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One million primary and secondary schools to get iPads and tablets for Christmas
Massive influx of devices threatens to overwhelm school IT infrastructure, while a huge learning opportunity risks being lost on a generation of school children
Since 26 percent of this techno-savvy age group already own an iPad or tablet, they will then own more than three million4 iPads and tablets between them. When they go back to school in January, many will be taking these devices with them.
However, just one in five (22%) schools currently permit pupils to connect their iPads and tablets to the school’s own wireless network. This discrepancy suggests that the majority of schools are either not prepared for, or risk missing out on, a tremendous digital learning opportunity.
These were the key findings of a survey1 of 900 parents through Mumsnet’s Research Panel, by Wi-Fi network specialist Extreme Networks (http://www.extremenetworks.com/
The survey findings are supported by another recent study, this time by the British Educational Suppliers Association (http://www.besa.org.uk/
According to Valerie Thompson of the e-learning foundation6 (http://www.e-
“Fully accessible Wi-Fi is vital to a 21st century learning environment and is a key requirement if schools are to embrace digital learning in all subjects. Many parents are considering investing in a tablet for use in the school environment as well as at home. Their expectation is that the investment in technology will be beneficial to their child’s education.”
Spotting the trend for pupils bringing their own devices onto school premises, The Grammar School at Leeds (http://www.gsal.org.uk)
Mark Whitehead, head of computer services at The Grammar School at Leeds, said:
“We expect a bumper crop of iPads and tablets in children’s stockings this Christmas. We’re working hard this year to ensure our Wi-Fi infrastructure is up to the task of supporting them in 2014. We have revamped our entire Wi-Fi system so that our 2,200 pupils and over 350 staff can now log-on to the network from anywhere across the school’s multiple sites, even at busy times.”
Whitehead added, “Children now own such advanced technology and have equally advanced computing skills. If schools aren’t able to harness this, the opportunity for an enhanced learning experience is lost.”
Mark Pearce, strategic alliance director, Extreme Networks warns that too many schools risk losing out on a tremendous digital learning opportunity. He said: “Although iPads and tablets are recognised by many as essential learning tools in the classroom of the future, poor Wi-Fi infrastructure and limited Wi-Fi access undermines the potential of the learning opportunity that lies ahead. Schools need to follow the lead taken by forward-thinking parents and invest in their side of the deal – in WiFi connectivity – so that pupils are given the best learning opportunity possible.”
For a full copy of the research report, visit:
1. Survey carried out in November 2013 during a one week period, commissioned by Extreme Networks, polled 900 users of the Mumsnet (http://www.mumsnet.com)
2. 11% of parents plan to buy primary and secondary school aged children (5-16 years) an iPad or tablet computer this Christmas. There are 8.2m primary and secondary school children (state and independent)
3. The retail price of devices featured in TechRadar’s ‘Best tablet 2013: top 10 ranking’ varies from £99 up to £500. Therefore, if you assume the average tablet costs £250 (907,479 x 250), there will be approx. 226 m spent on iPads and tablet computers this Christmas
4. 26% of children already have an iPad or tablet computer. There are 8.2m primary and secondary school children (state and independent)
5. The BESA research page can be found here: http://www.besa.org.uk/
6. The E-Learning Foundation’s research and campaigns can be found here: http://www.e-
About Extreme Networks
Extreme Networks, Inc. sets the new standard for superior customer experience by delivering network-powered innovation and best-in-class service and support. The company delivers high-performance switching and routing products for data centre and core-to-edge networks, wired/wireless LAN access, and unified network management and control. Our award-winning solutions include software-defined networking (SDN), cloud and high-density Wi-Fi, BYOD and enterprise mobility, identity access management and security. Extreme Networks is headquartered in San Jose, CA and has more than 12,000 customers in over 80 countries. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.extremenetworks.com.
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Rosie Anderson/Lindsey Fishlock