Educational mobility strategies for schools

Moderated by Kevin Hogan, eSchool News, Content Director

Experts share tips on educational marketing strategies at Verizon Wireless.

educational-webinar-mobilityOn March 4, eSchool News hosted a webinar with Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and Traci Parrish, who focuses on educational marketing strategies at Verizon Wireless.

The goal of educational mobility is to create a 24/7 learning environment for students. “I think the world is changing, including the world at school,” Krueger said during his presentation. “The school network, frankly, just isn’t ready.”

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Krueger said there needs to be a new conversation about what mobility looks like and how it can help students, and who should have access. A CoSN initiative called Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND) is one way the organization hopes to help schools prepare their networks for the mobile revolution. The initiative will highlight new and future technologies, identify best practices in strategic design of networks for education, and develop vendor neutral resources and tools for school districts.

Parrish offered additional solutions to the network problem.

(Next page: Supporting school networks and connectivity)

“Asking the right questions is a big deal,” Parrish said. “What kind of access is it and is it sufficient for the resources your school wants to supply?”

Many schools do not possess the necessary resources to support networks for education and not all students have the same kind of internet access at home. Parrish offered a novel approach to create “rolling study halls,” by providing internet connection on school buses. This would give students increased access time for learning.

“Providing connection on the bus can be now and relatively inexpensive,” Krueger noted.

Another solution is to invest in a Mi-Fi device.

The device, which is a cube no bigger than a cell phone, sets up a circle of internet connectivity. Parrish suggested that schools buy multiple Mi-Fi units and allow students to check them out of the library so that they could bring the device home.

According to Parrish, the device itself is free through certain government contracts, and the unlimited monthly connectivity charge ranges from $37.99-$39.99 per month. Mi-Fi requires no additional infrastructure and is compatible with all devices.

When it comes to creating a clear vision for offering 24/7 learning, Krueger said school leaders have to start by identifying the indicators of what learning looks like today. Then, with a clear goal in mind, they should have a conversation with parents and students to see how students are using their devices both in and outside of school.

“I think the one of the most effective things that we’ve done is being able to survey parents in an effective way,” Parrish said.

Kreuger concluded with these words of wisdom: “Don’t start by talking about technology, start by talking about what learning you want to accomplish and what’s stopping us from getting there today.”

Sydney Mineer is an editorial intern at eSchool News.

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