From Textbooks to the Internet: Technology in the Classroom
The days of chalk and a blackboard are long gone in America’s schools thanks to a new breed of classroom technology. Blackboards are replaced by interactive whiteboards, and chalk is replaced by laptops and tablets. In fact, The Institution of Education Sciences reports that in 2009, the ratio of students to computers in the classroom was 5.3 to 1 and that number has only decreased since then. In an effort to help schools access the Internet quickly, federal government incentives have allowed districts such as Cobb Country Schools receive discounts up to 90% for connectivity, making relationships with flexible providers like One Ring Networks incredibly cost effective. Regardless of an urban or rural setting, and state versus federal funding, our educational institutions need to have the best, cutting-edge technology accessible to students in the classroom.
Under the National Broadband Plan, the government is now providing many public schools and libraries with free or discounted Internet access. While the effort to bring connectivity to our youth is a step in the right direction, unfortunately free fiber – which is offered in some areas of the country – just isn’t cutting it in most schools. Many schools have made the switch from textbooks to laptops or tablets – making Internet access the most import key to a productive day in the classroom. Without a strong, reliable connection and sufficient data storage capabilities offered through high bandwidth, schools cannot successfully use the power of technology to their advantage. In fact, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recommended that for this school year, schools need 100 megabits of connectivity per second for every thousand students and staff members as well as one gigabit per second for transactions within a school-wide network. Additionally, those recommended numbers are expected to increase 1,000% in the next three years.
With the power of the Internet, there have been some amazing developments in education in recent years. Without a solid connection – whether it be fixed wireless internet or a fiber connection – paired with scalable bandwidth that increases and scales back based on need and seasonality, teachers cannot utilize the full potential of technology in the classroom. For schools located in Texas and Georgia, luckily there’s an alternative Internet provider: One Ring Networks. For example, in the Peach State, Cobb County Schools and Pace Academy both benefit from our fiber solutions with 10 Gigabit and 100 megabit speeds respectively, bringing reliable high-speed access to the world wide web to almost 109,760+ Georgia students. Because we own our own network, flexible contracts and managed services provide reassurance to schools in need of connectivity, and our unique customer-focused philosophy ensures they’ll get the custom solutions that best meet their individual needs.
Just as critical as reliable connectivity, many schools suffer from a lack of bandwidth that supports their increased needs from service providers. Now that most data is withheld in the “cloud,” schools need more bandwidth than ever to support and secure data like transactional records, grades and digital textbooks and a backup Internet connection is almost a necessity. In the age of “big data,” this concern is more important than most people realize for educational institutions, as a lot of focus is geared towards businesses and enterprise organizations – yet schools often have bandwidth needs equivalent to large enterprises without the additional revenue to pay for it.
Having worked with numerous schools in the Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth areas, One Ring Networks has provided comprehensive and specialized Internet solutions to meet each individual school’s needs. Keep up to date with our latest announcements in our online newsroom, and follow us on Twitter @OneRingNetworks for daily updates.
By Brad Hackett, Director of Business Development