New K-12 Models Go Mobile

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iPads2 11.21.12[2].jpegWhat happens if you're a K-12 educator and your wired devices can't support your new teaching model? At the Oyster River Cooperative School District in Durham, New Hampshire, you simply go mobile.

Indeed, Oyster River's IT Director, Josh Olstad, recently told us about a teacher who was struggling with an older desktop client — until she realized the solution was in her students' pockets. "She asked her pupils who had a mobile device," recalls Olstad. "They all did. After everyone connected to our Wi-Fi network with their smartphones, or whatever device they had, the class smoothly proceeded to complete the project."

Using BYOD for teaching and learning is just one way technology is changing classroom activities as Oyster River transitions to a version of the Common Core State Standards called the New Hampshire College and Career Ready Standards.

Amanda Zeller, a seventh-grade language arts teacher, depends on the district's wireless network to post resources for her students. She also expects her students to access those resources as well as conduct other research online. "Our network enables me to use technology to drive my teaching," she says.

It's a similar story for Heather Stanley, a high school special education teacher, who recounts an experience helping a student edit a paper. "Because we can house student projects on our shared drive, the student was watching me edit his paper live on his own device," she says. He was also responding within the same document. It was so fast the student stayed focused – which can be a struggle for my kids – and this allowed us to accomplish of five or six different educational goals all at one time."

For high school science teacher Mark Lawrence, a robust and well-managed Wi-Fi network ensures valuable classroom minutes are focused on education, not logging onto the system. "Having a network that remembers mobile devices saves me precious minutes during time-sensitive activities," he says. "That's huge."

Naturally, Oyster River is also preparing for the online assessments associated with the new educational standards. That's why comprehensive, centralized management tools are so important to the district's lean IT staff. Such tools enable the district to optimize network performance to ensure testing devices receive priority over other activities. "It was important to invest in the right infrastructure," says Olstad.

To deliver the exceptional classroom and assessment experiences, Oyster River invested in Aruba Instant APs along with Aruba AirWave Network Management and the Aruba ClearPass Policy Management System. "With Aruba's management tools we get a really good breakdown on each type of device," says Olstad. "Because we can see how devices are being used we can optimize the network to give everyone the best connectivity."

"And," he continues, "whether it's an enterprise device, like a tablet, or a consumer device, like an e-reader, we know exactly what's on our network. Plus we can optimize settings for each device type."

Additionally, Oyster River's Wi-Fi infrastructure permits the adoption of new types of learning technologies. "Before, when staff and administrators approached me about Apple TVs, I had to tell them we couldn't support them," Olstad says. "With our new wireless network, we can. Now we're confident the network will provide the high-quality experiences our end users need to meet the new educational standards and beyond."

To learn more about Aruba's K-12 solutions, visit