One of the many challenges a school faces in today’s environment is the constant need to keep pace with rapid changes in technology. While scrutiny exists on what pupils’ learn, pressure also exists on how they learn. Increasingly schools are attuning to the notion that the technology in the classroom and the school itself needs to be reflective of the wider world in which pupils, their parents and the teachers exist.
A connected school utilises technology to encourage greater learning. To tap into the resources available online, creating effective lines of communication and improve efficiencies in the operation of the school.
And to do so in a fashion that’s safe and secure.
A catch-all generic system isn’t going to deliver the solutions you require. Getting the best IT infrastructure to support your connected school needs a more tailored approach, delivered by a provider who will understand the specific needs of the environment.
We look at five indicators that can help bring maximum benefit to your connected school.
How robust is your network?
At the heart of your connected school is the quality of your internet connection. The importance of a fast and reliable network is vital for a number of reasons. Primarily, of course, is the need for classrooms to have speedy access to learning resources and other online tools. In addition, the need for effective communication channels between teachers, pupils and parents is something which grows in prominence.
Generic, ‘off-the-shelf’ style network connections are rarely likely to offer the reliability needed for large numbers of users across the site. Working with a provider who can deliver a tailored enterprise network, built upon suitable architecture focused around key access points will enhance the online experience and deliver the learning-focused environment you’re searching for.
Educationally Focused Solutions
Speaking of which, your connected school needs to remain focused around core educational purposes during school hours. What you don’t want is a network with open-access to all kinds of web-applications, such as:
- Social Media
- Video Streaming
- Inappropriate Sites
Not only is this distracting pupils away from their learning, but such sites can have a major draining impact on the network itself, which can slow down connectivity in the classroom, where needed most.
Consider web-filtering capabilities when researching your IT provider. The capacity to deliver flexible, reliable filtering across different devices can make a huge difference to the network’s operations and suitability for an educational environment.
Web-Filters and Security
If you are adopting a robust web-filtering solution, then the ability to monitor and report any areas of misuse can also be a valuable tool as part of your IT support. Modern systems have the ability to scan online use, flagging up areas of inappropriate access. Which can serve as a useful and powerful deterrent.
Of course, there’s also the need to ensure that users are operating in a safe environment. Seek clarification as to the levels of security against hackers, viruses or inappropriate communication to deliver network and indeed personal safety in all online usage.
In an increasingly ubiquitous environment, access to the internet is gained across multiple devices. Beyond the laptop and classroom PCs, pupils and staff are likely seeking access via personal devices: phones, laptops or watches, for example. Is your network able to deliver suitable connectivity and filtering for all these items?
Finally, of course, the support from your IT provider is crucial whenever we are working with a complex, multi-device enterprise network. And it’s a level of support that’s required through architecture and installation to the day to day issues of your network.