1/2/2014 By: Steven M. Baule
Forget 1:1, Are
Currently, a vast majority of school districts either already have or are planning on implementing
some type of 1:1 program. We read about the growing “tablet revolution.” Large 1:1 initiatives have
made national news. Print textbooks are increasingly being replaced by e-textbooks.
However, with every revolution comes a coup, and this one will be in the form of devices
brought to school that are not a part of the district’s 1:1 program. Kindles, iPads, smartphones, and
other devices are coming into schools in record numbers. Is your network ready?
Enter X:1. A device ratio of one device per student is no longer enough. According to a recent Cisco
presentation, most colleges are already planning to support students at an 8:1 ratio when they plan for
new infrastructure and bandwidth. As children
and families expand their personal access to
technology at home, it is realistic for them to
want to use those devices at school as well.
Previous 1:1 initiatives have generally
focused on being able to digitize instructional
materials and resources. X:1 programs will
extend this goal by allowing the students (and
teachers) more flexibility in determining which
device or devices are the most effective for any
given task. For instance, one student may be
happy reading a book on her smartphone while
another student wants a print copy and a third
student prefers to use his Kindle.
In order for schools to prepare for this
multi-device/platform environment, school
leaders need to make realistic determinations
about the amount of bandwidth their schools
will require, especially when factoring in
the many cloud-based services needed to
populate these devices with content. Building
the necessary filters and other safeguards
(e.g., VLAN and separate public networks)
into school infrastructure will also have to be
considered as more personal devices seek to
connect to the school network.
So, where does a district start? Some basic
■ What level of support will be provided for
■ Will technology staff help students
connect personal devices to the network
or help them to troubleshoot problems?
■ Will devices need to be registered in
order to be connected or will some
segment of the network simply be entirely
■ How will you communicate to
your community about device
recommendations or minimum
requirements to connect to the district’s
■ Even in a BYOD situation, will only some
types of devices be supported in order to
maximize the efficiency of the tech staff ?
■ How will these additional devices affect
No matter how schools answer these
questions, school leaders are going to need to
develop plans on how to increase bandwidth
and performance as more instruction goes
digital. As your school district determines
your direction regarding these key questions,
we encourage you to share your solutions.
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