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Collaborate and Learn – The power of connected schools

Michael Lok, Managing Director ASEAN, Ruckus Wireless | April 1, 2016
Michael Lok of Ruckus Wireless talks about the power of a connected learning environment and what schools in Southeast Asia need to do help build a digital and borderless learning environment.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The education sector has redefined the way students learn, with new technologies significantly changing the way education is received. From digital whiteboards to Apple TVs, to laptops and tablets, students today have access to more tools to aid their learning. Teachers today can use apps in classes, use videos to explain complex topics and receive homework submissions and questions at any time online. The classroom is both real and virtual, and the learning environment is 24/7.

To enable schools to implement these new tools, high quality, reliable network connections are required. Faster, smarter, more dependable Wi-Fi connectivity, which is affordable, is now pivotal for students and teachers to make the most of technological advances that are raising the standard of education for young people. But it shouldn't just be confined to the classroom. New doors are opening up for schools to make the most of the expert educators from around the world.

Collaboration is key in providing our students with the best possibilities to learn the skills they require to become the leaders of tomorrow. Think about this for a moment: if you could connect with another school online, virtual lessons could be conducted with experts in science or with students in another country to help with language learning. All that's needed is good quality, high speed smart Wi-Fi and the technology already prevalent in schools, such as tablets or TVs.

This 'connected education' approach would be most beneficial to those students in rural or small communities, who often are understaffed or do not have the teachers with the required skills needed to educate students on complex topics. Partnerships could be set up between schools to enable access to specialised skills or further learning capabilities.

But why isn't this happening already? Why aren't our students receiving access to the best educators from around the world? The problem is schools, generally speaking, have extremely complex Radio Frequency (RF) environments, making it difficult to provide fast, reliable wireless access across entire campuses. Old brick walls, high densities of devices and lack of backhaul connections are the issue.

So how do we overcome these obstacles to enable an environment where collaboration between schools can take place? We need smarter Wi-Fi, which mitigates RF interference, provides the capacity to enable a high volume of connections and the capability to provide connectivity to wireless access points without having to lay costly cable or fibre connections.

The world of Wi-Fi has always been a bit of a black art and no more so than in schools. There are so many variables that go into determining a strong, dependable wireless connection, from environmental factors, obstructions, interference and even rain can make a difference. RF performance of Wi-Fi equipment largely depends on antenna technology.


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