We’re involved in a new project to help schools deliver consistent and sustainable classroom connectivity for their students and staff. The work we are doing is part of a programme led by the Ministry of Education providing IT network support extensions for schools, with additional support provided by the schools’ local IT providers. The programme also gives schools access to N4L’s technical expertise.

The project involves extending the warranty support for the wireless networks across 500+ schools, replacing aging wireless equipment where required. We are also transitioning around 140 schools to a cloud-based wireless networking system.

Schools are responsible for ensuring their wireless internet connections run smoothly throughout the school and rely on a combination of in-house skills, outsourced IT support, and online resources to guide them.

A recent N4L survey of more than 450 schools shows that more than half (56%) are planning to invest in their wireless networks.

With many schools increasing the ratio of devices to students, introducing more devices to its wireless internet can add extra pressure to this infrastructure, which is managed and funded by schools.

Okoia School, a small rural primary school on the outskirts of Whanganui, is part of the programme. We helped move the management of the school’s wireless hardware to the cloud, and Principal Nicola Welch has appreciated the extra support, saying:

“We are a small school and if our internet stops working, then it can be a real mission to figure out where the problems lie and more importantly, it means our classroom learning is disrupted. It was super helpful to have N4L work with our local IT provider to sort out our classroom internet for us. Getting help and support with our internet means we can spend more time with our students and less time managing technology.”

We recognise that IT knowledge and skills vary among schools, and there is a need for safe and seamless internet access inside classrooms. So we are working with the Ministry of Education to explore how we can extend our Managed Network connections beyond the school server cabinet and into the classrooms, shifting the point of connection closer to the student.

It’s all about helping schools manage their network environment, and providing a better connectivity experience for them. Simply put, they need to be able to trust their internet will work when they need it and get on with great teaching and learning. And this programme is helping them do just that.