Wireless Please!

I know wireless access may seem like like a luxury when you have wired ports for the internet, but it's becoming a necessity in our growth as digital learners.

Here is an example:
Our first grade teachers meet for all day training in the conference room which is really the only place where they could all meet on a day where school is in session. There is one internet port in this room (which I'm sure they thought was sufficient when the school was built eleven years ago), so we use a port replicator so everyone can get internet access. That works for surfing easy loading websites and checking email, but not for any kind of collaboration.

I came in for a portion of the day to demonstrate how to add links, documents and videos on the wiki the first grade team just started. As soon as everyone started trying to add things on the wiki the connection either timed out or the upload symbol would
continue and never upload anything. How in the world were they supposed to practice what they just learned? So frustrating!

The same thing happens in the classrooms when you try to check out the laptops and do an activity with the students. I don't know what exactly the speed is on our line, but I've been told our bandwidth doesn't support these kinds of tools yet. At least not on more than one computer at a time. Can't really complain to the technology department alone, they don't do the purchasing for the district...but I need to find out how to help the powers that be see the urgent need. We're trying to educate the digital generation and support digitally literate educators. Wireless with more bandwidth, please!!!!


I hate to hear this for you! I guess, this is the thing that bothers me. Everyone says "we don't have the bandwidth."

Well, we spend all of $184 per month for a high speed cable internet connection and have a firewall that I've tweaked for accessing the Internet. This supports 85 computers, 4 servers, and 3 open wireless nodes that cover our campus. We use all kinds of tools and only when we're in Google Lively do we even notice a network slowdown.

I just don't buy the bandwidth thing so much. We DON'T have a T-1 and are able to use so many tools that others can't - and usually those others buy a much higher speed internet connection than we do!

Something doesn't add up! I'm so sorry about this experience! It just doesn't make sense, especially when you have the students out of session and it is just a handful of teachers on computers.

One more thing - wondering why they couldn't at least bring in a small router to give more than one teacher wired access for this event. It isn't perfect but it can be done!

Anonymous said...

wireless school building are nice. Ours was wired for this using a grant. Try seeing if there is a grant that will help defray the cost that you can apply for.

Suzanne said...

We really do need a solution. Think of how much you've already added to the pd in the district by having access to the ning and blogs.

I totally empathize with you. We have bandwidth issues in the computer lab and we're wired. I have been doing much more online this year and am constantly running into timeouts and outages. Our classrooms have no Internet access at this point.

Anonymous said...

I was surfing around the site and can't help but comment.

The District has approxmately 45k computers, one 90Mbs internet connection and allows unrestricted teacher access to YouTube, various other multimedia web sites, students have access to "games" and thousands of other web sites.

Unfortunately, physics come into play. The internet connection is completely saturated all day long.

Imagine a 2 lane highway and your city has a mandatory evacuation in effect.

Solutions are relatively simple, buy more bandwidth and/or control usage.

Controling usage is unpopular.

Someone has to come up with the $$$ to increase the bandwidth.

Just like buying a car, if you want all the bells and whistles, there is a cost associated.

So here we are.

As usual, education is behind. You can go to coffee shops, hotels, conference centers, airports, bookstores, restaurants, campgrounds, libraries, fitness centers... and connect wirelessly, but not in school!