Schools better connected with IT upgrades

Issue: Volume 100, Number 7

Posted: 2 June 2021
Reference #: 1HALS3

More than 300 schools have had their Wi-Fi equipment upgraded through the Ministry of Education’s Te Mana Tūhono programme, which supports 21st century learning by providing ICT network and cybersecurity support for schools.

Sheffield Contributing School principal Nigel Easson with Year 6 students, Maggie and Margot.

Sheffield Contributing School principal Nigel Easson with Year 6 students, Maggie and Margot.

Using the internet inside Sheffield School has become easier, and more reliable since Network for Learning (N4L) replaced the school’s aging wireless equipment, says principal Nigel Easson.

Schools benefit from a more reliable, resilient, safe and secure internet experience, and the upgraded networks are giving schools more flexibility in how they teach – they don’t need to worry about how many students are accessing the network, how many devices are being used, and internet speeds within the school are significantly faster.

Prior to their upgrade, the internet at Sheffield School would frequently ‘drop out’ and teachers had all but given up relying on it for classroom learning.

“Our internet is now seamless. We can trust it to work properly where and when we need it,” says Nigel.

As well as being pleased with the end results, Nigel says he was delighted with his upgrade journey.

“It was one of the smoothest upgrade programmes I’ve been a part of since I started teaching 20 years ago.”

A more reliable environment

Long Bay College deputy principal Mike Lewis says his teachers wanted more flexibility for teaching and learning.

“As staff would move to one area from another, the connectivity wasn’t seamless. We need an environment that is reliable and conducive to allow for that to happen.”

Each school has a customised network design developed to make sure upgrades meet their needs. Schools can choose to purchase an extension to the coverage they receive through their Te Mana Tūhono upgrade, enabling connectivity outside the building anywhere within their school grounds.

As one of the first schools to have their equipment replaced, Mike says they have been able to move forward with their digital learning plans knowing they’ve got reliable, next-generation wireless network infrastructure.

“We need equipment that can cope with internet speeds, and quality that enables us to deliver the new curriculum. Now, with the new network in place, we’ve been able to accelerate our plan to roll out BYOD, where every student can bring their own device to use at school,” he adds.

“The connectivity allows teachers the freedom to not just teach in the classroom but to move to different environments, inside and out, to be creative in the way the students work in a flexible digital context.”

Sunnybrae School principal Lorene Hurd was experiencing similar issues, which she says have all been resolved since the upgrade.

“It was having a negative impact on teaching and learning. Our Wi-Fi couldn’t support all the devices we had, and our device numbers were increasing.

“Now, our internet works where and when we need it. Our teachers no longer have to get up and move to a different area halfway through a lesson to try to find somewhere where they could connect.”

Lorene says all of their old problems have stopped since the new equipment was installed. “Everything’s working fully and everyone’s happy.”

Once schools’ new equipment is up and running, they receive more support to make sure their networks are safe and secure.

The Te Mana Tūhono programme funds specialised ICT help and support for school networks, which can be accessed via N4L’s HelpDesk on 0800 LEARNING.
 

Watch: Schools and N4L talk about working together to upgrade school Wi-Fi

Long Bay College

 

Sunnybrae Normal School

 

Network for Learning

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:25 AM, 2 June 2021

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