Ready or not, the summer is nearly over. The days will be getting shorter, the leaves will be changing colors and roads will be crisscrossed with buses carrying students back to class.
This year, students have a lot going for them as they embark on a new school year. A confluence of revolutionary teaching methods and technologies are poised to drastically alter the way that teachers do their jobs.
Here’s a quick look at some of the innovations students can anticipate:
1:1 Student Ratio: The 1:1 ratio does not refer to having a teacher for every student; it refers to each student in a school receiving his or her own connected device—smartphone, tablet or laptop—to enrich lessons. While many old-school educators have brushed off the notion of providing students access to their own devices in the classroom, recent studies have proven the efficacy of this trend. The results of a Michigan State University study conducted earlier this year found that a 1:1 ratio was linked to higher test scores in English, math, science and writing.
Video Conferencing: Skype will be donating $250,000 to teachers requesting technology materials to enable video conferencing in the classroom this year, via Skype’spartner DonorsChoose. Carolina Martin, DonorsChoose vice president, claimed during the announcement about the donation that this program will help students transcend the physical limitations of the classroom to cultivate more global thinking.
Flipped classrooms: A flipped classroom is one in which students view slide or video lectures before, rather than during, class. Then during school hours, students work on exercises and projects related to the lectures as well as discuss the material. The lectures are available through online portals that can be accessed any place with an Internet connection.
The challenge for schools wishing to implement these instructional innovations will be to integrate cutting-edge networking solutions.
For starters, administrators must address network security. Schools are responsible for the safeguarding of information ranging from students’ medical records to teachers’ social security numbers. With every device introduced, a new portal is opened for potential breaches. Migrating networks to data centers or leveraging network monitoring solutions can drastically reduce the chances of being hacked.
Second, administrators must procure a network with scalable bandwidth offerings. With more devices being brought into the classroom to connect to the Internet and stream video, school networks must be able to meet rigorous capacity demands. Without flexible scalability, districts will end up footing the bill to pay for a high-bandwidth network even when data consumption slows.
While this may seem overwhelming for administrators, resources are available to help facilitate the introduction of these new trends into their districts. The Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program, which subsidizes the costs for many telecommunications solutions to support modern tech trends, is increasing its budget by $1.5 billion this year to provide cash-strapped schools with additional support.
Unlike generations past, students today are digital natives. They are more receptive to learning when technology is used as an integral part of their classroom. In order to offer learning experiences that go beyond school hours and classroom walls, Cox Business has solutions that help schools accommodate this ever-changing environment. And we believe bandwidth and system support shouldn’t get in the way. That’s why we offer solutions like Managed WiFi — which includes a professionally designed and installed network that works inside and outside your building, plus a 24-hour help desk. Plus, MPLS IP-VPN can help you scale your bandwidth to accommodate a variety of needs — including videos, photos, graphics, and other educational programs. Click here to learn more about our reliable, secure wide-area networks.