The CTIA has announced plans to “start making its case for the educational value of cellphones”, and the consequent introduction of these into classrooms. It’s going to use research from a four-school trial in North Carolina (paid for by Qualcomm) where kids were given smartphones running Windows Mobile. “The students used the phones for a variety of tasks, including recording themselves solving problems and posting the videos to a private social networking site, where classmates could watch. The study found that students with the phones performed 25 percent better on the end-of-the-year algebra exam than did students without the devices in similar classes” reports the NYT. Is this just a cynical ploy to get governments and schools to spend lots of money giving a smartphone to every kid? Of course it is…but it does have a point. Smartphones can do most things a computer can do these days, and handing out phones instead of computers or laptops will give the benefit of digital help to more people for less money. Of course, the main difference is that phones have ongoing service plan costs, and the article notes that students were provided a limited amount of talk time and messages per month…and the messages were monitored for violations of the school’s standards.