About old dogs and new tricks
The Corona crisis and the first lockdown in spring 2020 clearly showed that digitization in the education sector was nowhere near as advanced as it could have been. Parents who had to teach their children at home can certainly tell a thing or two about it. The teachers were also not prepared to make the teaching material available digitally and to hold the lessons online. It is well known that dealing with (new) technologies is much easier for children than for adults, and one or the other of us must have had this experience.
Now that we are in the middle of the second lockdown, there should be no more excuses. Many people in charge took advantage of the summer months and invested time and money in infrastructure. Although the federal and state governments have been promoting digitization in schools for years (we reported), so far only a few have used it. Of course, it is not enough to simply provide WiFi. Access to the Internet must be made safe according to age and different for pupils and teachers. Learning portals and other content must be accessible at all times, streaming, gaming or other undesirable applications should be easy to block. And because experience shows that there are a large number of devices in the network, the available bandwidth must be managed. For example, a fixed bandwidth can make sense for certain classrooms, or dynamic settings if something should also be left for the long break in the schoolyard or the parents’ day.
We developed the IACBOX Classroom edition for exactly this purpose. It enables secure access to the Internet, offers various login options, extensive bandwidth settings, an overview of the applications you have surfed and is GDPR-compliant. School-specific ticket templates, web-based admin access and detailed instructions for teachers complete the package. Admittedly, we didn’t do it entirely self-interested, because the education of children is also in our interest. Who knows, maybe the next developer will connect to the WLAN via the IACBOX right now.
We asked our partners who have already installed an IACBOX Classroom edition. The colleagues at FREDERIX Hostpot GmbH equipped a high school in the north of Germany over the summer and put the first Classroom edition into operation. 500 pupils and 55 teachers are going in and out this year, the children are between 10 and 15 years old. The WiFi and network infrastructure was built from scratch. This has the advantage that the cabling can be done exactly as required. The necessary electrician work was done during the summer vacation. The school now has a generous fiber optic connection with 600 Mbit/s synchronous (i.e. same bandwidth for uploads and downloads). This means that a very large amount of data can be handled. Three buildings and the school yard are illuminated with the help of Ruckus access points with WiFi. Schoolchildren log in with a password, teachers with a username and password. In the initial phase, the children use their own devices, later tablets will be added. Registration takes place daily, that means that the class teacher gives access to the Internet before the start of the lesson and the pupils can connect using a QR code scan. Access expires at the end of the school day and the devices are automatically logged off. The different users are treated differently via ticket templates. Which applications and content have to be blocked or perhaps only logged with the help of the Application Control will only become apparent over time. Based on evaluations, this can be observed over a period of time and the necessary settings can then be made.
Stay tuned – at the end of the winter semester, after hopefully a few months of face-to-face teaching, we will collect feedback and report back on how things went with the Classroom edition.