New Wireless Protocol May Be Great For Schools
In this episode, Ricky talks about the ed tech news of the week and some tips on how K-12 can make their network situation better.
Ed Tech News RunDown
Making Student Data Useful
An Article from Ed Week explains that some states are working on ways to make use of student data. It seems every week we have an article on student data and if you are a director of ed tech this is an article you should dive into further. Essentially what is happening is everyone is beginning to realize that data is the wild west and if it can be figured out it may well hold one of the keys to improving education. The problem from a state standpoint is that obtaining and sharing useful data between different applications being used is very difficult. Some state’s leaders recently met to have a conversation “around what states are doing, what’s the vision for it, and if (they) started to build the next steps… what would they be?” While I am happy that these steps are being taken, it’s disappointing that it appears to be a problem that has no real plan as of yet. Part of the reason may well be that there is little to no financial benefit for states to figure this out. And it is a bit concerning that the hope for solving the data problem may rely on state government officials and as we know the government is rarely cutting edge, swift to act, or efficient… so yeah.
New Wireless Protocol Might Help Schools
An article from Ed Tech Magazine explains that a new WiFi standard just might be the solution to helping bogged down connections at schools. The standard is called 802.11ax and it promises less congestion, faster data, and better battery life for devices. This technology is being developed in chipsets this year by Intel and other manufacturers so we should be seeing this standard in some devices by next year. Of course, full implementation is never a quick process so expect that to be a few years down the road. But there is reason to be excited… data speeds should be at least 4 times faster which is impressive. And for those of you who are pulling your hair out because you just replaced your network don’t worry… this standard is backwards compatible so you can upgrade and replace in stages.
Teacher Shortage is an Ed Tech Problem
An Ed Surge article explains that the most critical problem for schools when it comes to Ed Tech may actually be the teacher shortage that many states are encountering. They mention that there was a 35% reduction in students enrolling in education programs between 2009 and 2014. This has created a critical shortage in teachers especially in STEM, English language learning, and special education. Add to that the fact that nearly 8% of teachers leave the profession every year and it becomes a strain on many things… especially the effectiveness of ed tech as training is rarely as available and extensive as it needs to be and with teachers leaving and districts having to recruit people without teaching degrees. So, what can be done about this you ask… well they give some suggestions. Make training and support widely available, focus on teacher retention, and one that I’m sad to admit I never really thought of before.. Include substitute teachers in professional development. In my experience, I found that people who were qualified and good at ed tech left because of how frustrating it is that there is so little room for growth without an Ed Leadership degree.
4 Tips for a Network Upgrade
And for our final story we get another Ed Tech Weekly favorite… an article with a number in the headline… 4 Tips to plan a K-12 Network upgrade. This may end up being a nice follow up to our second article. Their first tip is to start with Network Management systems, basically making sure that you’re reviewing your process especially when considering the different compatibility issues with wired and wireless networks. Second tip is to perform a network requirements audit. With the amount of devices being added each year this should be done twice a year to make sure capacity is sufficient. Thirdly, examine capacity planning assumptions which essentially means make sure you have enough switch ports per number of physical switches. And finally, Don’t forget physical planning. Where will extra switches be housed and is the area properly cooled.
Check out Episode 78 Where we talk more about successful A.I. and Mabot.
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