How Do You Recycle…

…your old technologies?  In this case, your smartphone?

Resources and infographics like this one bother me.  Thanks,
It’s the statistic at the very bottom that should leap from the infographic.
The Afterlife of a Cell Phone

Yesterday morning, I read this article “Low Income Students’ Test Scores Leap 30% With Smartphone Use“.  It was a very interesting article to read and I shared it on my Twitter timeline.  @acampbell99 quickly got back to me indicating that this wasn’t the results of a BYOD initiative.  We’ve had this discussion back and forth many times about BYOD and he has really strong concerns about the equity issue raised by a digital divide between those families that can afford to purchase technology and those that can’t or elect not to.  Very legitimate concerns.

He is truly concerned and I would be neglect not to put in a plug for one of his latest initiatives which involves a fundraiser to purchase iPads for his school.

But back to the original premise for this post.  If only 1 in 10 cellphones are recycled properly, where do the others go?  I’m sure that in some families they get trickled down to another family member.  Or, perhaps the lucky ones go to a charity.  How many get totally discarded though?I was actually in a cell store the other day waiting my turn while a customer got a new smartphone.  It was one of those “must have” i-upgrades.  The sales assistant wanted to know if she wanted the original back.  The answer was “no – can you get rid of it?”

I gasped but didn’t think any more of it until I read the article above.  Has that device, or any of the others that would get turned in, truly reached the end of their life or are they just the victim of the owner just desiring an upgrade?

Even worse, what happens when a company or an organization that provides smartphones to all of its employees elects to upgrade them all?  One things lead to another and a couple of my followers chimed in.

Where do they go?
Why would stop them from ending up in a classroom?
Now, the goal isn’t to inflict a heavy workload on an computer support team.  But, if your school is wireless and accepts BYOD for those students who bring them, this may offer a realistic alternative to those who don’t/can’t.  The SIM card would be gone so you’re not going to use the phone part but with wireless access, what about the smart part?  How many times have you heard a keynote speaker or an educational leader espouse the power of a smartphone in a student’s pocket?  Even a disparate collection of smartphones work with a level playing field when connected to the internet and you’re using the internet browser.  You don’t necessarily even need to consider having another working application on the device.  (although that would be sweet!)
So, the question becomes, where do these discards come from?  Are you listening Bell, Rogers, Telus, WIND, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, RIM, …?  Wouldn’t it be a great corporate gesture to reach out and help a local school in this area?  Or how about the parents in your school?  When they upgrade, why not consider donating the older device to a classroom?
It’s definitely not for every classroom.  It would require a dedication and interest to get it started and then make it work.  Many of the stumbling blocks have already been addressed with the use of other technologies and you probably know the answers.  How do they get charged?  How do we stop theft?  How do the students authenticate?  What happens when one breaks or refuses to work?  Who do you turn to for support for these rogue devices?

Wild concept or do-able?  It looks like there are a couple of volunteers above who are willing to give it a shot.  Thoughts?  How do you recycle your smartphone when you upgrade?

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