Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mobile Phones in Schools As A Lifesaving Tool

Guest post by Erik Endress, Founder & CEO

I met Lisa Nielsen, creator of The Innovative Educator blog, a year ago after learning of her stance on enabling students to use mobile phones in school as a learning device.

Proponents will say that you can't let kids use their phones because they might use them to take photos or video or text. I want them, and their teachers, to do just that when their school goes into lockdown, when their is an active shooter in their school, when they are witness to criminal behavior and anytime they need help.

On August 3, 2011, I spoke at the #140edu conference in New York City about my objection to how school lockdown procedures that instruct teachers and students to cower in dark rooms, under desks, with the blinds drawn and their mobile devices disabled. To say that the audience of mostly educators, including my friend Lisa Nielsen, was moved, would be an understatement.

The passion you see in my presentation comes from my first hand experience as a First Responder for more than 25 years and five years on my local board of education, where I advocated for integrating technology into our schools to save lives.

Shortly after appearing at the #140edu, I realized that I could solve the problem that frustrates me so. I realized that I could build the solution that would enable teachers and students to use their mobile devices, iPads, Macbooks and any one web-enabled device in their schools to share with 911 and First Responders. In that moment, Share With 911 was born.

Two weeks later, I brought this bold and highly disruptive vision to improve situational awareness during school safety events to the New York City Start Up Weekend competition, a 54-hour marathon during which you validate your business idea, model and function. We won!

There are countless opportunities for citizens to use the platform we are currently building. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, natural disasters, finding missing children, getting help when you are having a heart attack....but we will start by bringing this to schools where we hope that every teacher, every staff member and every student will be permitted to have our app on their smartphone or tablet and a link to it on their desktop. 

For more information about how you and your school can participate in our beta, email erik at

Erik Endress has been a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey since 1986. He has also been a school board member and a passionate advocate for improving school safety for teachers, staff and students. Endress believes that people in schools in lockdown or evacuation situations can utilize mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops to communicate with 911, First Responders and one another to improve situational awareness for all.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I think its important that schools and teachers use the technological tools that are freely available to them. Allowing students to use their phones in other ways than texting small talk back and forth is how it should be. We should be teaching our children how to be responsible citizens with the technology that has been given to them. How can they use their phone and their brain to enhance their learning? Or to keep themselves safe? Others safe? I hope that many others jump on board.