Here are six new ed-tech innovations you should know about

Here are six new ed-tech innovations you should know about.

Each week, I’ll highlight new ed-tech innovations that readers should be aware of. This week’s column includes a next-generation wireless infrastructure, more powerful voice recognition software, a blended learning curriculum to prepare students for college, and a device that could help prevent cell phone cheating on exams.

Control app use over your Wi-Fi network

On March 12, Aruba Networks unveiled a new Wi-Fi architecture that gives school leaders tremendous visibility and control of the apps their students are using on a wireless network.

Aruba’s latest Wi-Fi access points include what the company calls a Next-Generation Mobility Firewall that uses advanced deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to identify more than 1,500 applications being used on the network.

Using Aruba’s Wi-Fi network management software, school leaders can set very granular policies for which apps their students have access to, as well as where—and when—this access can occur. IT leaders can allow or deny access to certain apps for certain groups of students, or “throttle” service for certain types of apps in order to maximize their wireless bandwidth.

This ability could be extremely useful when schools roll out online Common Core testing next year, said Kezia Gollapudi, product marketing manager for Aruba’s K-12 business. For instance, if students are taking Common Core exams in one classroom, school leaders could set their wireless infrastructure to throttle video applications in adjacent classrooms during this time, to make sure the testing occurs uninterrupted.

IT leaders can control access to certain types of resources based on users’ roles—for instance, allowing access to social media sites for students in upper grades, while denying this for students in lower grades—or based on location (that is, by specific access points). What’s more, a feature called AirGroup allows teachers to control who has access to Apple TV devices without having to bother an IT administrator.

This degree of visibility and control over mobile apps has been available before in separate products, such as mobile device management software. But now, schools can enjoy these features directly within their wireless infrastructure from Aruba—making it a very cost-effective solution for schools, Gollapudi said.

(Next page: A low-cost entry into 802.11ac wireless access points; voice recognition software gets even more advanced; and a blended learning curriculum for college and career readiness)

Dennis Pierce

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