Learning happens anytime anywhere

November 23, 2013 :  Comments have been turned off on this site. The barrage was endless and the vitriol intense. Comments that do get through to me will not be posted or responded to. Thanks for your understanding. This site remains up for anyone in another district who might have to fight a similar battle in their school district and is looking for resources.

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  1. Wifi is essential to our children’s 21st Century Education. Removing it sets up even greater roadblocks to an already challenging future.
  2. The health risks and concerns being raised by the Anti-Wifi coalition are not substantiated by science, nor by the many different publicly funded regulatory bodies in Canada who are charged with ensuring the public’s health.
  3. The alternatives proposed to address this unsubstantiated risk will incur additional, unnecessary costs on an already stressed public system

Opponents of WiFi in schools would have you believe that there is nothing lost by banning WiFi in schools and that the alternative to enable internet access in schools is wired internet connections. While this may sound like a reasonable compromise, it is a major step backwards for our education system.

WiFi restrictions reduce and, in some cases, eliminate access for our children to the largest educational resource ever created -  the internet. It imposes limits on the types of tools our teachers can use, and negatively impacts the education of our children.

We need to take a balanced and rational approach based on weighing the benefits against possible risks. Anti-wifi advocates believe banning WiFi has no pedagogical consequences for our children. This site is dedicated to debunking that line of thinking and advocating that we actually lose the very thing we have established schools for in our society – educating our children to the best of our ability.

Photo credit: Brad Flicklinger Used under Creative Common Attribution license

101 comments on “Learning happens anytime anywhere
  1. Mrs. M. Blainey says:

    If you believe there is no scientific evidence that WiFi is harmful (especially to children) then you are not reading beyond what the Communications Industry wants you to believe.
    Any other legitimate science has been suppressed by the very industry. Health Canada has admitted that Safety Code 6 does NOT cover the electromagnetic (radiation) emissions put forth by cell towers and all other WiFi devices. It covers only the thermal effects from EMF as in cell phones. It does not cover non-thermal effects which is where the harm is done at the very core or your being. Teachers should learn to teach subjects based on logic and reasoning, not how to use a programme that tells you the answer without using your brain. Computer involvement should be limited to certain classes in the daily curriculum not used all day, every day.

    • Clint says:

      Thanks for your comment. I disagree with your position, which is why I have set up this website. If there are health concerns, the people who should decide and advise otherwise should be health authorities, not school boards. To date, Health Canada, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, BC Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and British Health Protection Agency have all unequivocally stated that WiFi is safe (see the Refuting the Danger page). Until they say otherwise, then we owe it to our kids to give them the best learning environment we can, and that includes WiFi access.

      • Carl Katz says:

        Clint,

        Regarding the UK Health Protection Agency, in 2007 in a BBC show, the former head of the British Health Protection Agency, SIr William Stewart, a biologist said on British TV in 2007 (Panorama episode) that the rollout of Wi-Fi should stop until further testing is done.

        Stewart had commissioned a report on cell towers written called “The Stewart Report” which showed some indications of cancers and cognitive issues.

        So far, two Harvard educated doctors have come forward and warned about Wi-Fi. One is Dr. David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at UAlbany’s School of Public Health. The other is Martha R. Herbert, Ph.D., M.D. a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

        Dr. Stephen Sinatra, board certified cardiologist, former Chief of Cardiology at the Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut calls wi-fi an invisible toxin and a silent killer based and compares it to radon gas.

        Are all these doctors to be ignored? Why do you think parents are so upset, especially the ones who are electrosensitive and the ones who have children who are electrosensitive?

        A subset of people (children included) who are sensitive experience heart arrythimia’s – dramatic increase in heart rates. Cardiologist Dr. Sinatra describes this as non-diagnostic ventricular tachycardia.

        One would wonder what the motivations of all these highly educated people warning about wi-fi. Could it be that they are actually concerned about the welfare of our children?

        To believe that Health Canada (HC) is looking out for the public’s interest is woefully naive. Dr. Shiv Chopra who was a researcher at HC who was fired because he did not want to approve certain drugs. He was told point blank that his job was not to represent the interests of citizens but those of industry.

        • Clint says:

          And since 2007, further testing HAS been done. The British Health protection Authority (the UK equivalent to Health Canada) has been working on this since 2007 and has not changed their position that WiFi is safe.

          Additionally, that Panorama report has been heavily criticized for a number of reasons (you can read Ben Goldacre, Science writer for The Guardian’s take from when that program originally aired in the UK in 2007). One criticism is that it relied heavily on information from a person who has a company that sells devices and equipment that protect you from the dangers of wifi. (incidentally, I love how the science teacher who had his/her class invaded by the Panorama crew used the “experiments” conducted in the classroom as a teachable moment for students on what bad science looks like).

          The Stewart Report looks at cell towers, not wifi. Different issue.

          Dr. David O Carpenter is the author of the Bio-initiative report. I know his work on that report, which has been criticized by a number of health organizations.

          My position remains the same – let our public health officials who have the skills and tools to judge the validity of the science & potential health implications do their jobs, and so far in the myriad of work and studies they have reviewed, WiFi is safe.

    • “Teachers should learn to teach subjects based on logic and reasoning, not how to use a programme that tells you the answer without using your brain.”

      As a Philosophy graduate, a former History teacher, and someone who now works for an Internet company I don’t really know where to start with this statement. Wow.

      • dyr2 says:

        Philosopher Doug,

        How about arguing to the main points of this website, which so far I’ve found to be very wrong?

    • Drew Gardner says:

      My brain hurts from how stupid your statement is. No scientific study has ever found negative effects from electromagnetic fields. I can’t think of a single school subject that shouldn’t use the internet except for maybe p.e. in history it allows you to check what text books tell you, because many of them do have a bias. In English you have access to more literature, and can look up different interpretations compared to your own.
      The only reason to ban Wi-Fi in schools is to torture your schools IT techs. A wireless network is so much easier to set up than trying to run Ethernet cable throughout an entire school.

    • Mitchy Rich says:

      This is the same bullshit the anti wind turbine lobby beats the drum about, with zero science to back themselves up.

      Humans are exposed to far higher levels than radio towers etc, by natural means every day.

      If your claim was even close to true, can you imagine what would happen every time there was a solar flare? We’d be vapourised.

      • mari says:

        interestinglt the dr. who did the brain blood barrier tests in rats is not even sure. use common sense not fear mongering about wifi technology. some are just making money from it as the next big scam. here’s what dr. leif salford wrote:

        We have demonstrated that microwave exposure produced an unequivocal effect on the BBB in rats. The clinical importance of this finding, however, is disputable…may be harmless to the brain, and requires further investigation.

        http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/persson_bbb_wn97.pdf

        there is no proof of damage.

    • Evidence, or it didn’t happen.

    • mari says:

      I have listened to this latest scam in awe of the “believers”. Do you people know any physics at all? Do some research cause you sound a bit ridiculous. You’d best remove your microwave, TV and radio from homes and schools as well. There is no evidence that any damage is caused at all in the last 100 years of using low frequency radio waves and you sound like someone who might have been afraid of the radio in your home in the 1930′s. Further Dr. Salford who everyone on these money making websites is using to convince people WIFI is like have a brain hemorrhage actually states this in conclusion:

      “We have demonstrated that microwave exposure produced an unequivocal effect on the BBB in rats. The clinical importance of this finding, however, is disputable…may be harmless to the brain, and requires further investigation”.

      http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/persson_bbb_wn97.pdf

      This is just a bunch of useful idiots making money and fear mongering at gullible’s people’s expense. Use common sense when using WIFI. That’s all.

  2. As a teacher, a professor in education, and a parent of elementary school-aged children, I support wifi in schools. I will defer to Health Canada, VIHA, BC MoH, WHO, and the like to come up with their conclusions on this topic. If opponents have a problem with wifi in schools, then I would encourage them to take up their cause with those who regulate wifi safety and NOT those who implement based on approved findings. I see first-hand how my children’s learning is supported by their wifi-enabled devices (laptop, ipod touch, ipad). Frankly, I have had enough inequity in our school system whereby independent schools have moved forward with supporting learning with wifi and mainland K12 schools have moved forward. Alberta Education has even provided a guide to help their schools implement what is called BYOD (bring your own device). The guide to support their current practices can be found here: http://education.alberta.ca/media/6749210/byod%20guide%20revised%202012-09-05.pdf

    I should not have to move off the island or switch to private schooling in order to have 21st century learning supported for my children. As far as I can tell, the anti-wifi movement is a small splinter group with very loud voices, and I encourage those who support wifi in schools to speak out. Currently, we have wifi at the rec centre, at the mall, on post-secondary campuses, at the beach, all over downtown, in libraries, and yet, for SOME reason, K12 education – where it can benefit from its implementation THE MOST – is where a small splinter group is holding us back on the Island only it seems. When I speak with teachers on the mainland and report the troubles here, the response is agast. They’ve been using wifi in schools for a long time now in elementary schools through to secondary and report they could not do their job without it. Looking forward to redirecting our local district to observe the health officials’ findings and act based on them as opposed to the smallest group with the loudest voice – or worse – they threaten and take legal action as I understand it. I find it shameful to hear of some groups who are threatening a school district with legal action when resources are low as it is and those districts are trying to a) support 21st century learning and b) conduct business within safety codes of government-regulated limits. Let districts do their job and use their resources for supporting our children’s learning as opposed to paying for lawyers to defend their actions. I encourage those with anti-wifi sentiments to take their legal fight to the health officials and not those who follow their advice.

