Category Archives: Internet

Pew Report on Wireless Internet Use

Here are some interesting findings on wireless Internet use, just published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (my emphasis added):

An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that 56% of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player. The most prevalent way people get online using a wireless network is with a laptop computer; 39% of adults have done this.

The report also finds rising levels of Americans using the internet on a mobile handset. One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. This level of mobile internet is up by one-third since December 2007, when 24% of Americans had ever used the internet on a mobile device. On the typical day, nearly one-fifth (19%) of Americans use the internet on a mobile device, up substantially from the 11% level recorded in December 2007. That’s a growth of 73% in the 16 month interval between surveys.

The report summary highlights the following:

  • 56% of all Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means.
  • Use of the internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
  • African Americans are the most active users of the mobile internet – and their use of it is also growing the fastest. This means the digital divide between African Americans and white Americans diminishes when mobile use is taken into account.
  • Broader measures of use of mobile digital resources also show fast growth from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
  • Other access devices – iPods, game consoles, or e-books – for now play a small role in people’s wireless online habits.
  • When mobile users are away from home or the office, they like mobile access to stay in touch with others, but also to access information on the go.

So what should we make of this?? Given the current trends in mobile, these outcomes are not that surprising; the third one is an interesting one.  With regards to device use, Pew mentions laptops but not netbooks, unless that’s what they mean by e-books. It is also strange to still see them using the word “handheld” which seems very out of place and obsolete in the report. The last finding shows that technology users tend to work across a variety of devices, which reminds me of some of the work we’ve done in ubiquitous computing. And of course it goes to show the power of mobile when we’re, well, mobile.

If only education would take heed just a little more……

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Pew Report: Future of the Internet III

 gypsy_fortune_teller

Earlier this week, Pew/Internet and American Life Project published its Future of the Internet III report, which is a list of technology predictions. Key findings:

  • The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.
  • The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
  • Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing arms race, with the crackers who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
  • The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.
  • Next-generation engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

Nothing really too earth-shattering based on what we know and discuss today. More predictions about the evolution of mobile communications can be found here, and also make sure to take a look at predications related to developments in the Internet user interface. Unfortunately, most predictions seem to be very conservative.

With regards to education, Judy Breck refers to a related Wired report that says that by  “By 2020, Access to Internet Will Be in Everyone’s Pocket. This is indeed a “FABULOUS opportunity to reconfigure education.” However, in order for that to happen we need more educators to start thinking about the use of student-owned digital tools (see my earlier post here) in schools (and outside of them as well).

 Image Credit: “Gypsy_fortune_teller” from Silverisdead’s photostream:
http://flickr.com/photos/56624456@N00/3118400365/

Saving the Internet, One ISP at a Time…

Click here

Since my last post on the Net Neutrality debate, there have been some developments that are positive. On August 1st, the FCC punished ComCast for illegally blocking Internet content. For the full story, see the SavetheInternet site, and particularly this post on the historic FCC decision. An excerpt:

In a landmark decision, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein approved a bipartisan “enforcement order” that would require Comcast to stop blocking and publicly disclose its methods for manipulating Internet traffic.

Tests by the Associated Press and others showed that Comcast blocked users’ legal peer-to-peer transmissions by sending fake signals that cut off the connection between file-sharers. Today’s decision follows a months-long FCC investigation, launched in response to a complaint from Free Press and Public Knowledge urging the federal agency to stop Comcast’s blocking.

More detailed information on the FCC decision can also be found here. This is good news, also for education. However, heavy filtering of Internet content is still common practice in many schools. Unfortunately, the FCC can’t help us there …

And as stated here , “This victory is monumental. But the fight to safeguard Net Neutrality is far from over.”

Image Credit: http://www.savetheinternet.com

Doodle 4 Google

I’ve always been fascinated by the Google Doodles that’ll show up on the Google home page on a regular basis. Today, the winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest is being shown. I think it’s pretty cool that Google had this contest.

To learn more about Google’s Doodles, you can learn about Google’s doodler, Dennis Hwang, here (how cool a job is that!). And if you want to see more examples of Google’s popular images, a quick web search (yes, using Google) will bring up plenty of them.

