For a number of years, IBM K-12 Division has been a major leader in assisting school districts with technology assessments and roadmaps to maximize and optimize their limited resources. IBM’s focus has been to assist with both the Infrastructure requirements and the teaching and learning priorities that technology must support within a school district. The company, along with provincial Ministries of Education, recognizes that education must embrace disruptive technologies in the same way that industry does, while, at the same time, ensuring that education today is relevant to the marketplace when students finally finish their studies and enter the “real world”.
IBM’s ongoing work with boards of education in Canada is to provide complementary and specialized subject matter expertise across the technology and learning eco-system for the 21st century. While there are so many choices associated with devices in the market place, the IBM team assists with all the elements so districts can make the right decisions for a 3-5-year roadmap. Critically important across this eco-system is the need for the most reliable and sustainable network and wireless infrastructures. With this important and growing need for appropriate security and IoT access, IBM K-12 has needed a partner with the skill, experience and knowledge to design and install top-performing wired and wireless solutions in Canadian schools.
IBM is very selective about who they partner with, so they turned to their long-time association with IOSecure, their go-to source for complex Cisco systems, to get the job done properly.
When schools and universities first began to use computers for educational purposes, the machines were congregated in computer “labs”, usually single rooms within the schools, hard-wired to an ISP. The labs were only open during normal school hours and students had to book time on the machines.
Fast forward a few years and the modern school classroom offered several dedicated laptops or tablets in each classroom, which served as research resources for the students and ran off a wireless network with limited bandwidth.
But, even this model is rapidly changing; practically every student today has his or her own mobile device – smartphone or tablet – that they take to school. Rather than budgeting for the expense of purchasing a device for every student – prohibitive for even the most affluent school boards – and force students to abandon the devices they’re most used to, schools are permitting the use of individually owned devices and incorporating them into the curriculum.
They also recognize that shaping the learning experience through technology is now the preferred approach because this method of learning appeals to students versus the traditional front-of-the-classroom delivery of knowledge.
Schools can also take advantage of app-based attendance software and email alerts to absent students – all with the goal of encouraging the learning experience.
This increased use of technology aimed at both students and teachers places inordinate demands on a school’s wireless network and shows the often-glaring needs for network upgrading and improvement.
There is also a major need to create secured wireless environments to protect privacy and ensure that students on school networks only have access to the content they are allowed to see. At the same time, many school districts needed to have their voice systems updated – some still have telephone systems from the 1990s.
Using Cisco’s state-of-the-art networking systems, IOSecure installed strong wireless networks in schools across the country, that could handle the multitude of individual hand-held devices, and provided secure solutions through filters on guest networks to prevent access to inappropriate web content.
The company also undertook to upgrade phone systems in the schools, where needed, building in emergency lines that provided redundancy in the event of technical problems.
The end result is satisfied school boards and districts across the country, and a major business partner in IBM, who continues to look upon IOSecure as a valuable resource and reliable partner.
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