Wireless wastage: the state of play in UK schools

Since Apple launched the iPad in 2010 the use of technology in the classroom has garnered a lot of attention, especially with an increasing number of children having access to these devices at home.

Central to facilitating 21st century learning is ubiquitous connectivity and with most households now having some form of Wi-Fi network in place, pupils, teachers and parents alike are now expecting this same level of service at school.

Thanks to mobile and wireless technologies, teachers and pupils are now free to break away from the constraints of the traditional classroom – making better use of interactive learning hubs and outdoor spaces. Pupil expectations of technology mean they are demanding quick access to resources at their fingertips so they’re able to work independently.

However, many schools still require guidance on how to use Wi-Fi effectively and get the maximum benefits from their budgets.
We partnered with Academia to survey IT decision makers from 100 UK schools*, to investigate the current adoption of wireless networking, explore views on government support for digital learning and examine how schools are sharing best practice.

Key findings from the report include:
–       94 per cent of those we surveyed currently have Wi-Fi installed and 72 per cent have invested in it in 2013;
–       41 per cent of schools invested in new laptops or tablets before introducing a new wireless network;
–       Common wireless pain points among those surveyed include issues with supporting high numbers of users (31 per cent) and achieving coverage across their school’s entire site (30 per cent);
–       Two in five (40 per cent) said their current Wi-Fi offering doesn’t adequately match their investment in classroom technology;
–       Only three per cent of those surveyed receive grants or donations to help them share ICT best practice with other schools

With IT taking up a large proportion of schools’ budgets, careful planning and consideration are required in order for wireless and mobile technologies to have a truly transformative impact on learning.

To see the results in full and for guidance on implementing wireless at your school or college, you can download the full report here: http://wifi.xirrus.com/wireless-wastage

*Sixty-five secondary schools and 35 primary schools were included in the research. Seventeen per cent of schools have fewer than 200 pupils, 31 per cent have between 200-500, 28 per cent have between 500-1000 and 24 per cent have over 1,000 pupils
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