Trying Out A New Toy

Today I picked up a wireless modem card and service. I’m using it for the first time to make this post. I’m excited about the possibilities this provides. Now I can be online from anywhere I can get cell service … and it is respectably fast. Imagine being able to Skype or Ustream field trips and other experiences even when you are away from your network. And the best part is … someone else is paying for it for a year!!! How cool is that!

I wonder if any other teachers have used a set-up like this to connect remotely? I think I’m going to have a great time thinking up powerful ways to use this as a learning tool.

Learning is messy!

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6 Responses to Trying Out A New Toy

  1. Chris Craft says:

    Hey Brian!

    You’ve hit on something I am curious about. Verizon holds customers to a 5 gig per month limit, how are you going to keep that in check? Surely Ustreaming from some remote location will throw that limit out the window!

    This is a debate I’m dealing with, as I’ve considered picking one up too…

    Your thoughts on the limit?

    Chris

  2. Hi, Brian,

    I don’t have one, but that’s what we give families in our home computer Family Literacy Project. We used to connect them to DSL, but wireless makes it a lot easier — they can move their computers whereever they want and are not limited by the location of the phone jack, and when they change apartments or homes there’s no downtime to get computer service up-and-running again.

    Larry

  3. Brian, what did you get? SPrint? AT&T? Verizon?

    I’ve been thinking about getting one of these ever since I went into a school district that blocked access to just about every site I wanted to use for a workshop…if I hadn’t had the USB modem from Sprint, I’d have been dead in the water!

    I’d like to hear more about what you choose, how much it costs, etc. As of right now, I’m under the impression that a teacher can’t afford this on their salary…and would using this IN school be against school district’s acceptable use policy (bypassing district filters)?

    That second question is worth a blog post.

    Take care and I look forward to your sharing,

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the Corner-mGuhlin.net
    http://mguhlin.net

  4. Brian says:

    Chris – I’ll have to check that limit out … wasn’t aware … I know Will Richardson has one and he Ustreams with it (or has) we should ask him. I will limit my use of it otherwise I guess. I have wireless at school and in my classroom so I won’t be using it daily … although I was thinking about getting a cellular router and sharing the connection since our connection at school is overwhelmed and running slow. I’ll have to ask

    Miguel – Its Verizon, the modem is free, the connection is $60 per month. As far as bypassing district filters, yes it will do that however I won’t be cruising the net in front of my students … but I might access some YouTube videos that I’ve preselected for a lesson. If I did sharewith students using a cellular router I’d mainly use it to access sites that run the slowest for us. Example … Free Rice is useless after 6 or so of my students are on (we slow to dial-up speed or worse) and I would love to be able to use it more often. Would I have them doing searches for info for a project? Not sure … probably not with Google … we don’t run into the filter very often though … I can’t really remember ever having a student run into it on past projects … but maybe they haven’t told me.

    Larry – What a great idea … but pricey (around $1,800 per month for 30 students) … wouldn’t it be nice to do a pilot with laptops for everyone and get the modems and service donated or paid for? Thats how business should be supporting schools.

  5. Jim Gates says:

    Brian,

    I will be interested to hear your results. I use a Verizon card when I go to my cabin. The results are fair. I’m often kicked off the network, and the speeds aren’t the best. I understand that it depends a great deal on the towers you’re hitting, and it could be that my nearest tower isn’t upgraded. But, my speeds aren’t NEARLY fast enough to make it worthwhile to watch ustream or even to download a youtube video. The MOST frustrating part, however, is when it SAYS I’m connected but I’m not able to refresh a page, etc. I must disconnect and reconnect. It used to kick me off in the time it took me to read and reply to an email, so when I clicked send it would show me offline – and my reply was of course lost. At that point I was not a happy camper.

    Let us know how it works for you.

  6. Brian says:

    FYI – I just checked my account online and I see the 5GB per month limit … it says they can cut you off if you exceed that limit in a month. Any idea how fast that goes when you’re Ustreaming or Skyping?

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