Feb 07 2012

Colleges Embrace Learning Without Wires

Wireless networks and tablet computing are enabling learning on the go.

Although many college campuses installed their first wireless networks a decade or more ago, adapting to the consumerization of IT remains a work in progress.

Today, people expect to work on the go — and IT departments are doing whatever they can to support the wide array of devices that students, faculty and staff bring to campus. That’s why we’ve dedicated much of this issue to wireless and mobility. You will find mobility efforts under way at institutions both large and small.

To meet the expectation of anytime, anywhere availability of IT applications, Johnson County ­Community College in Overland Park, Kan., deployed a new 802.11n network as part of a broader technology upgrade to improve its data center and network.

“Students and instructors are realizing that this is not temporary, that when they go to a particular space on campus they have a signal,” says Sandra Warner, the college’s deputy CIO and director of administrative computing services. “And that makes it appealing for them to bring their smartphones and tablets to campus.”

For more on the Johnson County wireless network and how other colleges are building the infrastructure to meet the mobility challenge, turn to “Building the Mobile Campus."

Scaling Up

Once a campus upgrades its infrastructure, it can then begin deploying some of the latest devices (or let users bring their own). “Colleges Say Tablets Improve Teaching and Learning” details how colleges are using the new devices to improve teaching and learning.

Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., deployed about 400 Lenovo ThinkPad Android tablets to freshmen and faculty in the sciences, the humanities honors program and the business leadership program. The Lenovo devices’ styluses helped the university integrate the tablets into how students actually work. For example, students conducting lab experiments find it much easier to write with the stylus as opposed to taking off their gloves every time they want to make a note using the touch-screen keyboard.

Cloud Computing Webinar

Bloomington Public Schools, ­District 87’s Jim Peterson and ­Jason Radford have helped create the ­IlliniCloud, a grassroots effort to give all Illinois schools access to a cloud infrastructure at reduced cost. To learn more about the IlliniCloud from the people who made it happen, register for EdTech’s live webinar on March 7.

Ryan Petersen
Ryan Petersen
Editor in Chief