Results that match "Education"
Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama (pop. 5,498) needed to upgrade its broadband access for students, teachers and administrators – understanding it was essential to provide the type of educational platform that would put their students ahead of the curve.
"Providing high-speed Internet for students is very similar to providing water and electricity in the classroom," notes Lynn D. Smith, Superintendent of Brewton City Schools. "It’s critical nowadays."
The district turned to Mediacom Business, who provided the school with the broadband connectivity and scalability via a robust fiber network. This reliable fiber backbone was essential to conduct the latest in e-learning curriculum, online testing and more so for the centralization of student records/grades. This bandwidth allows the administration to access this data simultaneously and instantaneously - right down to knowing where a student is at any given moment or watching 30 security cameras on an iPad.
Bret Dehoff, technology coordinator for Brewton City Schools, oversees a team of 2, maintaining 650 devices in 3 schools. His plate is full so he needs to rely on a provider who has the expertise to manage and monitor the network his school’s connection runs over. Still, "there isn’t enough time in the day to maintain everything," Dehoff explains. When there is an issue, "Mediacom is out there fixing it and I’m not down for 3 weeks," he continues. Even Superintendent Smith echoes Dehoff’s sentiment. "My job is to oversee schools, it’s not to have our fiber repaired," says Smith.
Mediacom Business cut the school’s broadband bill in half from their previous provider, which means that Dehoff can now purchase additional devices – that is huge for an education budget the district’s size.
On Friday, July 11, 2014 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to phase out funding for antiquated technologies, like pagers and dial-up phone service, under a program known as E-rate and to redirect $2 billion to boost wireless Internet connectivity in U.S. schools and libraries over the next two years. As an accredited Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) service provider, Mediacom Business has the experience, expertise and certifications to support the FCC’s new plan via our fiber network. The broadband conversation couldn’t be more important for schools right now.
"Connectivity allows rural areas most affected by poverty to access opportunities that they would not otherwise have," explains Vanessa Shelburne, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Brewton Middle School.
"We couldn't do any e-learning, distance learning or virtual field trips without fiber," explains Dehoff.
"Our goal is to meet the needs of each child individually, and that is a very large goal," notes Anne Lambert, principal of Brewton Elementary. Lambert discusses how Internet technologies allow for each child to learn at his or her own pace so that there is no more ‘teaching to the middle.’
Indeed, Mediacom Business, by providing cost-effective fiber solutions to Brewton City Schools, is allowing for each child to receive a proper education.
"You have to have a way to access that great world of information, and bring it to all," advocates Lambert.
The way our children learn is changing. Thanks to the power of the Internet, schools are utilizing innovative digital technologies to provide jobs and information, connecting both teachers and students to each other.
In 1996, the FCC established the E-rate program to help the nation’s schools and libraries connect with broadband; that year only 14% of the nation’s K-12 schools had access to the Internet. Today, just about every school and library are able to connect and get online. This program has expanded to include the popularity of Wi-Fi networks, while focusing on those areas that have an urgent need to move away from their legacy technology to modern connectivity, ensuring that millions of students are able to access the Internet.
The rise of technology
It’s estimated that over 10 million students and teachers will be connected to the Internet within the next year, increasing the rate of those who had previously been unable to get online. A report done on students in 2014 showed that 89% of high school students and 73% of middle school students had access to a smartphone, while another 66% of students within both groups had access to a laptop.
Many of these students use their devices to access class information, taking tests, or watching teacher created videos; some schools are supplying students with tablets or laptops to help in this endeavor. However, with so many students, teachers, and administrators using these devices, at the same time, schools and libraries need to have sufficient bandwidth in order to keep everyone online without maxing out the connection.
The Mediacom Business advantage
Mediacom Business has been a leader in providing high capacity broadband in rural America using our proprietary fiber optic network. With our Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, Mediacom Business is helping to deliver the bandwidth that administrators, teachers, and students need in order to keep their schools on the cutting edge of curriculum without breaking the budget.
The use of laptops, tablets and other electronic applications in schools continues to rise. Programs like E-learning, distance learning, district-wide online testing and video on demand curriculum, among others, have created a greater need for high capacity bandwidth. Mediacom Business is already delivering Gigabit+ capacity to many of the schools and libraries in the nearly 1,500 communities it serves.
We’re a USAC registered provider, with experience, expertise, and certifications to support any and all educational facilities that want to begin E-rate initiatives. Our experienced engineers monitor the network, making sure that your school is operating at peak performance and your students can access a world of information.
Nestled on the shores of Pensacola, Florida sits the National Flight Academy, a premier STEM Academy housed within a simulated aircraft carrier. The academy helps kids prepare and experience real world scenarios using science, technology, engineering, and math, spending five days onboard the carrier, using real mission parameters in order to put these STEM skills to use.
