K-12 Districts Embrace Wireless LANs

Aruba Networks, Inc. today announced several new K-12 deployments that illustrate the increasing use of wireless technology in school districts, as well as Aruba's growing presence in this market.

Waverly Shell Rock School District in Waverly, Iowa, Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas and Northwest Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas, represent a few of the 1,000+ K-12 districts that deployed Aruba wireless LANs in 2012 as the foundation for new technology initiatives and to accommodate the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

Northwest Independent School District, serving more than 17,000 students in Fort Worth, Texas, exemplifies the trend towards K-12s taking the lead in supporting mobile devices, both district-issued and personal. Northwest ISD deployed an Aruba wireless LAN across its 25 campuses and in its district office to connect more than 10,000 district-issued mobile devices including Dell laptops and Apple iPads, as well as 3,000 student- and staff-owned devices ranging from smartphones to Kindles to personal laptops.

"Our ultimate goal is to help kids learn and we are proving repeatedly that students and teachers are using technology to improve learning," said Carl Shawn, director of technology for Northwest Independent School District. "A key part of building this learning environment is allowing a wide range of mobile devices to connect to our network and access applications ranging from digital textbooks to academic assessment resources."

Eanes School District in Austin, Texas, is another K-12 that has seen the benefits of using mobile devices to deliver a rich learning experience to students. The district has expanded its 1:1 iPad initiative to all students at its high school, as well as selected grade levels in middle and elementary schools.

"We had a few small pilots with the iPads first, but quickly came to the consensus that these devices could really revolutionize our learning environment," said Kevin Schwartz, director of technology services, Eanes School District. "The most important thing that the tablets do for a student is to give them a one-to-one interaction in which they can access a wealth of educational applications and engage in project-based learning. We've been able to move forward with this initiative, in large part, because of our Aruba wireless LAN - both its reliability in providing access for these devices and because of its unique ability to handle Apple devices."

Waverly Shell Rock, a K-12 district in suburban Iowa, has also seen benefits from its 1:1 iPad initiative, which has put iPads in the hands of nearly 1,600 students to date. Bridgette Wagoner, director of educational services for Waverly Shell Rock, says that while teachers in their district had already begun to move away from traditional textbooks, the combination of their Aruba wireless LAN and the iPad initiative allowed the district to make a significant transition to digital learning.

"The technology we've deployed has really had a transformational effect on our teachers and students," Wagoner said. "Many of our teachers have moved from simply digitizing what they've always done in the classroom to exploring new ways of teaching that are more collaborative and interactive. And for our students, with an iPad for everyone, we've really leveled the playing field so that everyone has an equal opportunity for the same advanced learning experience."