How outdated is your school’s WiFi? According to the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), 48% of schools have under-par wireless connectivity – a shortfall that can have a far-reaching impact for pupils, teachers and administrators. But how does this affect your school in practical terms, and what benefits can a rethink of your WiFi setup really bring? Here are 4 compelling reasons why it may be time for a WiFi overhaul.
1. To fully embrace online learning and critical thinking
The scope of online learning is vast and exciting – providing students and teachers with access to useful resources spanning a huge range of niche subjects. From YouTube videos to collaborative learning platforms, digital technology is transforming the way schools approach education. But without competent WiFi, schools are struggling to really take true advantage of these online channels.
Many institutions now give their students access to online devices, either through the provision of tablets – marking a significant investment in technology – or by encouraging pupils to bring their own devices to school. With fast and efficient WiFi, this technology can be used both in and out of the classroom – allowing students to self-direct their learning with autonomous research whether they’re in the lunch hall or waiting in the playground.
A fast WiFi connection with high bandwidth is also a must for simultaneous use of online devices. If hundreds of students are connected all at one time – watching videos or downloading class materials – your WiFi needs to allow uninterrupted, instantaneous learning.
2. To provide bespoke channels for pupils and teachers
Pupils, teachers and admin staff have very different requirements of your WiFi. For students, the priority is access to online learning platforms, stream content and conduct research. For teachers and administration, it’s the ability to access student records and submit pupil data such as exam results and progress reports. By segregating WiFi traffic and separating networks, you can provide bespoke channels with tailor-made security measures and improved performance.
3. To enhance security measures
Every school’s primary objective is to keep their students safe. But without the proper controls in place, the online space can be a difficult place to traverse – whether that’s protecting your students from explicit content or restricting access to specific networks or forums.
By changing your WiFi setup, your school can not only carefully control security measures and network activity, but can also protect sensitive data from hackers. Instead of an open, publicly available network, your WiFi should be closed with complex passwords, a hidden network name (SSID) and varying levels of user authorisation. Multiple network- ensuring the channels accessed by pupils and parents are not linked to the main administrative network – are also important for enhanced security.
4. To manage expectations of your WiFi
By understanding the nuances of your WiFi network, you can manage expectations and ensure the network can be used efficiently. Providing pupils and teachers with clear instructions for logging into the network, they can use the WiFi quickly and easily. If there are ‘grey areas’ within certain areas of the school, a map of the campus showing high, medium and low levels of connectivity can help to inform quick and effective usage.