Educationally, the NFA needed to ensure that their students would be able to not only connect to each other, but get the real time information needed in order to participate in the course. Onboard, the air carrier houses four Smartboard Tables so that students are able to calculate their mission headings, while also being able to simulate riding in the X-12 Triad. With this need for superior, reliable, and secure broadband connections, the NFA turned to Mediacom Business.
With our Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions, the NFA is able to power their technology platforms, with the multimedia interactive and immersive experiences needed to help teach and create a learning environment. With this equipment, students can do the following:
The NFA is now completely paperless, relying on cloud technology with a reliable fiber backbone from Mediacom Business that delivers service without any trouble or interruption in their daily operations. As the NFA continues to grow, Mediacom Business will be able to easily scale their broadband services to meet the technology demands of an innovative learning institution.
About the National Flight Academy
Taking place on board the world’s largest simulated aircraft carrier, the National Flight Academy is a targeted program for 7th to 12th graders to inspire their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Students live on a multi-story, 102,000 square foot facility surrounded by advanced technology, flight simulators, and virtual reality games for an exciting and immersive learning experience.
About Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is set within the western part of the Florida panhandle, with a population of over 51,000. A sea port on Pensacola Bay, the city is the site for the Naval Air Station, which is the home base for the Blue Angels flight demonstration team. It is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum and has been called, “the cradle of Naval Aviation”.
As technology continues to expand and grow, the lines of traditional learning evolve into the digital transformation. New methods for educators to collaborate and communicate, while students discover new ways in which to learn are being created and recreated over time. Online courses, also known as eLearning or virtual classrooms have changed the way students learn. Students of all ages and backgrounds are able to learn and interact with professors and fellow students outside their own campus.
Whether teachers are trying to access online curriculum, streaming education live cameras from YouTube or students are simply using the internet…all can put a strain on the school network. The evolution in learning and teaching, coupled with the rise of mobile devices, leaves many education facilities across the country scrambling for ways to not only embrace new technologies, but support them, and stay ahead of the curve. Online testing requirements must sustain every student online at the same time. That is a heavy amount of broadband weight given the school’s normal day–to-day operations.
Broadband use doesn’t stop with students, but is an imperative tool for administration too. Centralization and privacy of student records is critical, along with the ability to access that data from any area in the school district at any given time. Furthermore, in today’s world, many schools are advancing into security cameras where footage can be accessed via tablets at a moment's notice – so a school is always aware of where a student is.
The new way to learn
In recent years, "digital" has been the growing trend in the education sector, however education providers often are not sure how it works or how to get started. OnlineCollege.org produced an infographic which details some of the benefits through technology, highlighting some key statistics below:
As you can see from the above, $7 billion dollars was being spent on textbooks that were 7 to 10 years old. Technology was shown to improve school budgets between $250 to $1,000 per student, per year. A PBS LearningMedia survey stated that 74% of teachers said using classroom technology helps to motivate students to learn. Technology is a part of our lives – a 2014 Pew Research study found the following:
Various sources have also cited that children will often use or own their own mobile device.
What these figures indicate is that technology has become a boon when it comes to communication, collaboration, and even education.
Fast forward to 2016 and the newest report from the Babson Survey Research Group, its 13th year surveying the rising growth of online education in the US, found that the number of students that were taking online courses grew to 5.8 million, a trend that has been consistent for the last 13 years; 28% of college students are enrolled in at least one online course for their semester.
What schools need to consider
Due to the influx of percentages, education facilities have started to implement plans to include or increase their use of technology, however they may not be considering the bandwidth required for educators and students. In a 2012 interview, CEO and founder of the San Francisco nonprofit Education Superhighway, Evan Marwell, stated that while 97% of schools did indeed have broadband access, they were using the same speed of a typical household. The problem with this scenario is that a typical residence supports up to 4 people on a network, while a campus needs to support 400 or more students, teachers, and faculty.
The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, established guidelines in 2014 on what a typical campus network should encompass: a connection speed of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students was considered a short term solution, while 1 Gigabit per second was the minimum for a long term solution. This means that campuses, both in large cities and rural areas, need to be looking at the future of the internet in order to keep the pace with the growing penetration of mobile devices and learning techniques.
This is where Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions from Mediacom Business changes the education landscape. This evolution of high-speed internet has the capability to connect all locations in a campus, accessing the same data in real time. And with this level of capacity, schools can utilize all the advanced education platforms described above, while not maxing out the campus’ connection and doing so with superior speed. Broadband gives teachers the space to evolve their classrooms and reach new levels of education that were never possible prior.