    • Janis Hoffmann says:

      As many of us across this country already know, Health Canada often relies on studies that are predominantly industry-funded to say, “There is no evidence of harm”. The exposure ‘guidelines’ we have in Canada were meant to protect the public against the induction of heating effects only, NOT against non thermal biological effects from radio frequency and microwave radiation

      Because it is unethical and unlawful to experiment on children, there have been no studies done on the biological effects of Microwave Radiation on Children. Nowhere on the Health Canada site does it say, Wi-Fi is a regulated technology that has been tested for safety for children in schools.

      This is not a decision that should be made by members of the Board who have a vested interest in the multi-million dollar BC Education Plan where the promotion of wireless devices is presented as the only means to educate our children. Wi-Fi is not a learning tool, Wif-Fi is simply an Internet Connection and existing Hardwired is the safest option for connecting to the Internet. It is 100% safe

      We must insist on the ‘Precautionary Principle’ until we know for sure that Commercial Wi-Fi Transmitters will have no short-term or long lasting detrimental effects on our children.
      Just Released!!!
      February 20, 2013. I just returned from a hearing in Montreal in front of the Superior Court of Quebec where Health Canada scientist, James McNamee, admitted that the Safety Code 6 guideline for microwave radiation (which includes radiation from most of the devices we are concerned about like mobile phones, cell phone antennas, Wi-Fi, wireless toys and baby monitors, smart meters etc.) is based ONLY on preventing a heating effect!

      Let me state that again. Health Canada admits that Safety Code 6 for frequencies between 100 kHz and 300 GHz are based ONLY on heating.

      Why is this so important?

      For years Health Canada has stated that Safety Code 6 takes into consideration and protects the public from both thermal and non-thermal effects. They made this statement to groups concerned about Wi-Fi in schools and to those concerned about smart meters and cell towers coming into their neighborhoods. While they are technically correct in their statement, they mislead the public by what they failed to mention. What Health Canada failed to mention is that the “non-thermal” effects are considered ONLY for frequencies between 3 and 100 kHz. For frequencies between 100 kHz and 300 GHz ONLY thermal effects are considered and cell towers fall within this “thermal range.”

      http://www.magdahavas.com/health-canada-admits-safety-code-6-guideline-for-microwave-radiation-is-based-only-on-thermal-effects/

      16:9 with Carol Jarvis 14 min
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN7VetsCR2I

      Bio Initiative Report 2012 (December 31, 2012)
      The scientific findings of over 1800 studies conducted over the last 5 years on low level radio frequency, microwave radiation exposure associated with wireless communications and harmful effects to human biology has just been released. 29 researchers, science professors and medical experts wrote this report from 10 different countries. The Bio Initiative has reviewed over 4000 studies (2007 & 2012) and summarizes for the public their findings in this report, concluding that updates to public health policies (Health Canada) and exposure standards are urgently needed, in particular as they pertain to children and the unborn.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics (December 12, 2012)
      “Children are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. The differences in bone density and the amount of fluid in a child’s brain compared to an adult’s brain could allow children to absorb greater quantities of RF energy deeper into their brains than adults. It is essential that any new standards for cell phones or other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable populations to ensure they are safeguarded through their lifetimes.”
      Internet access in the 21st Century is a cornerstone to enriched education and can be achieved with safer hard wired connections in schools. Wireless internet is not a necessity to learning; however, good healthy minds and bodies are. Let’s not place the convenience of ‘no wires’ before the safety of our children lest we regret the day clear warnings were wilfully ignored.

      Summary Conclusions
      http://www.bioinitiative.org/conclusions/

      For Distribution:
      http://www.bioinitiative.org/media/spread-the-word /

      Bio Initiative 2012 Working Group – Participant’s Credentials
      http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/sec25_participants.pdf

      • Scott Leslie says:

        “As many of us across this country already know, Health Canada often relies on studies that are predominantly industry-funded to say, ‘There is no evidence of harm.’”

        Really, “many” people across Canada know this? Why are they still paying their taxes if what they are funding is fraudulent?

        “non thermal biological effects from radio frequency and microwave radiation” – wht are you talking about? By definition these waves are incapable of producing anything BUT thermal effects because of the frequencies they use. This is nonsense. Please read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ionizing_radiation – this is WHY THEY ONLY ARE CONCERNED WITH HEATING EFFECTS.

        How do the “members of the Board [who] have a vested interest in the multi-million dollar BC Education Plan”? Meaning – they have an interest in seeing children educated? Sure!

        Finally it is clear that the conspiracy expands beyond Health Canada – no fewer than 8 national and international health or technology councils have also declared its findings selective, biased and unbalanced (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioinitiative_Report#Criticism)

        • Bob Bichen says:

          It seems you were away on the day they taught induction in physics class. According to you, the alternator in your car is incapable of charging the battery, because thermal effects are the only thing that an electromagnetic field can produce. That’s too bad, it must be hard to start your car in the morning. And if as according to you: “these waves are incapable of producing anything BUT thermal effects because of the frequencies they use” then they would be incapable of transferring a signal from one device to another. Do you have any idea how ridiculous your claims sound? If not, please re-read what you wrote. It seems you are also unaware that the human body is an electrochemical device that signals at levels in the range of tens of millivolts. So called “Safety Code 6″ actually allows an instantaneous field strength of 100 kilovolts/meter (100,000 V/m). If you think that’s not capable of affecting 10 millivolt signals at the distance of a child’s body to a laptop or tablet, you have a few more things to learn about physics.

          I guess in the 1950s the thousands of doctors recommending smoking cigarettes for good health were all “in on the conspiracy” to sell tobacco too. It couldn’t have been because well funded vested interests were very capable of suppressing the good science that was showing harm even back then and for decades after if you are to be believed. Where do you tinfoil hat conspiracy types come up with this stuff?

          You just don’t get that if peer reviewed repeatable science shows harm, then there is harm whether you read it and/or believe it or not. Science does not work by consensus. Collecting studies that scientifically prove harm into one report does not constitute “bad science,” it constitutes a reasonable rebuttal to a very powerful and incredibly well funded lobby group that has produced a body of work where about 75% of their “studies” show no harm. When the sample of studies is filtered to remove those with funding conflicts of interest, the percentage is down to about 25% or less. This vast difference in ratio of positive to negative studies is not explainable by statistical anomaly, but rather indicates a clear bias in the results according to funding source.

      • Clint says:

        Hi Janis,

        “Wi-Fi is not a learning tool,”

        This, for me, is the heart of the argument. WiFi IS a learning tool, and a crucial one moving forward at that. 21st century learning is predicated on the fact that our children will live in a world where they have 24/7 access to information, resources and learning communities wherever and whenever they need them. This just in time learning model underlies educational initiatives such as 1 to 1 initiatives where each student is given their own laptop/tablet/insert technology choice here to use as a learning tool. And Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives which allows students to bring the technology they are comfortable with to school to use as. Without access to WiFi, initiatives like these could never happen in our schools.

        • dyr2 says:

          And the health effects are irrelevant to a guy like you?

          • Clint says:

            There are no health effects.

            • dyr2 says:

              The long list of recent sperm studies I flashed means zero to Clint. Want brain studies next? Skin? What? You pick, so your denialism is in full explicit view. To use the word, ‘health’, as you do, it shows you have bought into the great language twist. As I said to Scott, don’t forget to salute you authorities on your way out.

              Now where’s that philosopher Doug. Someone who can think to discuss with?

  3. Bob Bichen says:

    The WHO/IARC has classified electromagnetic radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen. Many on the panel voted to classify it as 2A (probable) based on the plethora of peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing increased risk of cancer from exposure, including chronic exposure to relatively low-level microwave radiation such as wifi. To encourage the use of a Class 2B carcinogen, forbidden by Work Safe BC regulations where a practical alternative is available, is the height of irresponsibility, especially where children with a higher susceptibility are present. And cancer is only one of the many health risks associated with chronic microwave radiation. Another is leakage of the blood-brain barrier. This is the brain’s last defense against toxins in the blood and is proven to be compromised by wifi radiation given long enough exposure. I am not surprised though to see those with a conflict of interest and financial gain as a result of the proliferation of wifi pretend that the thousands of peer-reviewed studies showing harm from this relatively recent technology don’t exist. I do question how they can feel comfortable knowing that they are party to exposing innocent children with developing nervous systems to this known toxin. History is full of examples where health authorities were far behind the curve when it came to assessing the real and present danger from what were once ubiquitous toxins, such as lead in paint and gasoline, tobacco, thalidomide, Vioxx, asbestos… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the wireless communications industry is the second largest industry on Earth, and therefore has a very strong “persuasiveness” in coercing the public and even so-called “health authorities” to overlook the very real risks. You can recognize this propaganda through phrases such as “scientific consensus.” When you see this oxymoron, you know you’re being snowed, because it demonstrates a misunderstanding of the scientific method. If you have a thousand studies that show no harm, and only one that shows harm, and is repeatable, the harm has been proven and the correct response is to seek flaws in the protocol of the thousand studies that didn’t show harm, not throw out or ignore the singular one that does show harm. A person unschooled in the scientific method may believe that the “weight of the evidence” or the “scientific consensus” shows no harm. Another trick is to criticize a publication like the http://bioinitiative.org ‘s Bionitiative Report 2012 as being not peer reviewed. Reports are not peer reviewed, scientific studies are. That this report is not peer reviewed is irrelevant since the studies it references ARE peer-reviewed, and while lower in number than industry sponsored studies showing no harm, they are compelling in their proof that there is biological harm from chronic low-level microwave radiation. In fact, roughly 75% of industry sponsored studies show no harm, while the numbers are reversed for independent studies. This demonstrates a clear bias beyond probable statistical anomaly, i.e., he who pays the piper calls the tune, and the “results” of the “study.”

