September 22, 2009
Sprint and GoKnow trial delivers higher achievement scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Sep 22, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- For years, schools have mandated policies barring cellphones from the classroom in hopes of avoiding disruptions to a student’s learning environment. Today, one school district in Michigan believes cellphones deserve a spot in the classroom. The Inkster Public School District is working with Sprint (NYSE: S) and GoKnow Learning, Inc., a University of Michigan spinoff that focuses on helping K-12 adopt mobile learning, to transform the device once considered a nuisance into a powerful learning tool.

During the 2009 summer school session, Inkster enlisted Sprint for a trial in which Sprint handsets loaded with the GoKnow software were integrated into the classroom to enhance the learning environment. The trial delivered results above and beyond the expectations of Inkster Public School District. Data showed that students in the district were performing below state standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. However, after this trial students involved increased their achievement scores on average by 25 percent.

This trial allowed students to -

  • Complete and synchronize ELA assignments using their cellphones with the Sprint/GoKnow technology programs such as Pico map (creating family tree and characterization using graphic organizers), Sketchy (story telling using animation software), KWL chart (vocabulary skills and activating prior knowledge), camera, video, and Windows Mobile (word processing) for lessons that went along with their online reading assignment of "Animal Farm" by George Orwell.
  • Learn how mathematics is integrated into everyday life through the district’s Culinary Arts Program. Students completed and synchronized assignments using the Sprint/GoKnow technology programs: Pico map, Sketchy, KWL Charts, camera, note taking and PowerPoint presentations. The lessons were designed with an emphasis on conversions and algebraic solutions.
  • Take a field trip to Comerica Park Baseball Stadium that integrated math concepts by using the seating arrangements at the park to determine which section of seating generated the most income. The students used their cellphones to gather data using Windows Mobile (Excel). The students also used their cellphones to capture pictures of the park with the objective of creating a slideshow presentation of their experience.

"We realize that students are digital learners with a firm grasp of technology, so integrating tools that they use everyday has provided some wonderful benefits," said Pete Lopez, director of technology, Inkster Public Schools. "The use of Sprint cellphones combined with the strength of the Sprint’s Now Network(TM) and the GoKnow software has enabled us to create both a mobile learning environment and a paperless classroom with immediate feedback that the students responded very well to. An added benefit is that our Title-1 district status allows us to receive federal funding for the cellphone service through E-Rate, a government funded program."

With a successful trial completed, Inkster Public Schools is proposing plans to implement this technology in all middle and high schools for the 2010-11 school year. The first step was to discuss results at the August 11 school board meeting. The Inkster Public Schools board members, superintendent, community, and stakeholders provided positive feedback regarding the cellphone initiative.

"The combination of Sprint’s Now Network and GoKnow’s innovative software turns a Sprint phone into a powerful learning tool that both teachers and students rave about," said Jaime Jones, senior vice president of General Business and Public Sector, Sprint.

"Teaching 21st century skills requires using 21st century tools. Inkster is demonstrating how to use the quintessential 21st century tool - the cellphone - for curricular purposes with Inkster’s students reaping the benefits," Elliot Soloway, PhD, CEO of GoKnow Learning and professor, University of Michigan.

Sprint serves Inkster Public Schools through its newly formed Business Markets Group (BMG). Composed of more than 4,000 sales, support, marketing and operations personnel, Sprint’s BMG is dedicated solely to enterprise, general business and public sector customers. BMG offers a unique combination of 3G and 4G technologies and applications, including integrated wireless-wireline services. The Sprint BMG unit delivers wireless, wireline and converged solutions for companies, drawing on the nation’s most dependable 3G mobile broadband network*, 4G capabilities that are well ahead of Sprint’s competition, the fastest national push-to-talk network**, and a comprehensive solutions portfolio of devices and applications.

For additional information about Sprint solutions for K-12, visit


Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving almost 49 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The company’s customer-focused strategy has led to improved first call resolution and customer care satisfaction scores. For more information, visit


GoKnow, Inc. is the premier provider to K-12 of educational software, curriculum and professional development designed expressly for mobile computers. GoKnow’s products provide new opportunities for teaching and learning with mobile technology. For more information, visit


Inkster Public Schools located just six miles southwest of Detroit, is one of the highest-needs areas in the State of Michigan, (90% of students attending our schools are eligible for free/reduced lunches and more than one in five students (22%) are designated special education), the impact of poverty and learning disabilities on the school community and on life greatly shapes the educational experience for our students and families.

* "Dependable" is based on independent, third-party drive tests for 3G data connection success, session reliability and signal strength for the top 50 most populous markets from January 2008 to May 2009. Not all services are available on 3G, and coverage may default to a separate network when 3G is unavailable.

** "Fastest" based on initial call setup time.

SOURCE: Sprint

Sukhi Sahni, Sprint, 703-592-7779
Jennifer Schuler, 913-794-3703
Inkster Public Schools
Pete Lopez, (734) 722-5310