Primary education is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of chalkboards and overhead projectors. Advances in technology and teaching methodologies have transformed America’s classrooms into more collaborative, interactive learning environments. Many studies have shown that 1:1 learning initiatives improve student learning outcomes. Textbooks are being swapped out for mobile devices that provide up-to-date content in real time. Personalized learning programs are developed to meet the needs of the individual student. The Digital Classroom (and building) need to provide the environment to support this new way of learning. Thus, IT professionals in education must plan for the future and build next-generation infrastructure that supports this digital learning environment and emerging technologies.

To implement digital learning, a school must build the right infrastructure. The needs of the students and faculty must be taken into consideration.

Students:

Students need fast and easy access to digital learning tools. The network infrastructure must be fast and reliable. The WiFi used throughout the school needs to be enterprise-grade and stable. Since students will most likely do in-class work on their mobile devices, as well as take exams and write papers, the WiFi needs to provide availability so these important activities are not interrupted.

Teachers:

Educators need in-classroom technology to be easy and transparent. They must maintain control of the classroom while the students are engaging with their mobile devices. They also need digital tools to enable roll calling, messaging with students, and monitoring their progress during exams. Teachers need automated and problem-free technology that is simple to use. Research shows that if teachers embrace the new technology, the 1:1 learning initiatives have a higher level of success.

Administrators:

Administrators represent another piece of the mobile-first experience in education. All school districts operate on tight budgets, so administrators need to manage capital and operational expenditures very carefully. One-to-one learning initiatives require analytical data to monitor how the programs are working and provide the ability to adjust as needed. Administrators can only support investing in digital learning initiatives if it improves student learning outcomes. The IT team also needs to have an infrastructure that is easy to manage and monitor as IT resources are usually scattered thinly in school districts.

Building an Intelligent Wired and Wireless Infrastructure

Delivering a mobile-first experience ensures the students have anytime/anywhere access for uninterrupted learning. Digital classrooms are high-density environments. Lots of applications and devices need bandwidth. You need a network infrastructure that can handle the bandwidth required to support not only lots of students and devices, but also streaming video applications. Aruba wired switches support multi-gigabit capacities — enough to support high-density applications.

In addition to supporting the wired requirements, you need to support the mobile and other wireless devices in the classrooms. This means you’ll need a Wi-Fi infrastructure that can support the demand of mobile devices along with bandwidth-hungry applications, such as video. Use dynamic access point (AP) technology, such as Aruba Instant Access Point, capable of prioritizing critical learning and testing applications over other apps, while blocking inappropriate content. Another consideration is to set up a policy-management system, such as Aruba ClearPass, that can implement enterprise-wide policies, strong security, and an enhanced user experience for authenticated users and guests, with little to no touch.

Network solutions from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, deliver a robust wireless infrastructure that provides the access, control, and bandwidth needed for digital learning initiatives to succeed. They not only help students learn better, but also save teachers time and effort, and provide administrators the information they need to monitor and justify their investments.

To learn more about how Matrix Integration and Aruba networking solutions can help your school cost-effectively implement a digital classroom environment, contact us.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise specializations include Platinum: Converged Infrastructure Specialist.
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