The idea is that, whether they’re bringing their own devices from home or using school-issued technology, students are likely to use many different ed-tech devices throughout the school day, including multiple devices simultaneously—and K-12 leaders should plan accordingly.
That means “making sure networks are robust enough to handle this extra demand,” Bjerede said.
Vince Humes, director of innovative technology services for Pennsylvania’s Intermediate Unit No. 5, said he recommends planning for “at least three devices per student” when designing school networks—and as many as 50 devices per wireless access point, all streaming video at the same time.
IU5 provides technology training and services for 17 public school districts across three Pennsylvania counties. Humes said IU5 officials have noticed the “one to many” phenomenon in action while delivering ed-tech training to teachers.
In a session with, say, 60 teachers, Humes’ staff will notice 60 smart phones connected to the network simultaneously, as well as anywhere from 40 to 60 tablets and roughly the same number of laptops.
“Whenever we do any network planning for schools, we always start with that number in mind—three devices for every user,” he said. “And it might be even more than that within a few years.”