If some of us recall our time at schools or university, then we would be amazed t the levels of classroom and lecture hall technology today. Gone are the blackboards of yesteryear. Instead, many schools and higher education institutions are using a range of connected devices, both at school and at home, as part of a wireless revolution in the education sector.
Connected From Any Location
Wireless networks in schools and universities have enabled students and staff access to information across large sites. This is especially important for universities that are spread across different campuses. Students are able to gain access to learning resources from anywhere – even at home. Staff can share information on portals, ensuring they’re up to date with key news. Homework or coursework can even be submitted online through school portals, saving teachers valuable time too.
Sharing documents across cloud-based apps means that students are now able to collaborate on group projects from a range of different locations and at different times, giving plenty of flexibility to the way they work. In fact, hosting information using cloud-based services even benefits the school or university, by reducing the number of servers required and using free software such as Google Apps. Essential documents for a piece of coursework can be accessed quickly, without having to trek back to the library.
Teachers are able to bring up a YouTube clip to demonstrate something, or play audio at the click of a button. Presentation software and hardware, such as interactive whiteboards, is also impressive these days. When combined with reliable wireless networks in schools, it means that students are able to experience truly engaging methods of learning.
But… what are the problems today?
The benefits of schools having access to Wi-Fi networks have clearly been well established over the years. But are there any downsides to the technological changes? Any myths about the safety of WiFi in schools have been debunked thoroughly over the years, so the questions that remain are largely down to access and performance. Indeed, only a quarter of schools (as of 2013) have wireless networks that are currently fit for purpose, leaving the vast majority without access to proper WiFi – in many cases, without any WiFi at all. That means that only a proportion of school students are able to take advantage of the wireless revolution. That may well contribute to a UK-wide skills shortage in the future.