The proliferation of mobile devices and educational applications is transforming the classroom into immersive, personalised learning environments. Nowadays modern classrooms are equipped with a variety of digital learning tools aimed at keeping students engaged and motivated.
It is becoming increasingly common practice for schools to connect mobile devices to the school network, enabling students to continue learning outside the classroom, faculty to continue preparing and delivering learning materials outside of school hours, and school administrators to continue providing services anytime, anywhere on campus.
Much of the changes that are taking place in digital learning today have been ushered by the adoption of smart, mobile devices. These consumer-grade mobile devices are manufactured with form, sleekness and appeal to the consumers. As they are optimised for longer battery life and as such, the majority of these devices are connected to the Internet with Wi-Fi or the 4G/LTE mobile data access.
As the adoption of mobile devices as learning aids in schools is sky-rocketing, it is likely to have a huge impact on the network architectures they reside on. IT departments are struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for better quality user experiences while the budget to implement new or upgrade networks is shrinking.
Mobile Learning Is Here to Stay
Studies have shown that mobile users in schools depend on their smart devices not only for keeping up with their daily routines – such as checking email, reading the news, calendaring, and sending texts but also to access critical learning resources and use classroom technology to enable digital learning.
According to a survey conducted by the Pearson foundation, 73 percent of students surveyed preferred learning from digital textbooks over learning from print textbooks and 86 percent believed that tablets help students learn more efficiently. Other studies have also shown that modern classroom technology – like Interactive Whiteboards, Apple TVs, and eReaders – is on the rise as schools are becoming more aware of the value it provides to education.
Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) initiatives in schools are also becoming more prevalent, prompting school IT departments to accommodate and create network security policies not only for school-owned mobile devices, but personal, student-owned devices as well.
Wi-Fi is the enabler to all these new technologies and has fast become the most critical technology component to help teachers. Without a robust and secure Wi-Fi network, schools won’t be able to support and fully embrace the modern classroom technologies that exist today.
Advanced Wireless Networking for the Schools
The right wireless network is a key component to modernising the classroom and unleashing new learning experiences by connecting students to smart classroom technology, enabling learning applications on any mobile device as well as providing seamless network connectivity and security anywhere in the campus.
Managing a multi-campus school network that has a demanding mobile user base can be extremely complex. Traditional, controller-based network architectures in schools were primarily designed where Wi-Fi was a ‘nice-to-have’ add-on to the wired network. Today’s education networks consider Wi-Fi as a ‘must-have’
Innovative and technology-savvy schools are now adopting unified wired and wireless architectures that cater to the mobile-first user community. With a controller- less architecture, schools can design, deploy and manage networks of all sizes across multiple campuses piece by piece when it suits them.
When looking for the best wireless network to implement, it is vital that schools look for one that meets the demands of its current mobile user base, while future-proofing its network for the demands of tomorrow.
About the author: Peter Davison is the Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand at Aerohive Networks and is responsible for driving the company’s strategic direction and execution in the region. Prior to Aerohive, Peter spent three years as the ANZ Country Manager for Xirrus and two years at Alvarion.
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