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Wi-Fi paving the way for e-Learning

July 7, 2014 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

As the traditional model of education is evolving, schools and colleges are facing increasing challenges to provide higher-speed, more reliable Wi-Fi to students, teachers and staff. (Image Source: Vator.tv).

According to research conducted by Ambient Insight, South Africa is said to be one of the most dynamic e-Learning markets in Africa, where over the last two years, many countries across Africa have embarked on new initiatives to integrate learning technology into education and training. However, as the growth increases, the technology infrastructure has become key in order to lay the foundational platform for e-Learning and access. And as a result, the traditional education model is changing. This will be demonstrated at the African EduWeek, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, from 9 – 11 July 2014.

This year the conference will be exploring strategies from pan-African governments and universities on the roll out and implementation of literacy and numeracy programmes, e-learning and the shortage of qualified teachers in Africa.

Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa, says: “As the traditional model of education is evolving, schools and colleges are facing increasing challenges to provide higher-speed, more reliable Wi-Fi to students, teachers and staff. New mandates such as digital textbooks and 1:1 initiatives require entire classes to concurrently get online to view material, collaborate on projects and present their work. As such, schools everywhere are looking beyond current access models to the new generation of Wi-Fi technology to support more users and diverse applications.”

In line with this, schools need strong security, full coverage, and consistent connections even when entire classes start sending videos at the same time. But for most educational institutions, tighter budgets and limited IT staff make the transition impossible. However, Ruckus Wireless and solution partner UC-Wireless have recently solved the challenges for several schools with high density Wi-Fi application requirements for the implementation of e-Learning.

“We believe that the first critical step to any effective e-Learning platform is the installation of a robust, reliable, fast and seamless enterprise-grade high density Wi-Fi solution. It is a key foundational building block – if not indeed the cornerstone,” says Quentin Daffarn, Managing Director of UC-Wireless. “The integrated wireless solutions that we have designed with Ruckus solutions have the necessary user capacity to cover high density operational areas within schools and operate in harmony, by minimising interference, increasing speed and even video performance. This all occurs simultaneously with unprecedented security demands, while taking into account the unique challenges that are present within our own education eco-system.”

UC-Wireless has recently deployed Ruckus Wi-Fi solutions into several schools, ranging from 500 to 1800 concurrent learners per school, including:

Brackenhurst Primary School
Springs Boys High School
Prestige College in Hammanskraal
Falcon College in Boksburg
Roshnee Islamic School in Roshnee, Vereeniging (awarded “The best performing school” in Sedibeng East District For Grade 12 in 2013)
Boksburg High School
Hoërskool Eldoraigne in Pretoria
Sunward Park High School in Boksburg

Having the correct network infrastructure in the academic arena is crucial in generating effective educational participation. By doing so, collaboration is enhanced through encouraging student access and use of the network portal where teachers post homework requirements or study material.

Creating such a platform allows parents, learners and educators to dynamically participate in the learning process; students are encouraged to actively engage with their peers, while parents may keep track of their children’s homework requirements and results. The introduction and increased use of tablets in the education syllabus also enhances students’ practical participation in the learning process, and when the need arises, the use of controlled Internet access may be utilised to further enhance the interactive learning experience.

“Technology and by extension Wi-Fi, has become an integral part of educating students all around the world. Gone are the days when a teacher would sit down with their class and teach using just a textbook, blackboard and piece of chalk. Students today can now enjoy the use of tablets, and Internet in the classroom, offering a richer and more interactive learning experience,” concludes Fletcher.

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