Preparing the K-12 network infrastructure for common core and online assessments

To implement this Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, we first needed a wireless infrastructure that could reliably support the growing number and increased density of devices being used in our classrooms while securely delivering and managing the same levels of network access for both the BYOD and district-provided devices. Just as important, as a K-12 school district with limited IT staff and budget, the network had to be easy to deploy and simple to manage.

After a thorough review process, we selected a unified wired and wireless infrastructure from Aruba Networks. Key to that decision were Aruba’s ability to handle the wide range of mobile devices on our network — including tablets, notebooks, netbooks and e-readers — and securely onboard these devices whether they were district-owned or brought in by students, teachers or guests.

With Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management System, we are able to easily profile devices and ensure that each student, teacher or staff member on the network has the right access privileges based on who they are and what device they’re using. For example, with ClearPass we can apply different access and security policies for a student who brings his or her own iPad to class versus a teacher who is using a district-provisioned laptop. This not only helps us ensure the security of our network, it saves a significant amount of time and effort so we can focus on other important IT projects.

As we dive into Common Core, the new wireless network is becoming more critical for instruction. Our teachers are increasingly using mobile technologies to share content, boost engagement and improve collaboration with and among students. In addition, they are utilizing learning technologies such as Apple TVs that are granting students access to a wider range of educational materials.

With the new infrastructure, we can allow our students to easily and securely connect to the network and access the resources they need. With main goals of helping our students learn and our teachers reinforce classroom lessons, we are much less restrictive with our network access than some other districts.

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