- Access to dependable high-speed internet is an essential for educators and students
- As learning becomes more tech-based, spotty and unreliable internet connections hamper instruction
- See related article: 4 ways admins can support teachers’ technology use
Connected Nation’s 2022 Report on School Connectivity notes that one-third of school districts–23.5 million students–still need improved access to the internet and digital learning. Without access to reliable internet and Wi-Fi-dependent devices, students and teachers face disadvantages, and schools can have a hard time meeting their educational goals.
Let’s look at why that is–and what can be done to ensure connectivity in every classroom.
Disadvantages caused by poor internet and Wi-Fi connectivity
Schools are turning more and more to technology and devices to support e-learning goals, life skills, and instructive and fun activities.
Poor connectivity–such as dead zones, dropped signals, or long buffering times–can mean:
- Students face obstacles completing classwork
- Students lack tech-related skills and digital literacy, especially if the classroom is the only place they have access to Wi-Fi technology
- Educators can’t supplement their teaching with online resources
- Stress levels rise if issues happen during online testing
- Staff have issues completing tasks
- Parents have trouble communicating with schools
Any issue can mean teachers lose countless minutes trying to troubleshoot the problem, adapt lesson plans, and keep children engaged. Those minutes–and potential frustrations–add up throughout a school year. No school wants to be a space that limits learning opportunities. This means that the Wi-Fi and the internet must be an always-available resource for every person on campus.
What is needed for reliable internet connectivity and Wi-Fi in schools
How do schools make and keep promises of reliable Wi-Fi for all? They must have:
- IT professionals
- Real time issue alerts
- Real time and historical analytics
- Remote troubleshooting
IT professionals: IT professionals are an integral part of any school. They monitor the hundreds or thousands of connected devices, troubleshoot problems, make recommendations on upgrades, and keep everything running smoothly. However, with so many devices, and taking into account the fact that network behavior can change in a second, there are tools and solutions that schools should have on hand to support IT. For example, IT cannot analyze the behavior of every device in real-time. Yet, real-time analytics are needed to ensure issue-free, reliable networks. IT can also not be in more than one place at a time, but many are responsible for more than one school. This is why solutions that offer remote troubleshooting are so helpful.
Real-time issue alerts: When issues occur, IT must be alerted immediately so that resolutions can be implemented at once. Frequently, in schools (and all environments), issues are intermittent. They can seemingly resolve themselves in minutes, and it can be tempting not to submit an issue report right then and there. However, this leads to IT being told hours/days after the fact that there was a problem. When the issue recurs, as it almost inevitably will, the same thing happens. IT is now left with outdated information and teams have to scan through pages and pages of management data to try and discover what was happening at the time of the issue.
This is incredibly time consuming.
With real-time alerts, IT knows the instant an issue occurs. Some tools and solutions will also identify the root cause of the issue, again saving IT significant time. With these alerts, problems are debugged and resolved quickly, improving network behavior now and in the future.
Real-time and historical analytics: Real-time analytics and insights keep IT informed of network behavior and performance throughout the day. With this data, IT confidently knows that the network is behaving as expected and meeting all user needs. If performance changes, IT teams have the insights needed to address any problems.
Historical analytics add value in two ways:
- They give IT insight into what occurred when no one was onsite–either overnight, over a holiday, when IT was at a different location, etc.
- They highlight long-term behavior and performance trends. Decision makers can use these trends to identify upgrade/update needs, keeping the network future-proofed and budget friendly.
Remote troubleshooting: IT professionals need the ability to solve problems from any location at any time. Any resolution implementation that requires travel, requires students and teachers to spend more time with the problem. This is true whether IT must drive across town or walk from one end of a building to another. Travel means resolution delays. Remote troubleshooting removes travel from the equation, allowing problems to be resolved faster.
Another benefit to remote troubleshooting is that IT teams don’t have to have access to hard-to -each or busy locations to identify and resolve problems. This means they don’t have to interrupt classroom time or try to reach devices fixed to the ceiling of an auditorium, or in a stadium.
Support education with reliable connectivity
Find the best tools and solutions for your school that provide these capabilities and you will experience a difference. There are individual tools, all-in-one solutions, and Wi-Fi automation solutions. Wi-Fi automation returns time to IT and saves schools money by automating the detection, notification, and mitigation of Wi-Fi issues. These solutions analyze the entire network environment and are vendor agnostic. With so many resources dependent on the internet and the Wi-Fi, don’t let connectivity slip to the bottom of your priorities. Support students, teachers, and staff with the tools they need to surpass all academic goals, this year and every year.
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