    • Scott Leslie says:

      “plethora of peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing increased risk of cancer from exposure, including chronic exposure to relatively low-level microwave radiation such as wifi” – really? Other than the 2 or 3 researchers constantly cited by you and members of the anti-wifi community, can you point to others to substantiate this claim? It should be easy if there are a plethora. The Bioinitiative Report which is so often cited regularly mixes together, often in the same paragraph, mentions of both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, mentions of cell phone towers and powerlines with wifi and xrays.

      “known toxin” – simply repeating this won’t make it so.

      “If you have a thousand studies that show no harm, and only one that shows harm, and is repeatable, the harm has been proven and the correct response is to seek flaws in the protocol of the thousand studies that didn’t show harm, not throw out or ignore the singular one that does show harm.” Please, show this single study that as you claim shows the evidence of harm from wifi to brain and is repeatable. Please, do point out the flaws in the protocols of the thousand studies that didn’t show harm. That is how knowledge advances.

      I really suggest you actually read the report you seem so fond of citing. It is rife with statements that do NOT back up the assertions you say it makes. As but one example, from Section 4 on “Evidence of Genotoxic Effects”

      “From this literature survey, since only 50% of the studies reported effects, it is apparent that there is no consistent pattern that radiofrequency radiation exposure could induce genetic damages/changes in cells and organisms. However, one can conclude that undercertain conditions of exposure, radiofrequency radiation is genotoxic. Data available are mainly applicable only to cell phone radiation exposure. Other than the study by Phillips et al [1998], there is no indication that RFR at levels that one can experience in the vicinity of base stations and RF-transmission towers could cause DNA damage.”

      And this about the signals coming from cell towers, hundreds to thousand times stronger than wifi transmitters.

      It is just hyperbole upon half-truth upon selective quoting from you and the anti-wifi community. That is one of the reasons behind this site. To try to counter the propaganda blitz you are all involved in.

      • Bob Bichen says:

        This whole discussion about how important wireless communication is to children learning is the height of absurdity on several levels. Mainly, children won’t know the difference whether their internet is delivered wirelessly or wired, except that wired is faster and more reliable with less interruptions and downtime.

        But most importantly, if you want to really help children on their path to a successful life, throw ALL that electronic junk that will all be outdated in a mere few years or even months in the garbage, and buy the children MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. The appreciation and playing of music from a young age is of immeasurable benefit to early brain development and motor coordination, and is truly the mother of ALL learning. Poking fingers at keyboards and fast moving images on computer screens may enhance motor development to some degree, but compared to the benefits of playing a musical instrument, it doesn’t even rate.

        The promotion of wifi as a panacea for children’s education couldn’t be more obviously concocted for the benefit of those with financial interests in providing it. If you really cared about children learning and developing, you’d be spending your time promoting music in the classroom, not toxic microwave radiation with no tangible benefits and serious detrimental effects. It’s disgusting. Uninvolved teachers love technology, because it frees them from actually interacting and teaching. It’s like electronic candy to the children who are easily entertained and transfixed by the attention grabbing graphics while precious learning time is squandered and attention spans are shortened. It’s the next level up from TV babysitting.

        The irony here is that as we declare this to be “21st Century Education,” we are actually entering the dark ages of education where we have thrown out the best that education has to offer by cutting music classes, and replaced them with the empty promises of the false god of technology.

        • Scott Leslie says:

          Thanks for your comments Bob! Clearly, in your worldview one cannot both promote music as part of education and technology. Nor can the computer itself be a musical instrument. What an peculiar outlook.

        • wmchamberlain says:

          I have an electronic pick-up in my ukulele. Does this disqualify me from making music or am I straddling the line? Assuming that the noises I make qualify as music to begin with.

        • Hi Bob,

          I totally agree with you that music education ought to be a core part of public schools. If I were in charge, we’d make sure that kids had free access to instruments, and could choose from different ones, regardless of the cost of rental/purchase. ***But this shouldn’t be an either/or choice.*** It would be great if, in the course of the music program, kids could both learn their instrument, and create multimedia projects of masters of their chosen instrument, using wireless technology. That means bringing the technology into the band room, close at hand to their instrument, and maybe playing along with something they’ve found online.

          Technology isn’t a false god any more than a pen is a false god. It is a tool, and a darn useful one when it is a means to an end, instead of an end in itself. That is why I support wireless in the schools. Let’s get computers out of the “computer lab” and into the music rooms, the classrooms, the library and into the outdoors, where they are knocked off their pedestal and put to real use, in the service of real subjects, like science, music, art, social studies, language arts, etc.

          • Clint says:

            Well said, Catherine. Every subject taught in school today could benefit from computers. Let’s get them out of the labs.

        • Clint says:

          Music is important, and I fight for that as well. This is not a dichotomy. In fact, I would argue technology is becoming increasingly more important in how we teach and learn music.

          One of the strongest proponents of mobile technology in the classroom that I know is a music teacher named Bryan Jackson. He could not teach the way he does without technology, much of it predicated on WiFi access. I suggest you read his blog post about the importance of technology in his music classroom http://bryanjack.ca/2010/11/18/essay-as-blogpost-cellphones-in-the-classroom/ Here is but one quote from Bryan’s post:

          “My cell phone is how I check my email, maintain a calendar, record student presentations, skits, and songs, take pictures and movies, as well as play music, videos, and podcasts. My phone is my primary connection to Google, Wikipedia, major newspapers and blogs, as well as a global network of educators, researchers and thinkers that share their wisdom, learning, resources, and classrooms with me and my classes in kind. I try to model optimal, yet responsible use of my personal technology, and I expect the same of my students. In turn their phones allow handheld access to more useful and current information than is in our textbooks (blasphemy!), communicate with one another, seek input from peers who may be elsewhere at the time (home sick, appointments, family vacations, on off-block, etc), consult expert authorities on subjects we study, and record speeches, songs, videos, podcasts, and material to study later (lectures, debate, conversation), in addition to viewing, reading, or listening to supplemental material from numerous sources to support what we are learning about in class”

  4. Bob Bichen says:

    Health concerns aside and solely pedagogically speaking, why do the execs of the biggest Silicon Valley schools pay extra money to send their children to not only wifi-free schools, but also computer-free schools? The simple answer is that technology does not equal learning. It can be a useful aid, but it can also be a hindrance and a distraction. It’s ridiculous to suggest that wired internet is inferior to wireless. It is in fact far superior in that the data rates are faster, the networks are more secure, and they are more economical to maintain and equip.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    Throwing money and technology at children does not help them learn. Personal interaction with a caring teacher is what’s important. And a caring teacher would forbid wifi in his classroom because he would educate himself on the dangers that it poses to developing bodies and brains.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Bob, it’s really great to see people impassioned about learning. I do wonder though if you have ever used a mobile device – my experience as an educator is that once people have experienced the difference it makes, they actually don’t think “it’s ridiculous to suggest that wired internet is inferior to wireless” but instead never go back. The shift to mobile devices would seem like evidence of this…

      No one is arguing that children should be using electronic devices all of the time. Or that wifi coverage should be ubiquitous across campuses. Indeed, teaching children when it is appropriate to use technology and when it is not is going to be an increasing valuable lesson, one not taught well by banning access to it. And having some spots on campus not purposely covered by wifi signals seems reasonable. Although how, other than sending your kids to school wearing Faraday cages, you propose to shield them from all of the other electromagnetic radiation that abounds, including perfectly legal but MUCH stronger signals like radar and ham radios, is beyond me.

      And please, citing a single article in the New York Times with anecdotes about a single Waldorf School in Silicon Valley as evidence that “execs of the biggest Silicon Valley schools [sic] pay extra money to send their children to not only wifi-free schools, but also computer-free schools” is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the trend in evidence we’re seeing from anti-wifi proponents.

