Reliable, affordable and advanced networking is essential to every educational institution. Demand for communication services that support WANs, Wi-Fi and high-bandwidth educational applications continues to rise as curriculum and instruction increasingly shifts to technology-rich environments.
With the recent updates to E-rate, district leaders can choose between building and maintaining their own networks using dark fiber or trusting the job to a communications service provider. When making that decision, considerations must include looking at the total cost of ownership, evaluating technology innovation, identifying the impact to network control and security, and determining staff availability and expertise to manage future issues.
With the modernization of E-rate and the increase in available funding for school districts, many administrators face a strategic choice when it comes to their network. Some districts may choose a managed service through a third-party vendor, while others want to keep their network managed in-house by district staff. There are pros and cons to each model and several key considerations every district should examine before making this important IT decision.
One of the key struggles in implementing most 1-to-1 programs is figuring out how to manage device deployments with limited staffing. However, a comprehensive enterprise-grade support system like Sprint’s Wireless Campus Manager can help districts with device management support efforts such as asset staging, asset tagging and tracking, and remote control of the device.
Many districts’ school years start with device rollouts and preparations for online assessments. Considerations need to be made around the technology planning for testing and 1-to-1 or BYOD. This web seminar, originally broadcast on June 6, 2014, featured an industry expert who discussed a new resource from SETDA (State Education Technology Directors Association) that can help district leaders identify technology requirements.
With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations.
Director of Technology
Goddard USD 265
Carson City School District
Carson City, Nevada
With both Common Core testing and a 2013-2014 districtwide BYOD initiative looming, Rockwood School District in St. Louis County, Mo., required a strong Ethernet connection between buildings. As the district spans 150 square miles, the large area needed high-level coverage. According to Will Blaylock, the district’s CIO, the provider the district had been using prior to July 2013 had been meeting the district’s needs, but they were looking for more.
The influx of devices and applications that result from a BYOD project typically strain a district’s wireless network. Keeping your network secure is also a concern. However, with the proper device and network management tools, these issues can be mitigated and innovative ways of delivering education through technology can be achieved.
Online learning is an exciting and limitless prospect, but the applications and devices required to support it demand a robust district network infrastructure. Though establishing the necessary broadband foundation can seem daunting, the resulting benefits are worthwhile pursuits.
The need for high-speed internet in schools is growing exponentially. District Administration spoke with four administrators from around the country about what is driving current bandwidth-consumption trends, what impact increased bandwidth has on tight budgets, and what the future of bandwidth looks like for K12 schools.
Small and medium-sized districts have unique challenges in establishing ongoing technology sustainability. However, even with limited funds and staff, it is possible for schools to have maximum functionality and ease of management with the latest technology products available.
After eight years of employing a 1:1 laptop initiative, the team at Kershaw County Schools in Camden, S.C., chose to investigate alternate options for the 2012-2013 school year. Eventually, the school board decided that a 1:1 iPad initiative was the next logical step in maintaining technological relevance.
A robust network that allows students and staff to access the internet is critical for every school district. However, to protect students and comply with CIPA and local regulations, a multi-strategy approach with reporting, monitoring, and flexibility tools is essential.
For many schools, data and communications systems are the equivalent of a messy closet. Administrators are forced to master different controls for bells, security cameras, audio-visual equipment, intercoms and the like—a time-consuming, unproductive task.