Next Generation Wireless Overview
In recognition of the increased demand for wireless computing by students, teachers and staff, the Division of Instructional and Information Technologies (DIIT) of NYCDOE is in the process of upgrading the existing school wireless network. This network enhancement will provide students and teachers with an enhanced instructional technology platform for delivering educational content.
We are using the phrase “Wireless for Learning and Achievement” to emphasize the underlying mission of this initiative. “Wireless for Learning and Achievement” renews DIIT’s commitment to use technology to add value to NYCDOE’s teaching and learning services. In order to implement these changes, and improve our ability to help our schools, we are upgrading our existing wireless infrastructure to one that will make “wireless” the platform of choice for many instructional services, and that will meet next generation of school computing needs.
The Next Generation wireless network will provide increased high speed access capacity, flexibility, and mobility and secure wireless access. It will also have the intelligence to provide control of the school Radio Frequency (RF) domain, a feature that is required to mitigate interference, noise and inadequate RF signal coverage in the classrooms. This control will help manage constant RF environment changes induced by neighboring buildings and internal interference. This results in a better wireless experience for students and teachers in the classrooms.
How does Next Generation Wireless help our schools?
In conjunction with the increased integration of computers into the curriculum, and the launching and establishment of centrally sponsored Instructional initiatives, robust, well-managed, and reliable wireless access can become an important tool in helping to drive student achievement. As the reliability and availability of wireless improves, the nature of a given connection – wired vs. wireless – becomes transparent to the user. Both teacher and student can concentrate more on the work at hand, as the wireless infrastructure provides both teacher and student un-tethered access to on-line resources including the Internet, on-line database resources, on-line assessments, and on-line research papers, and reports. As they enjoy this new-found freedom, the flexibility of teaching and learning can be enjoyed as well. By freeing up the teacher’s or student’s laptop or other wireless device, learning can be conducted anywhere, at anytime. The student’s laptop becomes the window to an endless resource of information just waiting to be searched and retrieved. But once again, this cannot be achieved unless the network is made more reliable, available, and manageable.
One note of caution, however: wireless, at best, is just a tool. In general, any investment in any instructional technology must be combined with: serious treatment of leadership development; professional development for teachers (including teacher preparation); curriculum redesign; and an understanding of, and accommodation to, school culture in order to obtain the maximum return on investment.