Brewton City Schools in rural Alabama is just one of our customers within the education sector that we provide data fiber solutions to, enabling their rural campuses to connect well outside the city lines and offer their students another level of education. Brewton City Schools was not only able to achieve an internet solution on par with a larger suburban campus, and ensure their students have the advantage of technology to facilitate learning but saved money while doing so.
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A critical goal for every school is how to keep their students ahead of the learning curve and give them access to the most beneficial learning tools to best prepare them for what lies ahead. Broadband is allowing for a next-level flavor of learning that is transforming traditional learning to a digital classroom. For students at Buffalo Elementary, virtual reality programs are allowing children to explore the depths of the solar system - traveling far beyond the city limits of Davenport, Iowa.
This next generation standard science curriculum of virtual reality (VR) aligns children with the digital medium they are so used to and therefore peeking their interest. And even better, the program is promoting focus. The use of VR helps to remove classroom distractions, while taking students on a journey to the area of study within a realistic environment. This is incredibly beneficial for rural communities who may not be able to transport or finance physical field trips for their students and school. Read about this impressive endeavor in this article from the Quad City Times.
Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is providing the broadband capacity to power trail-blazing applications like VR and fueling the digital classroom. Learn more about this new education evolution in our Industry Insights blog series spotlight on Education.
The Pokémon Go phenomenon utilized Augmented Reality (AR) and brought some of the biggest retail chains to the table to participate - ones that you probably would have never associated with the Pokémon brand. But the element of Augmented Reality and the technology behind it fascinated businesses as yet another touchpoint to market to consumers. AR superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, in most cases via a mobile device, thus providing a composite view.
Within the same spectrum of technology, Virtual Reality (VR) is based on the diametrically opposite concept. It immerses real people into a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly very real or physical way. Historically known in the world of gaming, AR and VR are now being seen as valuable tools for businesses to enhance interaction with customers and their own employees.
Content and engagement is always the goal toward generating revenue or keeping employee morale high. Businesses can use both AR and VR for many applications and programs, including training, conferencing, and remote work. Coupled with Augmented Reality, the Virtual Reality market could hit $150 billion dollars in revenue in 2020, with $30 billion belonging to VR alone. More than 12 million VR headsets will be sold in 2017 and is expected to reach $407.51 million dollars by 2018.
VR Has Come a Long Way
It may surprise some younger businesses, but Virtual Reality has been around for over twenty-five years. Getting its start in 1991, VR looked to be the future of technology, but in those days, the vehicle just wasn’t up to par for the challenge yet. Processing power, screen resolutions, and more all lacked the power, and bandwidth, we’re used to today. So the idea of VR seemed to disappear until a Kickstarter campaign brought about the Oculus Rift, which was soon purchased by Facebook, making VR a viable business topic today.
These new advances open up new worlds, so to speak – VR can bring us closer to visiting places that were once outside of our reach. A good example of this is the use of VR in education. Many schools are looking at VR to help provide students the ability to travel throughout the universe, immersing them in new learning environments to further their education engagement.
Buffalo Elementary in Davenport, Iowa is one such school who has recently become the first school in the country to incorporate VR into the Next Generation Standards Science Curriculum.
But it’s not just schools that benefit from VR. Businesses can also use VR/AR for a variety of reasons that evoke intellectual engagement and emotional connections.
With so many opportunities to use VR & AR, businesses should also take stock of how these technologies work within their own networks and the heavy need for bandwidth to power them.
Why Bandwidth is So Important
In 2016, telecom equipment manufacturing company Arris predicted that more and more consumers and businesses will want and need even more bandwidth to run applications like this. The CTO estimated that a virtual reality video game, running at 720p might require 50 Mbps, with a 4K VR game going up to 500 Mbps.
This might seem like a lot of broadband speed, but considering that even at a low resolution, a 360 degree experience would still need at least 25 Mbps for streaming and HD resolutions going upwards of 80-100 Mbps.
What most experts believe is that as VR and AR continue to grab headlines and interest, the need for faster bandwidth is paramount. Luckily, if your business is considering using VR, then Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions is the next step your business should take. Speed is an incredibly important component for VR and fiber-optic delivery is the latest in broadband technology capable of providing some of the fastest speeds within the industry.
Mediacom Business’ fiber “pipe” is highly secure and scalable – the symmetrical data throughput, both down-stream and up-stream, is there to support innovative technologies like this and allows businesses to integrate this usage within everyday operations.
VR and AR are still growing for both business and consumers; it’s a technology that can and will create a tremendous amount of opportunities in many industries – from education to finance - the capabilities are wide open. Will your business be taking advantage of Virtual or Augmented Reality and do you have the broadband path to get there?