And of course, congratulations to Grace Moon, the winner, as well as all of the other finalists and participants. There were lots and lots of creative and interesting entries.

Image Credit: Grace Moon, Canyon Middle School Castro Valley, CA, at http://www.google.com/doodle4google/

Net Neutrality Debate Still Far From Over, and the Saga Continues

Click here

Even though I’ve been writing mostly on mobile devices and learning as of late, the Net Neutrality issue is one that continues to be just as important (and connected to mobile as well, with the current push toward developing the mobile web further. SavetheInternet.com posted a guest piece by John Kerry yesterday asking for feedback about Net Neutrality. And feedback he got!! It’s actually more interesting to read than the post itself. There were 101 responses as of the writing of this post.

In short, people who commented on Kerry’s post unanimously support Net Neutrality and condemn the big ISPs such as Comcast. Their comments can be roughly sorted into the following categories:

  • Protection of people’s rights such as freedom of speech against government and big corporate interests. According to Dale: The brilliance of the internet is that it provides everyone with an equal voice, an equal chance to be heard. To excel, to fail and to try again. To express alternate views in a world dominated by big commercial interests or repressive/regressive governments. To allow anyone to control this medium for purely commercial gain it, is to silence the voices we may most need to hear. Read also DynamicUno’s comments.
  • Protection of small businesses: for example, Internetman states that I am a small business owner of an internet-based travel business. My wife and I rely exclusively on our websites for income. Because of network neutrality, we are able to compete for business with such giants as Microsoft’s Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz and make a very good living. If network neutrality was removed, our entire livelihood would be destroyed. I can’t afford to pay any premiums just to put my business on the same level playing field as these internet titans, I would have no option but to fold my business.
  • Curbing big ISP abuses against customers and small ISPs: As cookseytalbott states: look at their behavior, censoring email from political sites, throttling applications like bittorrent, not fixing the golden mile, breech of privacy agreements for government domestic spying, not tending to massive bot nets on infected PC’s on their networks, random blacklisting of IP’s.

While education is mentioned here and there, mainly with regards to access to information for research and learning, it is not mentioned much. Imagine what could/would happen if government allowed the telcos (in this case Comcast and SBC) to basically control all Internet traffic. It is analogous to the ways in which governments and churches controlled society in the Middle Ages, by controlling the education of its people. Few people learned to read and write, and what they learned was determined mostly by the church, backed by the government. It wasn’t until the printing press (the Internet of the Middle Ages) was invented that things started to change, and many in power feared that the printing press would ultimately put them out of business. 

A free and unregulated Internet is a necessity for a democracy to work in today’s world. A democracy needs people who can think, be creative, have access to information that covers more than one point of view, and can express their opinions without the fear of being silenced by those in power who happen to disagree.

In any event, Net Neutrality is and remains an extremely important issue that seems to be disregarded by most major media outlets (I wonder why….). And as Crystal states in her comments:

If the internet does not remain free, you can change the Pledge of Allegiance to this

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Corporations of America and to the profits for which they stand, two nations, divided, with plenty for the favored few and slavery for the rest of us.”

A free people need education and information in order to act intelligently.

Please post your feedback here or with, even better, Kerry’s post.

Image Credit: http://www.savetheinternet.com

Carnival of the Mobilists #119

From mobilejones:

What’s amazing about this week’s offerings is that they themselves are a reflection of mobile’s push to data and multimedia in 2008. Handset companies, former handset companies, Internet companies, new entrants and social networking giants are all involved in mashups of services. And this CoM is a mashup of various media types to capture it all and bring to you….

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo: http://www.mobili.st/images/cotm-button.jpg

Becta’s Emerging Technologies for Learning, Volume 3

Becta has just published the third volume in its series Emerging technologies for learning, an annual publication. This series is worth a read, and I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas from it in years past. This year’s line-up includes articles on

Given the impressive line-up of authors I have to say that I’m proud and a little humbled to have been asked to contribute to the 2008 volume of the series. Highly recommended!!

Image credit: “nptechtag”; cambodia4kidsorg’s photostream:
http://flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/1343334854/