The days of classroom lectures, textbooks and overhead projectors are giving way to online resources, 3D immersive technology and wireless tablets and laptops. Technology is the catalyst for collaborative classrooms. By integrating technology devices and applications into schools, learning becomes more inclusive and engaging.

Modern school networks must allow technology to become part of the learning process

We’re experiencing several trends in school technology right now, including:

  • Online learning, with teaching delivered over the Internet and educational materials distributed and shared online
  • Blended learning, with a combination of online learning and in-person interactions in a traditional classroom
  • Live analytics, where teachers use wireless devices to gather student responses to questions
  • Digital curriculum, with wireless devices in the hands of each student to conduct online readings, videos, audio and testing
  • Campus-wide communication, with classroom monitors receiving streaming, real-time content and messages from central offices

While these technological advances are revolutionizing learning and teaching, they’re also impacting school networks. If LANs can’t handle the pressure, then students and teachers have to deal with lagging downloads, technology crashes, malfunctioning devices, constant video buffering and online resources that won’t load.

 

cant ignore cat 6a bannerBut classroom technology isn’t limited only to the devices and apps being used inside school walls – it also encompasses the infrastructure that supports these learning tools. All of this technology requires planning, research and an updated IT infrastructure.

As more students and teachers learn, take tests, watch streaming video and communicate with other classrooms online, the strain is being felt on school networks. If the infrastructure isn’t designed to support an influx of people, devices and technology, then students, staff and teachers won’t be able to reap the benefits, no matter what gadgets or devices the district invests in.

To handle new applications and devices coming onto school networks, infrastructure will have to be prepared to support the following ...

  • Increased Bandwidth

    How much bandwidth does your school need? Each educational facility is unique; no single bandwidth number will meet school network requirements across the board. It depends on the number of devices the school supports (both school-owned devices and BYOD devices) and how often these devices are used. Having enough bandwidth to support learning goals is the foundation of a school’s IT network.

  • Ample Scalability & Futureproofing

    Think about how much technology has changed in the past five or 10 years. Now think about how much it will continue to change in the upcoming decade. The number of people and devices connecting to school networks will only increase. For this reason, infrastructure should be able to handle expansions in terms of coverage and capacity. As the groundwork for learning, the number of new applications and devices added should be able to scale easily.

  • Strong Signal Strength

    According to a 2014 report from CoSN and the Education SuperHighway, 57% of U.S. public schools require Wi-Fi upgrades. A wireless network is obviously key to making connected classrooms a success. As a result, the Wi-Fi network needs to be strong, reliable and evenly distributed. Quality, quantity and placement of access points is critical. Your investment in wireless LAN technology will be what makes or breaks many of the classroom technology trends taking hold.

Learn more about how Belden can help design and implement LANs that will support ever-increasing numbers of people and devices in schools.

Are there topics you would like us to discuss in future blog articles? Let us know in the comments section below!