It’s a nightmare out there. School districts’ wireless networks now have to support teachers, students, and staff – all touting desktops, tablets, smartphones, and/or laptops. For some in IT, knowing who is accessing what using what on the network (a confusing statement itself) could very well be cosmic chaos; for others, it is simply a black hole of the unknown.
We attended ISTE 2013 this year and came away filled with ideas and excited about a bright future of technology in education. One of the most inspirational takeaways was from the keynote speech by Steven Johnson, “Where Good Ideas Come From”.
Kevin talked about the evolution of ideas. Contrary to popular belief, the best ideas aren’t a light bulb going off, they take time to mature and develop. He defined this as the “slow hunch”, the source of true creativity. Furthermore, ideas are usually not single and solitary, but are built on a network of other ideas. Within this incubator of ideas, connections and collaboration become more and more important, both for development and implementation.
Technology is a wonderful thing, at least in my opinion; especially when it’s used to inspire creativity, knowledge and to make learning fun and interactive. New and interactive technologies inspired the Midland County Library in Texas to change people’s perceptions of what a library can and should be. Coined as the “library of the future”, community members now engage in a wide-variety of activities inspired by not only the books on the shelves, but the entire world around them.
Take a look at the video and see how Midland County is changing the definition of “library”:
Changing longstanding perceptions of public libraries is necessary to attract children and adults to visit, read, check out books and ultimately, learn. When a library positively changes the way people interact and gain information, education goals become limitless. The technology transformation is proving successful too; since its opening, the new library has had more than 1,000 visitors daily.
Midland County Library partnered with Cisco to develop its IT infrastructure, helping incorporate new technologies, such as interactive digital signage, to entice new visitors to the library. The a state-of-the-art, interactive facility features digital walls, e-book rentals and training programs on how to use new technology.
So many students, so many devices, yet zero increase in number of IT staffers. The increasingly unbalanced ratio is enough to cause a few nightmares for any IT professional. Luckily, supporting student IT requirements, while remaining secure, has become a bit simpler with Identity Service Engine (ISE) Policy Deployment, part of Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education. With ISE, IT staffers can quickly add and support student’s devices like laptops, smart phones and tablets and at the same time ensure the protection of student information access, dynamically control who gets access to what and provide optimal network user experience. You can be rest assured that we have your back while you balance it all.
Protection of Minors – Let’s face it – K-12 means we’re talking about minors, so we need to tread quite carefully. Extending network access across wired and wireless opens education to a world of innovation; yet it also opens the network up to security threats. 64% of parents feel it is a schools responsibility to effectively teach students how to use their mobile devices safely [Info graphic]. Protection of access to and access by students is a high-priority. It is critical to restrict access to confidential student records while making sure students get the right access to resources they need for learning. The ISE component of the K12 BYOD Solution protects student information through secure, role-based, application access – simply -- over the wired and wireless infrastructure. Read More »
With so many schools looking to integrate various technologies for things like blended & distance learning, increased staff and student collaboration, and mobility options, many are asking “are we sure we have the necessary infrastructure?”. And if they answer yes, will it support the newest technologies, and will it work all the time, every time?
We all know technology-enabled classrooms are becoming necessary for students and teachers living in a network-connected, mobile world. Luckily, schools can actually reduce operating costs at the same time they are enabling these technologies by providing a wireless network infrastructure. Read More »