!), here’s some of the helpful ways teachers have figured out to use cell phones in classrooms:

  • To supplement outdated textbooks
  • As a calculator
  • As a dictionary or theasaurus
  • To display maps, art, or other infographics
  • As a research tool
  • As a vehicle that can store books, newspapers, and magazines

Beyond supplementing older tools, by allowing cell phone use in schools teachers are able to teach kids proper use of such devices including good manners, internet safety, and how to get reliable information.

If your local school is instituting such programs, a great way to show your support is to donate used cell phones or pay-as-you go minutes and data. Not all kids can afford to use cell phones, and donating used cell phones in the hands of every child is a great way to encourage technology in the classroom.

Unlocked Cell Phones May Get…More Unlocked?

Despite Apple’s reputation for being a control freak—keeping their app store behind an ivory gate, limiting what computer languages can be used on their devices—but they may some day through the American cell phone industry into a dynamic beyond unlocked cell phones.

There are many reasons to love unlocked cell phones: having no contract so you can get the best deal, being able to mod the software and delete the carrier junk apps (and then scratching off the corresponding branding), and just being able to say f-you to the companies.

Well, Apple may do all that for you. They’ve already told the carriers a big NO to branding and preloaded add-apps—but they were also recently awarded a patent that would extend those unlocked cell phone like services, AND do the work for you.

Basically, Apple would become a middle-man between the user and the phone companies, leveraging their iPhone popularity for the lowest rates, switching between or mixing and matching different companies without a user ever seeing a dip or change in service. They could even take payments, making the branding, contracts, and other junk associated with all the carriers obsolete.

Of course, unlocked cell phones would still have a place, since not everyone would want an iPhone, so you have to assume that a dual system of some sort would have to emerge, but it’s an interesting future to think about. You’d never have to risk bricking your phone to unlock it again!

Used Cell Phones For Emergencies

You already know how using your cell phone for everything—communicating, looking things up, finding a restaurant, checking the weather—is handy. You may not realize how cell phone have revolutionized emergency help, and how donating your used cell phones can help save lives.

Cell phones now help emergency response teams repsond more quickly, as dozens of reports fill in for everything from fires to car accidents, providing opporators with increased details that help save lives.

Of course, not everyone can afford cell phones, especially in this economy. Make sure that you keep your used cell phones out of landfills by donating them to a charity that redistributes them to the needy. Even without a phone contract, used cell phones help people place 911 calls in emergency situations, bringing help to areas where not everyone has a cell phone to call for help!

Used cell phones can also help battered women gain indepence, or used cell phones can be given to soldiers to help them keep in touch with their families overseas.

Pick your favorite program to donate your used cell phones to, or just find a local donation bin in your community.

If you’re not feeling charitable, you can always get Cash For Used Cell Phones. Just fill out the form for a free envelope, and off you go to saving for your new iPhone 4S or the latest from Android and Samsung!

Simplify With Unlocked Cell Phones

You may have heard of the iPPeel, a new device the puts a cell phone on the back of your iPhone. It’s designed to hold 2 extra SIM cards for people who travel a lot and want to avoid roaming charges by easily switching from one carrier to the next.

The thing is, there’s an easier (cheaper!) way. Unlocked cell phones work in a very similar way, you just have to change the SIM card yourself.

Unlocked cell phones are phones whose software has been unlocked so that you can use the SIM card of any network with the phone (Sprint is the only major American cell phone company that does not rely on SIM cards, although an unlocked cell phone originally sold by Sprint works on everything).

So, the upside to unlocked cell phones is that you don’t have to pay $70, and you can make calls with your own phone and phonebook without having a silly looking extra phone strapped to the back that elicits silly jokes.

The downside is that you have to keep track of SIM cards and physically switch them in and out of your unlocked cell phone, rather than having them ready to go, as the iPPeel lets you have two extra at all times. Of course, if you’re travelling so much you actually need such a device, there may be a better chance that two isn’t enough.

In any case, unlocked cell phones may be a better option for many people.

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