      Throwing money at children doesn’t help them learn (though it might make them richer!) Throwing technology at them sounds cruel and maybe like it could get you arrested. Of course personal interaction with caring teachers is important. No one is arguing it isn’t. That doesn’t have to preclude use of digital (and wireless) technologies. If by “educate himself [sic] on the dangers that it poses to developing bodies and brains” you mean “following a link to one of the many sites of dubious origin spouting suspect science on this topic that litter the net,” I do hope our teachers are more internet and science literate than that. Lord knows our children won’t be if this anti-technology agenda has its way.

    • Clint says:

      Bob, you are absolutely correct. “technology does not equal learning” and “Throwing money and technology at children does not help them learn.” Any educator who has worked with technology in the classroom knows how difficult it can be if you are just thrown technology and told to use it. That is a nightmare. Which is why the appropriate use of technology is important – appropriate being the key word. Much of what I believe our education system should be is built on the idea that WiFi is a utility like power, water and heating, and enables appropriate use of technology in the classroom. A room full of computers in a wired computer lab is not the appropriate use of technology these days.

  5. MommaYomma says:

    I don’t have a problem with or without Wifi in school. I think the push for Wifi is unnecessarily aggressive. I think keeping up with technology is critical, but it appears to be given too much importance. As a parent, Id like to see less time trying to manipulate pedagogy to fit a desired technological setup.

    That being said, I don’t agree with the anti wifi movement either. I support wifi in schools. Just not the NEED to have it now. Lots of schools have wifi that’s ineffective and cumbersome. I wonder if this is partially due to forcing it too quickly, before appropriate funds and infrastructure was available.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      MommaYomma, I wish this argument was about the way we are deploying technology. Or how to better use it pedagogically. I wish there was enough budget to explore multiple avenues. I wish class sizes were smaller. I wish curriculum was more relevant to the world children are going to find them in. I wish I didn’t actually have to spend my precious time arguing to keep what small advances in technology we have. But then I wish a lot of things.

    • Clint says:

      Hi MommaYomma. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your approach.

      Yes, the WiFi is ineffective and cumbersome and could be so much better. It needs to be better if we want our kids to be able to access it as a learning resource, and an area that I wish was the focus of the debate – how to improve the access so that it does become and effective tool. Yet, sadly, that isn’t the focus. The focus of the anti-wifi advocates is the complete removal of it from schools.

      Even if people cannot see the value of it today, then try to imagine our world in 5 years. Is the use of mobile technology going to decrease? Is the power of handheld and mobile computers going to increase? If history is the judge, then yes, we can almost guarantee these 2 things will happen. I suspect in 5 years this argument will look like an argument from the turn of the century about the role of paper and pens in the classroom.

      I think WiFi has moved beyond a nice to have or an option and is becoming educational infrastructure – like power and heat.

  6. virvine says:

    We have apps that support special needs learners. It’s a critical tool for them, but dead without wifi. My daughter did augmented reality hotspots on her poster on British Columbia, but it’s dead without wifi. LOTS of research is posted on ipod touches for literacy and the like but nope… not in our school districts… My daughter’s friend goes to a private school with 1:1 ipads on wifi. My daughter in grade 4 could bring hers to school and her teacher said he would allow it, but alas.. no wifi, so what good is it? There is a need to have it now. I have no idea how wifi can be cumbersome (?), but schools need to have wifi in as a first step to supporting more mobile learning technologies. The computer lab with fixed workstations is an OLD model. It’s not easy for learners to collaborate with each other because the tables, monitors are all fixed. Mobile tech can be taken outside. Just look at the photostream of pics on this teachers twitter profile:

    https://twitter.com/amydawnpark

    I don’t know about you… but I want my children to be taught by teachers enabled with technology and wifi like Amy Park. I know many many teachers within our school districts are lamenting not having wifi. It is a negative hit on the quality of work conditions for many. How many teachers choose to leave wifi-free schools in support of working conditions that alow them to flex their teaching creativity? or if they stay within them feel oppressed. I know a SD61 teacher who is looking to get out and is depressed about the no-wifi status. A teacher who is frustrated at the situation and I know more cases like this one. I don’t know about other parents, but I am HIGHLY CONCERNED that bright and innovative young teachers like this one is looking for a exit path because opportunities for innovation are restricted.

  7. Bob Bichen says:

    Please enlighten me how wifi provides ANYTHING that a cabled internet connection does not provide. The rhetoric here is getting beyond ridiculous. The small amount of time that children are allowed to go outside the building should be spent learning about nature, not glued to a stupid screen which they’re already glued to for far too long at school and at home. Depriving students of interaction with nature is probably one of the worst aspects of the modern education system and life in general. More time should be spent on organic farms showing where food actually comes from, exploring forests and learning about the native species, and walking on beaches and learning about sea creatures. I lament that if the sample of teachers’ opinions here is representative of the majority, we’ve completely lost our next generation. The absence of wifi is not going to stifle anyone’s creativity, and is certainly not going to negatively affect any child’s learning.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Bob, this is pretty tiring. You seem to have an unending energy to sit in front of your computer screen rambling away. Sorry I haven’t been able to respond sooner, I was out getting some rays.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Bob, also, you don’t seem to show up anywhere on the Camosun website, and your facebook page also looks like a bit of a fraud. Why all the secrecy?

    • Kelsey says:

      Wifi gives schools and students flexibility. Instead of building and investing in one computer lab which is shared by a hundreds of students invest in wifi. Wifi enables schools to have mobile labs which cost less than a traditional wired lab. Wifi also enables BYOD policies to be useful and when you consider almost 50% of Canadians own a smartphone you can see the direction we are headed in. More and more students, especially teenagers already arrive to school with a device they can do research and more on.

      Tablets, smartphones, laptops are not fancy calculators. When used in a pedagogical sound manner then enrich the learning experience and offer new ways of learning previously inconceivable.

      Students can use them to engage with others in the community and around the world. For example, with wifi capabilities a student in grade 3 could Skype a student in Moscow to compare weather patterns and as part of their discussion go outside and show each other. All while using wifi.

      Or a student can walk around a school and interact with “smart” bulletin boards in which they scan QR codes (or better yet play with Aurasama) which leads them to interactive content online. For instance, students display work on a topic. Other students scan digital code which leads them to a google form in which they can give feedback or respond to a question. Try lugging around a hard lined computer to do this.

      Students can go outside to work on a lesson. Doing a science lab on local flora and fauna? Take the tablet with you and take pictures as you go. With in one or two tops add them to a lab write up. Email them to the teacher for a fast way to hand in work and get formative feedback. Wifi has made this easier because all the tasks you needed to do are on one device. No wires, no plugging in, no transfer, everything just a couple taps away.

      How about in the science lab? Experimenting with a substance and want to look something up? It’s easier when your group has a device or two at your table. No need to go to the library or computer lab (which is probably full of other students). Information to support classroom learning at your fingertips.

      Watching a documentary in class? Why not have students use their wireless devices to comment and ask questions while viewing using a website like today’s meet? I experimented with doing this is a school computer lab. Trust me, it’s far more streamlined in the regular classroom.

      These are a few ideas that came I thought of with little thought at all.

      • Clint says:

        Kelsey, thank you very much for your comment (and I am sorry I missed it until now). These are exactly the types of learning initiatives that wifi access enables.

    • Clint says:

      Bob, this comment illustrates that your argument isn’t really about WiFi, but about the role of technology in school, period.

      I don’t think anyone here would argue about the value of being outside or the value of music in school. In fact, i would argue that having ready access to technology enhances this. A child playing outside sees a flower or a bug that they have never seen before. They use a mobile device connected to the internet to and use the camera to take a picture of the flower or bug. They then compare that photo to the photos in an online flower or bug database and identify the bug or flower using an online database of bugs/flowers/whatever. They have just learned, in context at a time when they were curious – EXACTLY the point where you want to teach someone something – when THEY are curious.

      But your perspective seem mired in a sense of historical romanticism of an education system of the past. The fact that you see no pedagogical value in mobile technologies in the school reveals your true position on the matter – a Luddite who pines for the good ol’ days when life was simpler.

      Famed child development researcher Jean Piaget once said “The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done”

      This is what I wish for my kids, and I believe that anytime, anywhere access to the internet is important for them to be able to achieve that.

  8. Scott Leslie says:

    Bob, have you ever used a tablet computer? Have you seen how they are being used educationally? It’s pretty impressive. Have you tried plugging a tablet into an ethernet connection? For the most part, the answer is, you can’t.

  9. Emma Irwin says:

    I’m going to randomly choose 2 comment to reply to because just ‘wow’ on most.

    Comment of my choice #1
    “I do question how they can feel comfortable knowing that they are party to exposing innocent children with developing nervous systems to this known toxin. History is full of examples where health authorities were far behind the curve when it came to assessing the real and present danger from what were once ubiquitous toxins, such as lead in paint and gasoline, tobacco, thalidomide, Vioxx, asbestos… the list goes on and on”

    I don’t feel comfortable making ANY decisions without consulting the experts. In my case, I consult my daughter’s oncologist, and HE not only defers to the health officials, but suggests the energy like yours be better spent child-proofing your home – the #1 cause of death in children. As a ‘cancer parent’ (fancy label I know..) I know FEAR, and I fear just as much as you. I inspect EVERYTHING, and consider EVERYTHING in the atmosphere, in food, in the air, the water…
    I consult health experts who worked to cure my daughter, and I can tell you the doctors and health experts I deal with – do not give a F*’ing F*ck about how big the telecom industry is – they care about our kids; they are parents; the dedicate their lives to health. Yes, I mix my own intuition with advice from professionals, but it’s nothing more than arrogance to assume you know more, or that somehow industry and ‘the man’ suppress the truth – I’m so tried of that conspiracy approach to everything.

