Mobility is the new norm. Faculty and students expect digital learning capabilities.
The world of technology is constantly advancing and infiltrating every aspect of modern life, changing the way we live, work, socialise and even how we learn. Young people are already using digital technology to learn at home through the internet, computer gaming and social networking. Now, schools and other educational institutions are increasingly realising how technology can engage students, enrich the learning process, personalise education and breakdown barriers.
Students are more likely to be motivated to learn using the latest technology, since they are accustomed to using mobile devices and tablets outside of school. That is why many schools are embracing next generation technologies that expand learning options, such as 1:1 device-to-student deployments, bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, and cloud-based applications that support learning in the classroom.
Used effectively, a mobile device provides a greater set of tools at a teacher’s disposal, and with self-motivation, engagement and independent learning skills being key for a student’s progress, such a device offers new opportunities to motivate and engage students of all abilities.
In order to support students in a mobile world, schools must fully integrate wireless into their connectivity strategy. Student satisfaction rises when they are given the ability to enjoy wireless access in busy libraries and study halls. Done right, wireless it’s a strategic IT infrastructure advantage that accelerates learning and lets schools do more than ever before.
Technology to support the digital classroom encompasses identifying appropriate educational applications and software, selecting the right mobile devices (laptop, netbook, tablet, etc.), and building a wireless infrastructure that provides the high performance required by this form of learning — all while delivering that performance with a level reliability equal to that of a wired classroom.
When developing your wireless networking strategy for the digital classroom, you need an inclusive approach where all stakeholders are engaged and have the ability to offer input. This includes educators defining teaching requirements, application managers identifying software requirements, and the IT support team defining the client types. Once these factors are clearly understood and defined, the IT wireless architect can define the wireless infrastructure required to support the interactive learning environment. Important infrastructure components include the following:
- Design for ubiquitous coverage
- Design for performance
- Design for reliability
- Design for scalability
The requirements of interactive learning will no doubt impact wireless networks not designed to handle them. Networks must be designed for 100% pervasive coverage, wired-equivalent reliability, and performance that not only meets today’s demands, but can seamlessly scale as your requirements do without replacing the network, such as Xirrus Wireless.
Xirrus wireless solutions are ideal for educational environments, from small primary schools to large multi-building campuses. The distributed intelligence across the network into each Xirrus Array eliminates the single point of failure, found in legacy wireless architectures, and ensures seamless wireless network operation. The superior technology utilised results in a network that can be turned up much faster and more economically than traditional solutions, reducing a school’s total cost of ownership.
Although many schools believe that the implementation of 1:1 initiatives and BYOD is financially unattainable, there are simple yet effective financing and leasing options that enable parental donations for the full or partial cost of a child’s device.
The 21st Century digital classroom can, in fact, be a reality for all schools today.
Funding tablets for education is easy with Parent Portals, such as that provided by Your IT Works, in partnership with WestWon. The Parent Portal is a secure online parental contribution system that enables parents to make regular fixed donations towards the cost of their child’s digital learning device. The scheme allows schools to enjoy the cost advantages of bulk purchasing via an operating leasing without having to administer the collection of parental donations.
The portal operates by providing parents with a secure login. Parents then simply set up a monthly or quarterly payment for the agreed amount by credit card, debit card, or standing order, with reimbursements made to the school on a quarterly basis.
In addition to making donations the Parent Portal also provides parents with information regarding their child’s device.
A managed parental donation scheme benefits schools in various ways:
- It’s the easy way for parents to make donations towards the cost of their child’s tablet
- It frees schools from the burden of collecting parental donations
- Online tracking and administration of each device, with a complete Device Asset Management system
- Optional insurance available
- Avoids technology obsolescence
Deploying a digital learning strategy has never been easier with Your IT Works, supplying the complete solution from the wireless network, device procurement and parent portal management.
Find out how Giffard Park Primary School revolutionised its curriculum delivery with high performance wireless.