Collaboration, sharing resources, accessing information, presenting media… All of these have one thing in common: they demand access to a wireless network.
Web access is such an overarching part of technology today, and having poor quality access (or no access at all!) can seriously impede any plans for new learning initiatives and new technologies. Both pupils and staff now just expect to be able to connect to the internet at any time, and from wherever in the school they need to, so it’s really essential that your WiFi is ready and waiting!
The e-Learning Foundation said that the majority of wireless networks in UK schools today aren’t fit for the 21st century. Of the 250 secondary schools they studied, only 22% had WiFi in most or all classrooms, while 39% said they had it in some classrooms and the remaining 39% said they had it in few or no classrooms. And as President Obama said about the US, “In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it for our schools.”
Connectivity, capacity, coverage
There are two things to consider when it comes to connectivity – coverage and capacity. The first, coverage, is all about having a strong signal wherever you are in the school, so you always have full bars. The second, capacity, concerns bandwidth – that is, making sure the connection can support the number of simultaneous devices and computers trying to connect in the school. Of course, if a whole class are trying to connect at the same time, it’s going to put more of a strain on your network.
Capacity and coverage are especially important when it comes to dealing with bandwidth-heavy activities such as streaming video and rich media to devices, downloading apps and content, or using any kind of web-based game. Ultimately, this all needs to work invisibly too – the best kind of WiFi solution is one that you don’t even notice, that’s always on and available and never slows down any day-to-day activities.
Want to know more about the importance of good WiFi? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.
By Ade Leader