Forsyth County Schools, one of the largest school systems in Georgia, is using Comcast Ethernet Services to support streaming video, interactive whiteboards, mobile devices and digital content for its 38,000 students in 35 elementary, middle and high schools across 181 districts in Georgia.
Forsyth County Schools has implemented a number of technology initiatives to enhance teaching, expand learning and reduce costs. Such initiatives may be bandwidth-intensive and require a high-performance network to be effective. With Comcast's Ethernet Services, Forsyth County Schools' administrative offices and operations centers get secure, point-to-point connectivity, as well as file sharing and document storage via the district's central server.
The district is designing and implementing a next-generation learning system to provide individualized technology-based learning plans to match each student's needs, preferences and performance. The customized delivery of learning resources takes into account learning interests and learning style in order to increase student engagement and academic performance. Students can learn at home on their own, or at school, using a high-speed Internet connection. This allows them to be rewarded in a collaborative setting by the teacher, increasing the value of their education.
By investing in a flexible, scalable and high-capacity network infrastructure, Forsyth County Schools can ensure the adoption, use and effectiveness of various digital learning environments. Initiatives such as "Bring Your Own Technology" (BYOT) and the NOBLE Virtual World project at Forsyth County Schools help facilitate collaboration and immersive learning techniques to engage students in more authentic ways. With BYOT growing at a rate of 80 percent at Forsyth County Schools, students are able to use their individual Internet-capable tablets, laptops, netbooks and cell phones to work in classrooms in the way they like best.
Additionally, the NOBLE Virtual World project allows students to interact with each other in a digitally created world, where anything they imagine can be created. As a result, students develop higher-order thinking skills such as creativity, data analysis and problem-solving by working in teams and creating plans and solutions for the project at hand.
"Bandwidth is the key. The only way to have access to all that digital content is to connect the technology and infrastructure in support of it," said Bailey Mitchell, chief technology and information officer for Forsyth County Schools. "Our network infrastructure investment is a 'return on learning' and Comcast gives us the ability to scale bandwidth as the demand presents itself. My view is that every time you increase the speed of the network, you are enabling incredible educational opportunities."
Forsyth County Schools has also seen a return on financial investment. Having spent $2.8 million on textbooks in 2008, the school has been able to cut down those costs to $400,000 with interactive online content in the form of streaming video, simulations and digital content.
"Cloud services, digital textbooks, online resources, tablets and other mobile devices are reshaping education across America, so we are thrilled to be the network foundation for the digital transformation at Forsyth County Schools," said Bob Deckard, regional vice president, Comcast Business Services, Atlanta. "With Comcast's Ethernet services, Forsyth County Schools can continue to advance in educational technology in a cost-effective, reliable and secure way."
In addition to having the highest CRCT and ACT scores in Georgia, Forsyth County Schools also has some of the highest SAT scores in the state, which are also above national averages.