Today’s K-12 classroom is occupied by a new breed of students that were born into technology, with a passion for learning that extends well beyond the conventional classroom. They are perpetually connected, absorb knowledge at a tremendous rate, and consume information in innovative ways.
As our new generation of Internet savvy students move through K-12, school boards are being forced to do more with less. They must ensure every teacher and student is equipped with the online tools and network infrastructure to power a positive digital learning experience without the fundamental bandwidth resources to enable it.
According to EducationSuperHighway, 63% of schools do not have enough bandwidth to meet the current needs of digital education. This begs the question: How can schools that have similar connectivity to the average household, but with hundreds of more users and significantly more traffic, offer a high quality and predictable Internet experience capable of meeting student expectations and powering digital learning?
In this blog we will discuss today’s digital learning trends and provide a set of considerations for overcoming network infrastructure and budget constraints to support the connected classroom.
Trend #1: Mobile Learning
The growing adoption of mobile devices in K-12 has extended education beyond classroom walls, modernizing the way students communicate with each other and their teachers. Mobile learning has proven to foster creativity, enhance problem-solving abilities and give students control over the pace at which they learn. In fact, 90% of students say that tablets help them study more efficiently.
There is no denying the benefits of mobile learning, but with 44% of K-12 schools allowing students to bring their own devices, a substantial strain is being placed on school district networks. Implementing a mobile learning strategy can be counterproductive if you don’t first implement a network that can support all users, applications and devices.
Trend #2: The Connected Classroom
74% of teachers say educational technology is a key motivator for students. The connected classroom provides students with a higher level of interaction and gives them the freedom to connect, create, collaborate and share. Whether it’s using Facebook to collaborate on projects, videos to supplement a lesson plan, or online games to encourage engagement, digital resources are powerful classroom tools we must embrace.
The challenge facing school districts is that without the infrastructure in place to support a connected classroom, digital learning slows the network to a halt. We know 45% of teachers are now using web-based interactive games and activities as part of their daily lesson plans, the fear is that K- 12 students will not benefit from them if online applications don’t perform as expected.
Trend #3: Online Testing and Teaching
Education portals allow teachers to manage their curriculum in a single digital platform. One of the biggest advantages of these learning management systems is the ability to create and administer online tests. Teachers can create more interactive exams that keep students engaged and motivated. Not to mention, automatic grading reduces administration time and provides immediate feedback to students and parents.
According to a recent report, 52% of high school students take tests online and 36% access online databases. With so much critical information being managed digitally, it becomes increasingly vital for schools to build network infrastructures that can support this level of Internet activity.
Network orchestration makes digital learning possible.
As digital learning evolves, it’s vital to have a solution in place that can provide deep insight into how teachers and students are accessing the network, the types of devices they are using to connect, and how their actions affect network traffic.
Monitor Internet and application traffic from a central school district console. See what sites and applications are being accessed by students and teachers to ensure safe Internet use and guarantee priority learning applications are performing as needed.
Make sure your most important learning applications always have the bandwidth they need and that students and teachers have a consistently fast Internet experience. Never allow recreational Internet use compromise the quality of the digital learning experience.
Protect the valuable bandwidth resources you have by controlling how it is allocated by school, user, group and time of day. Conserve your bandwidth and defer costly upgrades by eliminating wasteful consumption.
By empowering school districts to deliver a quality Internet experience to teachers and students alike, they not only make digital learning possible, they empower students to control the time, place, path and pace in which they learn.
Learn how to enforce appropriate use of the network and maintain a safe learning environment for all students. Book a 1:1 demo with an Exinda Solution Expert or read the 5 Reasons K-12 Education Uses Exinda for Better Network Monitoring and Control.
K-12 Connectivity (EducationSuperHighWay, 2015)
BYOD Coming to a School Near You (Secure Edge Networks, 2013)
How Many Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom (Mashable, 2013)
Trends in Digital Learning: Students’ Views on Innovative Classroom Models (Blackboard, 2014)