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What Students Want and Expect from Our School Wi-Fi Networks

Written by Danny Mareco Danny Mareco | March 12, 2015

Let’s face it—there is often a communication gap between adults and youth. It’s not always easy to know what the younger members in our society want, and part of that is because it’s constantly changing. Kids have the energy to keep up with the latest trends and have an innate sense to want to explore and create.

When it comes to technology, students want the latest devices; they also want access to a high-speed school wireless network, 56% of students to be exact. However, it isn’t solely for the reasons you might imagine.

In a recent national survey by CompTIA 400 faculty members and 1,000 high school and middle school students were polled to find out what technology priorities, opportunities, challenges, and investments were required to best support today’s changing education environment.

Here are the results:

Supporting E-learning

E-mail, e-books, e-learning—everything seems to be e-oriented these days. Before you decide that everything has gotten too technological, look at some of the benefits of education in the digital age.

When middle and high school students were surveyed, they answered that school Wi-Fi was one of the things they most desired. The results were based on their enthusiasm to have more technology in the classroom and the ability to connect their multiple devices to a robust school wireless network.

Many schools are moving toward stronger wireless networks. Teachers are using technology as a tool in many innovative ways. For example, students can take tests on tablets or laptops with instant results. Students are able to research papers, view webinars and have access to incredible learning resources.

It’s easier to streamline student performance through gathered and analyzed data and personalized learning. It would seem that middle and high schools can benefit from the same technology. Kids don’t just want to snap photos, tweet or post status updates—they want to learn in engaging and entertaining ways as well.

However, although 55% of students would like to use more simulations or games in class, only 44% of teachers are currently using game-based learning. It’s interesting to note that according to the survey only 22% of teachers plan to start using game-based learning tools.

A New Way to Learn

Screen time isn’t all bad. There are apps, simulations and games that allow students to grasp complex concepts and academic material. Sometimes the way mathematics, physics or science is presented in a game gives students an alternative way to absorb the material. It doesn’t have to be the only way curriculum is taught, but it can add an extra layer of support for students who are learning.

Students aren’t the only ones interested in adopting these supplemental tools into the classroom. Educators also see the benefit of utilizing an additional way of learning. Teachers are interested in massive online open courses (MOOCs) as well as the games and apps, and see technology as a way to expand their teaching plans. They too encourage a better wireless network for campuses.

Looking to the Future

Students get that technology is here to stay. They realize that what they are experiencing in schools is starting to reflect what will be expected in the workforce. 92% of students say technology is teaching them the skills they will need in the workforce. Look at businesses—are they still putting pen to paper, or are they embracing technology and using it to perform multiple tasks?

Beyond games, 45% of students were interested in learning things like coding and programming, while 49% said troubleshooting computer issues and the basics of software. Technology has the power to equalize the playing field for all schools. By having the resources available, these students can gain essential skills for the future.

Why a Strong Wireless Network is Important

You don’t have to upgrade your system overnight, but it is wise to look at what needs have to be met and create goals to implement those changes. A poor wireless network can result in slow or inconsistent internet when multiple devices are trying to connect. Outdated services and lack of training can also create issues.

Try to visualize a road system in your city or town. In many cases you see houses built, malls, restaurants, various shopping and so on. What you don’t see are more lanes on the road or even entirely new roads being built to support the growing demand.

What happens?

You get traffic jams, congestion and the city scrambling to upgrade their infrastructure to support the growing number of vehicles (users) on the road (your network).

We always say to establish what you want to do and then before you implement plan out your infrastructure to support what you are trying to do. This will make sure your new technology plans are deployed efficiently and effectively the first time. As an added benefit this will also give you the ability to design a school wireless network that is scalable with your future plans.

Technology is becoming a priority for many schools—and it is something to seriously consider implementing. Think of it as an investment that optimizes learning and allows students to gain excellent experience that they can apply to their futures in immeasurable ways.

At SecurEdge we've helped hundreds of schools analyze, design, implement and support secure wireless networks. If you have any questions about your current network or you would like to discuss plans to upgrade, simply contact us here!

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