As college students head back to classes this fall, the question on their minds is no longer, “Will I be able to connect?” Instead, they wonder, “How many of my devices will I be able to connect?”
With backpacks filled with smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, e-readers, and gaming devices, students at today’s colleges and universities demand wireless connectivity as an integral piece of their education experience.
According to the latest “College Explorer” study from re:fuel, the average 18-34 year old college student owns 7 tech devices. For this reason, colleges and universities are leading the deployments of enterprise mobility. In order to woo the next generation of students, higher education schools are finding it necessary to have a strong mobility infrastructure.
This is an exciting time in the mobility movement, but there are other elements to be prepared for. Updating an existing wired backbone infrastructure, security concerns, and an influx of users, devices, and applications can be deterrents. A recent, ambitious plan to get an iPad in more than 30,000 Los Angeles students’ hands hit a major security snag; the school-issued iPads were installed with security software that blocked students from getting access to anything but pre-loaded education software. It only took students a few hours to bypass the security measure and crash the network.
However, despite these challenges, the vision of where this technology is headed in the near future makes mobile learning essential for the emerging student population – and in turn, the next-generation workforce.
With a new era of extended learning that expands beyond classrooms to dorm rooms, libraries, and public meeting areas, it is refreshing that the education sector is leading this wireless revolution. It will be soon possible to envision students watching streaming videos of their professors explaining scientific concepts on their tablets. We are not too far off from real-time collaboration that happens between students and teachers in remote locations.
For example, the R.N. Podar School in Mumbai, India has adapted something called the Flipped learning methodologies, where students access classroom video lectures online, usually at home. What used to be homework is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance. There is an initiative of replacing text books with tablets and allocating a Google student email ID to the student on Day One.
The question you should be asking yourself shouldn’t be around how many devices you will enable in your deployment, but what your foundational mobility infrastructure looks like. Not sure where to start? Allied can help.