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When the Classrooms Reopen: How Fiber Drives Educational Success

Earlier this week, the federal government extended its COVID-19 related social distancing guidelines until the end of April. In multiple school districts, that means students learning from home and instructors providing online guidance. For now, schools, community colleges, universities and other educational institutions remain empty – but not forever. In time, America will have control over the outbreak and students will once again be heading back to the classroom.

When that time comes, there will certainly be a lot of catching up to do. Instructors will likely be looking to continue leveraging the cloud-based, communication and collaboration applications with which they are just beginning to get familiar. Students, having spent months online, will also be eager to continue taking advantage of innovative e-learning technologies that they can access from their mobile devices. All in all, the question becomes whether your institution or school district has the network infrastructure to support new, bandwidth-intensive demands.

In-class sessions may have shut down for a while, but the trend towards mobility, e-learning, smart devices and remote collaboration is surging. If you’re unsure about how your networks will perform under an evolving load or you know you are still relying on old, constrictive technologies like copper coax, read on. We explain how we can help.

Modernizing Your Curriculum? Modernize Your Network First!

With today’s connected classrooms and the increased popularity of online learning, reliable internet is arguably as essential as electricity. Many educational institutions still use legacy solutions, like copper coax cable networks, for their connectivity needs. In rural areas, even fewer options for accessing the internet exist due to lack of pre-existing infrastructure. In fact, some districts still rely on microwave transmission. Compared to fiber, this particular technology is significantly less reliable because information can only be effectively shared if there’s nothing in the way of the signal, like buildings or large trees.

So, just how can an educational institution use the power of fiber to enhance their students’ learning experiences? Here are just a few trends:

  • Big Data: As Forbes reports, big data can give educators actionable insights into the consumption patterns around certain educational technologies. In this way, they can leverage the power of data to create the right mix of tools to keep students excited and committed to learning. It’s more efficient than doing spreadsheets.
  • Virtual Reality: Educators are embracing virtual reality for various reasons. Imagine covering a unit on an ancient civilization or an abstract concept like space – an experience out of reach for your students. Thanks to the power of virtual reality, you can help your curriculum come alive and keep students engaged.
  • Digital Footprint: Work and the online experience go hand in hand these days. As a result, getting students to become familiar with popular work deliverables, even in K-12 programming, is critical. As a result, teachers are increasingly using platforms to assist students in creating blogs that serve as a digital portfolio of their accomplishments each school year.

Fiber optic networks can improve on-site educational opportunities by facilitating the use of exciting new learning technologies. They can give you the increased bandwidth and more reliable connectivity needed. However, choosing the right provider can be difficult. Here’s how DQE can support you.

DQE’s Customizable Solutions

DQE can build network infrastructure to meet your individual needs for bandwidth and internet services (including metro ethernet and DDoS mitigation), as was the case with the ARIN Intermediate Unit. In this situation, we expanded our network by more than 40 miles to outfit 11 school districts and two technical schools the IU serves with access to a reliable, fast network with increased security. Because we own and operate the network, the school districts and other educational institutions we partner with get peace of mind knowing we are their single point of contact for any requirements that need addressing. In the areas we serve, we have the technical expertise and network density of larger operators, but with the agility and flexibility of an entrepreneurial venture. We’ve previously explored this topic. To learn more, download our data sheet.  

Recognizing the importance of increasing connectivity for institutes that foster learning, the FCC also offers an E-Rate program. The program provides eligible schools and libraries with access to discounts on telecommunications services, internet access, internal connections and managed internal broadband services. We have years of experience with this program and we can work with schools and E-Rate representatives to build customizable solutions.

Let’s Talk

We understand that the technology needs of each educational facility is as unique as the individual learning experience for each student within the school. Therefore, we go beyond the one-size-fits-all approach. To learn more about how we can customize our fiber solutions to help your school or university, download contact us today!

Tags: COVID-19 schools, distance learning, e-learning, fiber optics

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