A number of school administrations are still arguing that wired connections are the better option for internet access. However, Wi-Fi has taken place in schools, FAST, aided by the as much fast development of technology. Entire new line of devices, like tablets and smartphones, no longer support physical network connections. Apples even eliminated wired ports on their latest laptop line MacBook Pro. Imagine a school full of young students who are crazy due to the fact of modern technology without Wi-Fi.
In addition, when it comes to education alone, Wi-Fi does show many advantages over wired network.
The explosion of mobile devices
Young generation of students today, without a doubt, has become addicted to their mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops. Every student usually has about 3 to 5 devices and they will not leave home without one. They carry the devices with them all the time, which results in their expectation of connectivity. Out of those devices, the laptop is the only one that accepts wired port.
The other devices can use 3G connections, but 3G is often slow and pretty costly. School wireless network is unavoidable for these gadget addicts.
Lack of usage of wired network
No one seems to use wired network ports in school anymore! Similar to the landlines telephones being replaced by cell phones in each household, people have started choosing Wi-Fi over wired connections due to its conveniences, and students are no exception given their love for mobile devices as mentioned in the previous paragraph. Many young people are not even familiar with a patch cord, and have had wireless internet for as long as they remember.
One wired connection including wiring, labor, port and configuration can add up to over $300. Time should also be taken into account in order to add only one more wired port due to all physically running the cable and switch configuration. On top of that, the new port will require technical support which can raise the costs even higher in the long run. However, even if schools can manage fund for such high infrastructure cost, they will less likely be able to provide enough ports for all students and staffs.
On the other hand, it is always a struggle for schools to keep up with updated technology. More often than not, we see many libraries or computer labs equipped with limited number of old wired computers, as opposed to number of students that need access to internet. If schools have Wi-Fi, they can save some serious cash on technology costs by encouraging students to bring their own devices. Students do bring their advanced mobile devices to schools regardless, so why not utilize this advantage. Investing in Wi-Fi is no doubt less expensive than in those advanced devices.
Although it works fine, wired connection does come with a lot of restrictions; the most noticeable one is that users can only get access from a specific physical location. Mobility is sacrificed for internet connection. Wi-Fi does not have this problem. Everyone can access to internet from anywhere in the school with an immediate response time. Teachers, therefore, will have the chance to plan more creative activities in class and connect the classroom together.
With devices connected to Wi-Fi at hands, it has never been easier for students to edit, save and share documents anytime, anywhere. Students can even work on projects with their peers from other schools. This improves teamwork, and we all know how much employers value this soft skill.
Wi-Fi opens up new way of communication between students and students, students and teachers, students and their families. New way of communication also lets students voice their concerns more securely. This will help school administrations be aware of problems in schools and come up with appropriate solutions.
Emergence of new educational practices
Wi-Fi allows teachers to have access to unlimited resources. When access to unlimited resources becomes instantaneously available everywhere, educators tend to use those resources to make their class more interesting. They can also tailor their lectures, presentations according to their students’ learning style and easily deliver them to their students just by one click. Teachers are just one click away from their class.
Change is inevitable
We cannot ignore the fact that we are living in a digital era where the majority of people spend a lot of time on their powerful gadgets and mobile computers. Schools must learn to adapt to the inevitable change and take advantage of the technology to enhance the learning experience for students. Refusing to move forward with technology is not a good way to protect our young generation.