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How K-12 Schools Can Future-Proof Their Network with E-Rate

In the education space, technology is whirling as fast as those schoolyard merry-go-rounds of old (for those of us who can recall pre-regulation playground equipment!).  Regardless of generation, the digital learning tools available during your K-12 school years were likely a far cry from what’s out there today.

Think back to classrooms of the past. Most likely, your mind calls up images of chalkboards, erasers, pens, and pencils. Just as we do today, past educators used the tools at hand to nurture their students’ potential with an eye towards the future. Yet did they ever foresee modern classrooms outfitted with smartboards, computers, and digital textbooks? ever foresee modern classrooms outfitted with smartboards, computers, and digital textbooks?

The fact is, we don’t know what’s next. So how do we prepare? Ensuring your student body has every advantage for a well-rounded education is about keeping up with digital transformation.

With new technology initiatives coming every year, schools need a reliable, high-speed internet connection serviced by a future-focused network provider. Cutting-edge advancements should be easy, accessible, and E-Rate eligible. By leveraging this valuable funding source, you can future-proof your network for learning while staying within your budget.

Why Future-proofing Is the Way Forward

Digital learning tools are no longer a supplement to the curriculum. They’re an essential part of the education process. Today’s students regularly use computers for learning, both in the classroom and at home. They’re building digital dioramas with software and holding science fairs over video conferencing platforms. Some schools already incorporate technology as advanced as virtual reality goggles, 3D printers, and voice assistants.

All these advancements require a network infrastructure capable of supporting high-density environments. But being prepared for the future isn’t about your degree of accuracy in predicting how educational technology will develop. It’s about having a system capable of quickly adapting to the changes made in your district.

Your network needs to be able to expand, handle growing demand and be extremely reliable so you know it will easily support the addition of new technology. You also need a provider committed to innovation, so your school can take advantage of the latest and greatest educational technology.

Check out Extreme’s customer case studies to learn how much they have benefited from this partnership.

Given most schools are operating with a small IT staff and limited resources, you need a network that makes management easy. When  preparing for the future, unreliable equipment, and insufficient connectivity can push your school back into the dark ages. By contrast, a modern network will help you build for the future by creating a thriving educational environment with staying power.

Where to Start: Take a Technology Quiz

If your school has been struggling to keep pace, it may be hard to imagine what a better network even looks like. This is especially true when technology needs seem to grow daily. Synchronous and asynchronous learning models, interactive discussion boards, ePortfolios, and computer-aided assessments – the list of exciting new technology is endless.

Start by determining your priorities. Where is your school lacking?

A)    Reliable connectivity

B)    Sufficient bandwidth

C)    Network visibility and manageability

D)    E-Rate approved and budget-friendly upgrades

E)    All of the above

For many schools today, the answer is absolutely E. Fortunately, the same forward propulsion driving the development of digital learning tools is also driving the growth of network management solutions. With a range of options , finding the right provider comes down to a combination of E-Rate eligibility, a solid reputation for customer service, and a history of innovation. history of innovation.

When making an initial evaluation of a vendor’s products, it’s essential to ask for specifics regarding the level of customer support they’ll provide during and after initial implementation. How easy will deployment be? Can new equipment be added on an ongoing basis? Do they specialize in the technology tools best suited for education? What about multi-gigabit switches, zero-touch fabric, and multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud management options?

It’s all about getting technology on your terms.

Get the Latest and Greatest, Today and Tomorrow

While the future may be unknown, a modern and manageable network will give you steady support to keep your school at the forefront of educational technology. With an E-Rate eligible networking solution, you can gain agility and adaptability while staying on budget. .

When ranking solutions based on capability and support, these should be top on the list:

Robust connectivity gives your students and faculty the reliable online access they need to optimize the teaching and learning environment. online access they need to optimize the teaching and learning environment.
A high-capacity network supports bandwidth-heavy applications such as VR practice tools and interactive AR demos.
Wireless access points to enable scalable and resilient network management in a cloud-based solution.
Thorough analytics of application and Wi-Fi usage trends to help you stay one step ahead of demand.
Swift deployment of new digital tools that won’t affect network performance or create security risks.

As digital transformation continues to advance, so should your school’s ability to provide best-in-class technology for your student body.

How to Secure a Bright Future 

At Extreme Networks, we’re devoted to helping your school achieve educational continuity and operational efficiency while prioritizing personalized learning alongside student safety and privacy. We provide eligible networking product on the E-Rate program list, so your school can digitally upgrade for the future and leverage every dollar of funding.

Given the recent regulatory changes in the E-Rate program, schools and libraries can’t afford to miss the opportunity to leverage E-Rate funds to advance digital transformation efforts.

Check out our eBook, The Essential Guide to E-Rate 2022 Program Success, for everything you need to navigate the E-Rate process and make sure your learning environment is optimized, no matter what the future brings.

The post How K-12 Schools Can Future-Proof Their Network with E-Rate appeared first on Extreme Networks.

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