What are Cellular Networks?


The boundaries between cellular networks and the Internet are blurring. Increasingly, and more so in the developing world, the "on ramp" to the Internet is a mobile device accessing the Internet via a cellular network that extends significantly beyond even the electric grid. The 3G cellular networks support broadband Internet, and with self-contained power, can be deployed in even the most remote locations. As the network expands, mobiles are increasingly the access point not only for common tools and communications, but also for information of all kinds, training materials, and more. Because they are always connected, many people are beginning to look to mobile computing platforms as their device of choice. For this group, mobile computing devices are more affordable, more accessible, and easier to use than desktop computers, and provide more than enough functionality to serve as their primary computing device. A major benefit for adoption in tertiary education is that institutions do not need to build, pay for, or support cellular networks; the infrastructures already surround them.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • your response here
  • another response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • At the school level in the UK (and possibly in HE I don't know) I suspect there is a big cultural challenge here in terms of acceptance of mobile devices being on in the classroom?? - andy.powell andy.powell May 17, 2011 Yes - but the distinction between a cellular device and a wireless device is changing. Look at the iPad which can have both. All that needs to happen is for the pricing model to change and the greater ubiquity of cellular might cause a greater shift into education. - david.harrison david.harrison May 18, 2011
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, research or information management within the next five years?

  • Several of the other 'technologies' listed in this wiki make no sense without pervasive mobile networks - e.g. social media technologies such as Twitter and many applications of geolocation. Assuming that we see significant progress in terms of both bandwidth and pervasiveness (is that a word?)... 3G->4G->whatever... then it seems to me that mobile networks will have a huge impact on teaching and learning over the next 5 years. - andy.powell andy.powell May 17, 2011
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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