    We are empowered, educated parents who disagree with you – not sheep, not tools of industry so find another angle because it’s getting old.

    And yes, history does tell us that we have exposed humans to things like asbestos and thalidomide, but you have standards now that didn’t exist then. Access to MORE information, empowerment of labour laws and that list goes on and on…

    Comment of my choice #2

    “The small amount of time that children are allowed to go outside the building should be spent learning about nature, not glued to a stupid screen which they’re already glued to for far too long at school and at home. Depriving students of interaction with nature is probably one of the worst aspects of the modern education system and life in general.”

    I absolutely agree that children should be outside as much as possible, but that ‘stupid screen’ is a part of their future, of jobs in EVERY industry and your child’s success depends on understanding technology. Including MUSIC (which I saw mentioned, biology, communication,literature, history) This is not about putting faces-infront of screens, this is about empowering learning when they are in a learning environment.

    Ok one more comment, because I can’t help myself:

    “Uninvolved teachers love technology, because it frees them from actually interacting and teaching”

    NO, uninvolved teachers go with what they know, lean on old habits, ignore the changing landscape of education with hope that retirement will save them before they have to.

    • dyr2 says:

      I see I am almost absent from this page, so to Scott’s delight I’ll choose, as she does, at random this Emma’s comment to speak a bit to:

      “so [tired*] of that conspiracy approach to everything”

      1 – there is plenty of documented malfeasance by those whose “conspiracy” you seem to choose to ignore

      2 – fatigue is irrelevant to truth of the matter, but I have no problem with your expressing yourself that way

      3 – you do go too far in dragging in “everything”

      “doctors and health experts I deal with – do not give a”

      1 – too bad you resort to expletives, what does it constructively add?

      2 – these professionals have plenty to look over their shoulders about, I have dealt with many, narrowmindedness, ignorance and cowardice abound

      3 – there is a historic lag esp. in Canadian mainstream med. profession wrt changing developments, that is part of what advocacy is intended to make up for

      ” energy like yours be better spent”

      1 – more ducking of the issue

      2 – if they have not researched, how can they determine relative scale of dangers?

      3 – one energy focus does not preclude good application to another, as you yourself attest to in your remark, “I inspect EVERYTHING”

      “not sheep, not tools of industry so find another angle because it’s getting old”

      1 – I myself admit to having used the sheep reference, but your wise web admin in his substance-evasive wisdom I think deleted that meaty post, but you were not necessarily included in the sheep category

      2 – it is obvious that some acquiesce more readily than others on whatever authorities in power say

      3 – being “old” affects not being true, all you have to do is examine the huge list, way beyond that enumerated in the quote you bring (I can suggest many books, eg David Michaels’ Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health – this guy I think is still with the Obama admin. at OSHA, so we’re talking mainstream, that should please wise web admin; book quotes available upon request)

      “empowering learning when they are in a learning environment”

      1 – so you intend to contradict the header of this post, about learning everywhere all the time (with which I concur myself)?

      2 – there is no evidence that capability with new tech requires schooling to it in the regular way, in fact I think to the contrary it is extra-curricularly that the young have most adapted to use of this tech, albeit for good & bad, apart for the health danger

      3 – empowerment comes in all kinds of ways

      • dyr2 says:

        oops, forgot re prev. post:

        * typo correction

        Scott’s “sic” on me fails if meant to have caught an error, patriotic me prefers an old Canadian spelling for ‘connexion’

    • Exactly, Emma, exactly.

  10. Steve says:

    Fantastic website. Thanks for attempting to inject some rational thought into this highly irrationally opposed subject. Unfortunately, as shown above, anything that challenges their anti-wireless orthodoxy really bring out the frothing crazies. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • dyr2 says:

      How does web admin find Steve’s comment constructive enough to remain?

      Yours,
      Frothingly Crazy & Irrationally Orthodox

  11. Darren says:

    Wifi signals are everywhere. Walk outside a Starbucks, a mall, or a business and you’ll find wifi signals. To ban them from schools will BC schools at a disadvantage with other districts in the country. We need to be leaders.

  12. Keith Rispin says:

    Like Darren said, Wifi is everywhere, you can’t escape from it. I would be willing to bet most of the people who are lobbying against it, have it in their home and carry cell phones. Even in the community, Shaw has wifi nodes in malls, bell has nodes in Starbucks… It is ubiquitous. This isn’t to say, “lets forget about it then” just that, if wifi is killing your children the issue is bigger then just wifi in your child’s school but when you consider how wide spread the use of wifi is, common sense would suggest we would see an epidemic of “wifi sickness” or worse. I would say that poor eating habits and inactivity are doing more harm to kids then wifi ever will.

    A second point one might want to consider is that if there is money being made off of wifi and the devices using it, there is money to be made by fear mongering and selling products that “protect” you from radiation emissions from communications devices. Most of which are fraudulent.

    Finally. As for its pedagogical value of a wifi enabled device… In the hands of a child with strong foundational skills, it can result in amazing things. I see it every day with my own high achieving children and my students in my classroom.

    Cheers!

    • NK says:

      Don’t be so fast with betting – you might just lose your bet :).

      “Wifi sickness” like every sickness have a latency period and can take different forms from mild to acute, from severe reaction to undetectable by now disorder.

      The fact that it is everywhere does not make it any healthier. Junk food is everywhere but you don’t have to consume it (unless you really-really want to :), and some people decided to bring public attention to that as well. You are absolutely right: poor eating habits and inactivity are doing lots of harm to kids. And it is not only because of the cases of poverty and hunger, but also a result of years and years of poor choices done on every level like family and society. Home cooked meals are not so popular any more, but the substitute provided by the food industry often leads to the various health disorders. Even home cooked meal depends on how it was made, what tools and quality ingredients where used.

      Smoking was ubiquitous too. It was everywhere: schools, hospitals, homes, public places. I am not in a habit of running after the smokers on a street and knocking them down, but no one enters my house with the cigarette, and I sure appreciate limiting in smoking in public places.

      Here are some of the interesting quotes from news articles at a time of debates about smoking legislation for the hospitals:
      1) “You can travel on an airliner and be seated in a non-smoking section, due to the protection of airline law. But when you are trapped as an emergency patient in a hospital, they tell you “there is nothing they can do!” It is about time this is changed and request your consideration of a state law to bring it about.”
      2) The Denver Post reported “Committee members who voted against the (Kopel) bill indicated they felt smoking might be even psychologically therapeutic to patients addicted to the habit.” And quoting Rep. Larry Hobbs, R-Morrison, “I know a lot of people who couldn’t get well if they couldn’t smoke”.
      3) Even the lobbyist for the Colorado Hospital Association testified against the hospital smoking bill, saying “hospitals have enough problems already getting patients in the right place without having to worry about whether they smoke.”

      Guess what? Today hospitals resolve it by nicotine patches, smoke free rooms, adequate help from the professionals, and even well ventilated rooms for smokers. We moved on.

      When cigarettes where heavily advertised to women, it was called “freedom lights”, it was a sophisticated choice. When the debate broke out we saw a selection of all kind of reputable sources: scientists, medical authorities, politicians, public, press, governmental organizations – you name it. I have a feeling that if tobacco industry would not be publicly exposed for the harm that was done, we would be selling cigarettes in school today as part of a school fundraiser.

      “Finally. As for its pedagogical value of a wifi enabled device… In the hands of a child with strong foundational skills,..” anything can blossom. Children (the young one especially) like a sponge, they absorb knowledge and skills every day, every second as long as you provide them with valuable input and guidance. They did it before the computers came to our life, they did it with wired computers, and they will do it long after wifi will be outdated and replaced by something else. If something can be done to decrease possible health risk then it should be done. There is not much future with compromised health.

    • Keith Rispin says:

      You can’t look at this in absolutes. 

      The URL below looks at accidental deaths by age group in the USA

      Most if not all involved accidents doing mundane everyday activities but tragically children have lost their lives. Using all or nothing logic and looking at these statistics, we should get rid of automobiles, back yard pools, bicycles, team sports, going for walks and lock our children indoors because even the natural environment claims children’s lives every year.

      Automobiles are perhaps the best example here. I willingly put my child’s life at risk every time I put them in the car and drive someplace. The chances of them being killed or hideously disfigured in my automobile are far greater then them dropping dead from wifi exposure. We do this several times a week because modern life dictates it. 

