Having a bunch of new devices running around the school will be great, but having these all connected, talking to each other and the internet would be even better (and doing this reliably, 100% of the time). English on an iPad is always more fun when you can do it on the oval right? It will also open up our teachers to a wealth of freedom, having to not be tethered to the same spot in the class will allow the teacher to have a classroom anywhere.
Currently we have a very limited WiFi setup, but now I will be rolling it out across the entire school.
In researching my options there were two main choices, Xirrus and Aerohive. Both will provide us with all the infrastructure we need now and in the future. From my own research and talking with other schools in the area I choose to set up an Aerohive setup for our school, and in doing so managed to save quite a bit off our budget, which in turn will allow me to spend that money on other agile technologies and general shiny things. You can check out some case studies from schools here
I was also very impressed with a few apps Aerohive offer as part of their setup, Student Manager and Teacher View. After some staff PL, both of these apps will provide the teacher with a great deal of control over the way the network and internet will work in their classes.
As I have said in previous posts, teacher input and freedom is one of my priorities in setting up a successful program. Having each teacher having the control and freedom over how their classrooms will run will be key in teachers using the most out of the technology (that, and who wants to be at the beck and call of the IT Admin?)
Our new network will be rolled out over the second week of the Easter Holidays (Monday 14 April) and I will be sure and keep you updated on the process and any issues that may arise (i.e.: portable classrooms, of which we have a lot, are metal harbingers of WiFi death….)