The cell phone industry has a suggestion for improving the math skills of American students, reports the New York Times: spend more time on cell phones in the classroom. At a conference this week in Washington, D.C., called Mobile Learning 09, CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, plans to start making its case for the educational value of cell phones. It will present research–paid for by Qualcomm, a maker of chips for cell phones–that shows so-called smart phones can make students smarter. Some critics already are denouncing the effort as a blatantly self-serving maneuver to break into the big educational market. But proponents of selling cell phones to schools counter that they are simply making the same kind of pitch that the computer industry has been profitably making to educators since the 1980s. The only difference now between smart phones and laptops, they say, is that cell phones are smaller, cheaper, and more coveted by students…

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