      What I do to mitigate the risk is ensure that I drive safely, keep my vehicle in good repair and ensure my children are always buckled up. This doesn’t eliminate the chance of coming to an unfortunate end but it helps. Rather than banning the automobile we found ways to make it safer and perhaps this is the way we should be looking at wifi as well. Like it or not it has become part of a modern society. You will never get rid of it so lets place our energies in ensuring its safety and impart measures (if needed) to ensure everyone’s well being. 

      http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_Unintentional_Deaths_2010-a.pdf

  13. Ray says:

    WiFi and other sources of RF radiation are blanketing urban areas with high levels. There is no doubt about that. Median levels in US cities were about 50 uW/m2 in the late seventies. I visited NYC last year and measured over 500,000 uW/m2.

    That’s higher than levels emitted by a cell phone.

    Not all areas are the same though. That’s one extreme.

    Levels in the country here are 0.01 uW/m2. That’s the other extreme.

    Levels in the nearby town are higher in commercial areas where people are talking on their cell phones, but in residential neighborhoods are 3 uW/m2.

    So it really depends on where you are.

    Now, levels in the classroom that has a WiFi router are about 1,000 uW/m2 without any WiFi devices in operation. Levels in front of devices can exceed 100,000 uW/m2.

    Here is a chart that compares radiation levels to scientific studies:

    http://www.wifiinschools.com/uploads/3/0/4/2/3042232/wifi_compared_to_research.jpg

    Decide for yourself if these risks are worth taking.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Ray, your graphic is pretty classic – what are the units? Do you guarantee every single one of these studies is using the same units? Are the units from the studies themselves or are you postulating them based on their setups.

      Also, given your hypothesis and the elevated levels you were finding in New York, you would think there would have been reports by now of an epidemic there, though I can’t recall hearing anything to that effect. Must be more suppression of the news.

  14. Ray says:

    The units are uW/m2, as stated above. If you haven’t studied power density figures before, this means microwatts per square meter.

    The units are from the studies themselves except for the Salford study, which was in SAR. I made a rough conversion to power density, using a very conservative number.

    As for overall health trends, I have read statistics pointing one way or another. Certain cancers such as breast cancer are certainly on the rise.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Bob, I understand what the units mean. My comment was to the effect that this is classic from groups such s yours – you leave the units off the diagram and don’t mention their sources, whether you or the studies, nor link to the studies themselves, but then present it as irrefutable proof that should be obvious to all. It just undermines your already sketchy credibility (still waiting to hear who “Bob” from Camosun really is ;-)

  15. dyr2 says:

    Comments by Keith C display quite well what is very wrong about “risk analysis” intrusion into public & environmental health consideration.

    Apart from the obvious charge, not only directed to users of risk talk, of deflecting from the issue at hand, as in a good cliché response, one thing is unsafe so I should add another?; apart from that, bare comparison by quantification obscures all kinds of things, esp. incl. relative valuations.

    I dislike common recourse to automobile analogies when discussing rf effects & dangers. But I see this way it can be constructively used: whereas we have sacrificed, say, a proportion of respiratory capacity in stupid adulation of the internal combustion engine; what diminished proportion of brain capacity should we be prepared to accept, considering that, e.g., rf exposures are implicated in compromise of blood-brain-barrier, with predictably dire consequence?

    Scale of application should be central to public policy. I readily admit to amazing aspects of the technology I am pointing to as dangerous. Danger does not mean devoid of usefulness, but which might be restricted for highly specialized purposes. When industry hacks defend the indefensible, they typically fall back as last recourse on, what ‘ll ya do in an emergency without your cell phones? This is absurd, of course, once it is realized that one is keeping in place an injurious infrastructure at root, so that the injured can call 911. (The strong majority of studies directly on cell mast radiation, to which wifi has been partly justifiably likened, indicate great harm. These studies are tossed by your info-filterers, not up to snuff for them, as if getting from a to b requires, what, a fancy Cadillac when many more modest Chevs would do.) But I can imagine a replacement wireless emergency system – one that is not broadcasting non-stop sickening those it is meant to protect. Some amateur radio operators already participate in back-up emergency response networks. I think of a service called Lifeline, which involves rf only when it is needed in an emergency, with passive antennae connected to wired phone lines.

    Just as even for this supposed root social dependency, wireless as it is is not only not necessary, it is absurd; likewise wireless in schools. There are many ways for humans to communicate, in and out of school.

    Further going at Keith’s comments: what is the point of comparing accidental loss to constant xenobiotic assault?

    I suggest reading a book I probably recommended here already, Don Maisch’s The Procrustean Approach (online), it deals well with how ruinous risk talk has affected rf regulation.

    Today I saw news – obscured by a strange and wrongful headline – in the Vancouver Sun, that occupational accommodation re ‘electrosensitivity’ has been endorsed by a BC teachers’ union. http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Some+contentious+resolutions+about+health+hazards+from/8115544/story.html . It’s a start. But it just forestalls facing that these teachers’ bodies are not really ‘sensitive’, but properly reactive to emf insult. It is a universal bio-stressor, and the issue is whether or not one notices early enough to react, voluntarily before involuntarily.

    • Keith Rispin says:

      Damn! I had no idea the automobile comparison was common but I also had no idea that wifi is considered a xenobiotic assault? If I knew what the hell xenobiotic meant, I might change my mind.

      Problem I am having right now is, that the very people that are trying to convince me of the dangers of wifi and the corporate misdeeds that have brought us this omnipresent danger, are using the very technology that has precipitated the expansion of wifi assisted communication. A little like those who opposed the forestry industry in the 90′s, printing their literature on paper produced by the very company they were protesting against.

      If we are going to do this, lets do it right. Lets go back to the days befor so there is absolutely no electrical energy in our environment. light our homes with oil lamps and heat them with wood. Lets go back to the Stone Age. I’m game… How bout you?

      • NK says:

        Let’s go back to the topic of the discussion, please (BTW, what you describe in the last paragraph as a Stone Age is not that uncommon in rural areas :)

        Undetermined, unspecified, unintentional means just that – you’ve done what you could but it happened for some other reason beyond your control. You take your part to insure driving safety and take your risks knowing that it can be someone else or the road condition. But other people also take steps like improving the roads and trying to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road. As you said, we found ways to make it safer.

        Do you feel like we’ve done enough to improve wifi safety? As an example, look at the absurd situation in schools where wifi was implemented already: safety instructions for students and staff do not reflect at all manufacturer warnings for RF exposure safety (included in every user manual) to keep devices at certain positions and distances away from the user body (or bystanders). Preventable? Easily. But no one is willing to take an extra step (even that small) unless it comes from the Board, and Board is not in a hurry to shatter the safety image even slightly. When you in a habit to actually read instructions and pay attention to the warnings (they usually there for the reason), then most of the advertisement in video and print used by the Boards with kids keeping laptops on their laps and hugging iPads raising an eyebrows at least.

  16. dyr2 says:

    But, Keith, now you’re trying a similar tack, but instead of casting widely about to not really relevant other dangers, you’re grossly widening reference to this one, even as I mentioned that the technology in some aspects is awesome and useful, if it must be comparatively severely circumscribed.

    ‘Xenobiotic’ you’d find is a regular term in toxicology, I hadn’t heard of it either until I began researching this public health travesty. Strange to biological beings. We live in a supposed information age, when disinformation is a more apt term at least when it comes to toxic effect on our bodies. The public is kept mis/under-informed, and creaturely bodies’ internal signalling is interfered with. Look at the NASA graph I already offered on one of these pages and ask the question I put there. Bio-flourishing might in fact depend on the rf sector of the spectrum actually being clear of our messing with it. What a thing, eh? DNA damage is implicated here, if that doesn’t get you leaning toward favouring curtailing of wireless mania…Oh, DNA damage happens all the time & gets repaired, right? Just to narrow it to school wifi, what insanity to even have an unneccesary hint of danger among schoolchildren?

    There are problems with my using even this (wired) computer connexion to argue this here, yes. But you can think of it as a weapon of war, a serious source of harm is to be combatted by what means are available. If you mean rather, the sometimes approriate charge of hypocrisy, about some who focus solely on school wifi and not the wider exposures to their children and themselves, that still doesn’t diminish the logic of not endangering children at school, even if model behaviour among advocates would make for best tactics.

    In our household, we mostly intuitively always shunned the wireless craze of the last 15 or so years (which time period corresponds, wouldn’t you know it, rather closely to the time of the inexorable rise in health care costs, established as not all having to do with aging nor equipment acquisition – it is most sensible to look for enviro. toxicant, and the corresponding time frame for this and so many other things is astounding – take this further e.g., look at Statscan figures for workplace “absenteeism”, just like health care costs, plateau flat in 90s until, sudden upswing and increasing since the same year as mass wireless roll out in Canada, around ’97.) So we shun wireless, and become acquainted closely with a highly intelligent & rational someone who sufferes terribly when anywhere near offending emitters, so I plunge into research, and find that our intuitions are beyond darkest imaginings confirmed. What put it over the top for me, was Robert Kane’s clinical insider’s account of the substitution of PR for science in the push for mob/kill telephony. His book is online, Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette. Extend that beyond just quasi-voluntarily used devices (quasi because almost no user had enough knowledge to have made an informed choice), to the gross immorality of mass involuntary irradiation from infrastructure. People getting sick all over and not knowing what is doing it to them. And then make the easy extrapolation to wifi in general, wifi in schools, wifi-ing the young.

