Gavin Newsom is again trying to make his mark in San Francisco, announcing a plan to provide city-wide wireless coverage to all of San Francisco. Critics have sprung forward to take aim at the mayor’s lack of specifics, poor order of priorities, and duplication of effort. Newsom cites the need to bridge the digital divide as one reason for the proposal.
Absent from the most publicized responses has been discussion of the potential impact on schools. All schools are wired in that the Internet reaches the school, but many schools do not have comprehensive network coverage throughout all their rooms, never mind wireless coverage. If successful, a municipal wireless network (if free to schools) could have a major impact on the availability of the Internet in classrooms.
Ubiquity has the potential to take a technological innovation to the next level of use (witness email). What if students brought their laptop computers to school yet could maintain a connection wherever they were along the way?