Comcast Business today announced that St. Elizabeth High School, a Catholic preparatory school serving the city of Wilmington, DE, and its surrounding towns, is using Comcast Business Ethernet services to help support a mandatory 1:1 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for all students, beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. As part of a comprehensive plan to expand the use of technology – called the Viking Initiative for Innovation, or “ViFi” – Comcast installed the necessary bandwidth for more than 350 high school students to use iPads simultaneously as part of their daily curriculum – an initiative that has already replaced nearly all of the school’s textbooks and is expected to save local parents more than $500 per year.
Located on the southwest edge of the city of Wilmington, St. Elizabeth High School (SEHS) is a co-ed college preparatory school that has provided a Catholic education to more than 6,000 graduates since its founding in 1940. As part of making its rigorous curriculum more interactive, SEHS recently required all students to purchase an iPad for the 2013-2014 school year – a move that has already replaced 95 percent of physical textbooks with eBooks and iBooks. Productivity apps such as Notability, Google Drive, Pages, Keynote, Dropbox, Socrative, and iMovie will be pushed out to students through the school’s mobile device management system, along with more than 100 other course-specific programs that have been selected by teachers based on independent testing.
“We knew that making the vision of our iPad program a reality would require finding a cost-effective way to upgrade our network,” said Shirley Bounds, principal of St. Elizabeth High School. “ So when Comcast was able to provide us with significantly more bandwidth at a loweroverall cost, we took a giant stride closer to achieving our goal of creating an all-digital educational environment for our students, teachers and administrators.”
Comcast was able to upgrade SEHS’s network frommultiple bonded T1 lines to a 50 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet connection, which is helping to support the increased and sustained traffic caused by the hundreds of iPads accessing online software and eBooks during class times. Grades Pre-K through 8, which share the same building as the high school, are also using this bandwidth for their Internet access, and PRI Trunks have been implemented to ensure the school has reliable voice service. Additional plans to expand the BYOD program and ultimately move all textbooks to the cloud are underway.
“In today’s educational environment, teachers are getting creative with their use of new technologies to enhance the learning experience for their students, which means that schools must take steps to upgrade their networks now in order to ensure that they are fully prepared for what’s next,” said Kevin Conmy, vice president for Comcast Business, Freedom Region.