    The Stone Age argument is of no use here. Even reasonable guys confronted with daunting situations can reach wildly at first — what about all kinds of other dangers, what about resetting back to zero “high tech”. But what needs to be done, among other things, is for reasonable people in sufficient numbers to embolden politicians to support serious search for alternatives, and curbing of even unclear dangers. In the as daunting worldwide chemical toxicants situation, we find a developing “green chemistry” movement, taking enviro & health concerns to be designed in from the start, as opposed to getting away with what you can and letting others pick up the “externality” pieces. Same can start to happen re curbing our “e-smog”.

    In the meantime, a stand has to be taken starting somewhere, wifi in schools is one place to start for some people.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      “In the meantime, a stand has to be taken starting somewhere, wifi in schools is one place to start for some people.” And not for others. Indeed, given the lack of evidence of actual effects (squak all you want about healthcare rates, there’s an entire discipline called epidemiology that looks at just that, and apart from the one Doctor at the Commons Committee hearings, this doesn’t seem to convince them over all the other suspects or else it would be getting more attention) hopefully most will stay focused on addressing other already proven risks.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Well, haven’t quite finished Kane’s book by it sure does read like the playbook of anti-wifi groups (actually, anti-cellphones, but hey, what’s a difference in frequency & signal strength between friends.) It seems legible enough. Wasn’t hard to find. So why are you not circulating it to peer scientists in a place to confirm or contest it? Oh, right, I forgot about the cabal that controls all independent thought and inquiry at universities.

      • dyr2 says:

        Do you really want to get into the dirt of it? Would that influence your view of what has been going on, if I recount clear cases of academic intimidation when whistleblowing scientists speak up on this & other issues?

        OK. Let’s start with the aftermath to those HESA hearings I actually helped set up. Let’s take the Apr 29th meeting as example. Four intl. scholars were invited. Three of four right after that meeting had academic restrictions slapped on, one retiree had it done to him for a few years before retirement. In one case, the youngest and most vulnerable of the four, he had is office removed, and strangely in a journal where he had been a regular contributor before, had a paper baselessly rejected for publication. The retiree said that the institution’s sanctions against him, taking away students and relegating him to work a common area, backfired, as he was then able to expand his time and diligence researching and spreading word about the dangers he discovered – and he was a radio adept beforehand!

        Is that taste of intimidation enough to have you at least revise the tone of your sarcastically uninformed last remarks?

  17. Ray says:

    Scott you are still ignoring the 15 pages of epidemiological and animal studies that I gave you as a starter on the subject, that clearly shows that RF microwave radiation is harmful.

    I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but you are failing miserably.

    It is blatantly dishonest for you say that there is a lack of evidence that WiFi-emitted RF microwave radiation causes biological and health effects.

    The truth is that you refuse to acknowledege it.

  18. Ray says:

    Scott, turn down your WiFi. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Apparently you can’t even remember who you’re talking with.

  19. dyr2 says:

    Scott re health care costs: I leave it to you to explain the force of your ‘must’. More amazing confidence in your authorities, blithely unaware of history & culture. One recent study that can be pointed to, was the Drummond report in Ontario, indicating that increased use of health care facilities is not all due to aging.

  20. Ray says:

    The moderators of this website refuse to acknowledge or review the science that shows WiFi to be unsafe. They have exhibited a lack of scientific insight as well as a lack of integrity.

    Dodging the science is unacceptable.

    Either openly debate the evidence or pack up your website and go home.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Thanks Ray! As always, your comments are valuable to us. If you’ll just say on the line, your call will be answered in the order it was received.

    • Clint says:

      I have tolerated comments about the science on this site because I know you cannot discuss this issue without allowing space for the science debate. There are plenty of websites where the science is debated, but none that talk about the pedagogical implications of a school with no WiFi, which is the purpose of this site. Nobody is discussing pedagogical implications of a school with no WiFi and I believe that is a key perspective in this debate & why I established this site. Not to debate science claims.

      • dyr2 says:

        Excuse me, but I put to you I think 2x now the proposition, that with unfettered access to the gigantic online library, what is the point of schooling as it is at all? It rather seems like a bridge to something else altogether, and apart from the insanity of irradiating children et al, those who get this will seek elsewhere than in your classrooms..

        • Clint says:

          Well, now here is a discussion worth having. What is the value of schools when information is everywhere and freely available?

          This is a struggle that all educators are dealing with, and a key reason why I think we need wifi in schools as I believe one of the roles of our education system should be to show students how to use the internet as a tool for learning. How to become autonomous learners. How to connect with online communities of practice & experts in a field. How to develop personal learning networks. How to critically evaluate information to determine what is an is not credible.

          There is a vital role for schools beyond being a storehouse of information. This is a very tough challenge facing our education system as it struggles to reinvent itself and remain relevant when it’s primary reason for being – the dissemination of knowledge – has been usurped by the internet.

          • dyr2 says:

            A discussion about health is not worth having, shut it down. Why shut one thing down and not another, esp. as the 2nd discussion insofar as it presumes irradiating children, is moot, once you own up to the dangers (and the weird irony of an educative’ brain-mashing technology)?

            ” a key reason why I think we need wifi in schools”

            So it becomes more and more obvious how the modernist model of how to educate children is what it is. The positive postmodernist aspect is a fake.

            “How to become autonomous learners”

            How long do you think a child needs to be stuck within the four walls to become so? Autonomy by imprisonment and irradiation. Sounds great.

            “How to connect with online communities of practice & experts in a field. How to develop personal learning networks. How to critically evaluate information to determine what is an is not credible.”

            In your hands, credibility at least on health effects of xenobiotic radiative exposures equals credulousness. The rest of it has little to do with school settings, or not very much to do with long years spent there, and has zero need for wireless, and should have as integral, awareness that even wired computer & internet options are fraught with enviro., health & other problems, even serious ones.

            • Clint says:

              Why shut down the health debate? Well, as far as I can tell, no one here is a health expert. You, Ray, NK and Shan (the 4 most vocal opponents on this site). This site is not to debate the health effects, but argue that our children’s education suffers when they do not have access to wifi.

              Fair, warning – I am going to be turning on moderation for all comments. I believe you and your 3 compatriots have spread your good word enough here.

  21. dyr2 says:

    Figures you wouldn’t. It is at the core of the issue, seizure of process in the middle of which sit your authorities, but you won’t look. Real responsible- like. Here’s another very recent incident, two hacks famous for efforts to exonerate big tobacco, weigh in to attack a researcher who dares even mildly to speak out (Kabat & Lerchl). See also my own comments (ck872) & others’ there and the attack-ee’s blog & columns, http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreykabat/2013/03/05/do-cell-phones-cause-brain-cancer-the-diehards-cling-desperately-to-opinion/ ,
    http://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/ .

    The tip of the iceberg you’d have schools & the rest steer right into, by not looking.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Daryl, please note the middle link to the Washington Communities page was removed as it is in essence the same as pointing to the blog that follows it.

      In any case, thanks for the links, you appear to be making some of the arguments here for us.

      • dyr2 says:

        Is this another instance of your capability as reader & researcher and thinker?

        The Washington Times page I linked to is not at all as you say, but a long list of columns written by the researcher, as well with many comments from interested readers incl. some interchange with the columnist, who himself has suffered in yet another instance of the persecution you shield your eyes from, or shall we say abet by removing reference, since it is only public outcry that will salvage the situation in the scientific community by extracting corrupting private interests, and how can a public cry out without info?

        He lost his funding & position after speaking out even in the mild way he did. Read the Forbes then, see who is on your side. Better, restore the link, and if you can’t/won’t read, others here might.

        The 3 links provided – many more available – are not redundant at all, the column and blog share a name only. But how would you & followers know, when as with the actual scientific material you let others tell you what to think & do.

        Let’s see what you make of the sperm study quotes I posted. Time to delete all but one because, what, they are redundantly saying the same thing – that this radiation is dangerous?

  22. Brent Lee says:

    It is good to see that science is being put front and centre rather than unsupported propaganda.

    I am certainly an advocate of wifi in schools, homes and many other locations.

    Anyone who thinks that technology, specifically wireless in classrooms is something to avoid, clearly has their head in the sand…

    Society and research shows that this technology is harmless, and our future learners need to be prepared for the real world.

    To the people running this website, thank you for providing clear examples.

    • dyr2 says:

      Wow, Brent, what an enlightening comment. I’ll keep looking at the actual science buried under the sand. Come to think of it, it has to be time to get out the sand shovel…

      • dyr2 says:

        Since the focus is on children in school, how about a few quotes from as many recent studies on RF effect on male reproductive factor, (glad to provide citations if asked), one way to keep school class sizes down, eh? :

        “increase in the percentage of sperm cells of abnormal morphology is
        associated with the duration of exposure to the waves emitted by the
        GSM phone. It was also confirmed that a decrease in the percentage of sperm cells in vital progressing motility in the semen is correlated
        with the frequency of using mobile phones”

        “pulsed radio frequency emitted by the mobile phone kept in the
        standby position longitudinally affected sperm motility and fructose”

        “mobile phones close to the testes can decrease semen quality.”

        ” median sperm density of the military personnel was significantly
        low”

        “ cell phone use negatively affects sperm quality in men”

        “These data suggest that EMR emitted by cellular phone influences
        human sperm motility. In addition to these acute adverse effects of
        EMR on sperm motility, long-term EMR exposure may lead to behavioral or structural changes of the male germ cell. These effects may be observed later in life”

        “RF-EMR in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation by human spermatozoa, decreasing the motility and vitality of these cells while stimulating DNA base adduct formation and, ultimately DNA fragmentation. These findings have clear implications for the safety of extensive mobile phone use by males of reproductive age,
        potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and
        wellbeing of their offspring”

        “Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet-
        connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect.”

        “a significant genotoxic effect on epididymal spermatozoa is evident
        and deserves further investigation.”

        “Radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones may lead to oxidative stress in human semen. We speculate that keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility.”

        “Use of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men by decreasing the sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology. The decrease in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to cell phones and independent of the initial semen quality.”

        “pulsed radio frequency emitted by a conventional mobile phone kept in the standby position could affect the testicular function and
        structure”

        “knobbed hook, pin-head and banana-shaped sperm head”

        “negatively affects semen quality and may impair male fertility”

        • Clint says:

          Yeah, I’d say this comment has nothing to do with the discussion of children in school or teaching and learning.

          • NK says:

            I believe this comment related to risk of possible child’s health complication. As part of BYOD movement children encouraged to bring and use all kind of wirelessly operated devices including cell phones. But sadly no one have a discussion with them about proper usage and handling, on how not to exceed the exposure to RF (see manufacturers user manual warnings). You would not believe in what kind of places kids can keep their devises! I doubt many adults take time to read and follow instructions yet alone children. It should be a natural part of the technology safety instructions at the school premises.

          • dyr2 says:

            You missed the line about smaller class sizes, eh?

            Did you know that wifi does it to brains, too?

          • dyr2 says:

            Now what is Clint doing reading irrelevant material? Graphic deformity too congnitively dissent fer ya?

  23. walter says:

    I encourage everyone to please watch this video before commenting any further.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDjCqjzbvJY

  24. Ray says:

    WiFi in Schools emits the same radiation levels as does a closely situated cell tower. Research on cell towers clearly and consistently shows an increased risk of cancer and other neurological effects.

    Here is the science. Together, as a whole this science is substantial and compelling evidence that WiFi in schools is a train wreck in the making.
    http://www.wifiinschools.com/uploads/3/0/4/2/3042232/epidemiological_studies.pdf

    • Scott Leslie says:

      See Ray this is what is frustrating debating with people like yourself. Earlier you stated “WiFi in schools is like having a cell tower in the classroom” yet that’s now stated as “Wifi in schools emits the same radiation levels as does a closely situated cell tower” as if these were the same statement. And then further compound the misdirection by conflating the wireless one would be exposed to by a closely situated cell tower with having a cell phone next to your ear (or worse in some studies you cite under 1cm away.) And then conflate all of the above as blanket proof that wifi specifically is not safe. Anyone reading your or Daryl’s comments across this site or indeed across the net will see these and more attempts to befuddle.

      • dyr2 says:

        I attempt to befuddle? You must serve up examples.

        And your trying to take Ray to task is of little worth. At issue is the whole genre of radiative devices and infrastructure. It being not all about power levels either, diminishes the force of trying to distinguish between near or far..

  25. Ray says:

    It has become evident that you are seeking to obfuscate the issue.

    Let’s get down to the evidence:

    A study from Princeton found that WiFi routers emit over 50,000 uW/m2, up to 500,000 uW/m2 of radiation just standing in a WiFi classroom without any devices present. This is just from the router.

    Peyman et al. 2011 found that a WiFi enabled laptop emitted over 20,000 uW/m2 of radiation at a normal operating distance.

    The NRW Ministry of the Environment states that levels in direct contact with WiFi laptops can exceed 50 million uW/m2.

    Now, let’s compare this with individual studies.

    First, Wolf 2004. This epidemiological study found that those populations living near cell towers had significantly increased risk of cancer. The risk was over 10x higher for women living near a cell tower as compared to those who lived further away.

    The radiation level for the exposed group was 5,300 uW/m2.

    Now, let’s compare.

    How do the cell tower radiation levels compare to a WiFi irradiated classroom?

    The levels in a classroom are much higher that present in conditions near a cell tower that caused 10x increased cancer risks for women.

    Here is a link to the study:

    http://www.wifiinschools.com/uploads/3/0/4/2/3042232/wolf_and_wolf_2004_netanya.pdf

  26. Martin says:

    If we ignore the health issue – a quick search soon shows there are no issues, unless _everyone_ is in the pay of multinationals which seems, unlikely (eg this article is typical, and I suspect the journalist is not part of some telecoms conspiracy http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/askjack/2012/sep/27/wi-fi-health-risks) then the far more interesting debate is how would you use wifi for best teaching advantage? In the interest of moving on to this subject and away from it being dominated by other concerns, I’ll play slight devils advocate and suggest some reasons why people might have reservations about wifi:

    1. Having pervasive wifi will lead pupils to do more distraction tasks (playing games, facebooking, etc) & school currently represents a haven away from these.
    2. It places a load on the school to police the network for abuses, eg accessing porn, or being responsible for cyber bullying that occurs over their network. Many don’t have the skills or resources to do this.
    3. Teachers don’t have the necessary skills to use it appropriately & there is insufficient funding to develop them
    4. There have been some studies (Selwyn did one I think) that show kids who spend a lot of time online apply the same techniques of multiple windows, multiple tasks to learning, and fared less well than those who just did the one learning task online. Not sure of the validity of this work, but might be an issue.

    I could give pretty good arguments against all of these, but they strike me as rational concerns that parents might have, so worth considering.

    Martin

    • dyr2 says:

      “unless _everyone_ is in the pay of multinationals”

      real perspicacious of Martin

      But his 4 points relate not to wifi alone.

      Looks rather like your “multinationals” have indeed affected your education system, and all some people can see about how to face this, is to go along blindly with more, allow intro. into a protected enviro., the “haven”, of what they are pushing.

      Talk about policing, funding shortage, development of disabled actors…your “multinationals’” paradise, eh?, no one left to oppose, school ‘em all to it.

  27. Ray says:

    Martin you can ignore the health issue, but many parents, teachers, and other community members refuse to do so. There is way too much evidence before us to do that.

    • Clint says:

      …but yet hardly any health officials. Ray, take your fight up with Health officials ’cause they certainly aren’t buying what you are selling.

  28. Magnus McElroy, P.Eng. says:

    A wireless router (wifi) will run at about 75 mW. (1mW is a thousandth of a watt)

    A phone (using the cell network, not wifi) can peak at 2W, the tower’s antenna at 500W to 3.5 kW, average of 20,000 times more power than a router. (The limits tested at the base of the tower are exceedingly small, close to 0.01 mW / square meter.) Nevertheless, comparing two different frequencies is literally comparing rainbows and x-rays, so let’s move on.

    Health limits for RF exposure are 3W/square metre in Canada. Assuming a given classroom is one square metre, that would require 40 routers per classroom to pose a health hazard.

    Let’s move to the Swiss regulation of 0.1W/square meter — that’s 100 mW / square meter — which still leaves that router below the strictest health regulations on the planet while still assuming a 1 square metre room. There is simply no way a wireless router can present a health hazard.

    I am a Professional Electrical Engineer (I am required by my code of ethics to disclose my full name) and I have spent the majority of the last 9 years working with RF transmission, EM segregation, and industry compliance of radio transmitters.

    Furthermore, the primary purpose of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC is to protect the public. If there was any danger presented by RF exposure, we would act on it.

  29. Lara says:

    I have read pretty much every article on both sides due to having to report on it in schools as a technical advisor. The reality is that there are no absolutely NO facts or studies that prove wi-fi is harmful in the form of small routers mounted on ceilings at least 10 feet away from students with 10 tiny routers per large school.

    The big question that every anti-wifi group refuses to answer is why are you focussing on tiny wifi routers when 50-80% of kids carry cell phones attached to their bodies in schools from Grade 3 onwards?
    Wifi is a useful tool. It is far more useful than having cell phones in school and with wireless rather than 3G, children are exposed to 1000x less RF transmissions anyway.

    Ignoring cell phones and focussing on tiny wifi routers is absolutely ridiculous.

Is WiFi Safe? Health Canada says yes

Health Canada has also produced this document (pdf 928k) on the subject.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority, BC, Alberta and Ontario Health Ministries, World Health Organization, UK Health Authority and other reliable sources of health information have also stated that WiFi is safe. You can read what they say about the safety of WiFi.

In December of 2012 the non-profit group Bad Science Watch produced the excellent report Investigation of Anti-WiFi Activism in Canada.

Download a poster

Download a PDF poster that you can print out and distribute at your school and to your PAC.