Leading the Way Toward 21st Century Learning
Part of the philosophy of Al Ghazali College is that its learners must have an understanding of the world beyond their community, province and country to participate effectively in a global society. For this reason, the Centurion-based independent Islamic school decided to roll out an iPad one to one program to put an iPad in the hands of every student – and it needed Wi-Fi infrastructure that would support this.
Finding the Right Partner
Mariam Carim, ICT co-ordinator at Al Ghazali, explains that after some research, the school discovered that the Onsite Group offered exactly what it was looking for. The Onsite Group is an infrastructure company specialising in the educa-tion sector. It is an Aruba Silver Edge partner, with Aruba acting as its sole wireless provider.
“We deploy Aruba’s Instant Solution into schools like Al Ghazali because it’s easy to use and they don’t have to worry about redundancy,” explains Clayton Campbell, Director of the Onsite Group. “We look after the whole infrastructure, ensuring schools are covered in terms of Wi-Fi, mobile device management and security to ensure a good and safe roll-out for students bringing devices into school.”
This holistic approach was what won the Al Ghazali contract for the Onsite Group. Added to this, the Group has experience with iPad roll-out in schools. Carim comments, “I wanted Clayton and his team on the job because they know a lot about iPad technology and understood what we wanted to do with our one to one program.”
Secure Wi-Fi Access Throughout the School
To ensure that the one to one program was a success, the Onsite Group implemented Aruba’s IAP 205 solution in the classrooms, with an IAP 275 access point installed for use in the denser outdoor areas. “This means that the majority of the school has Wi-Fi access,” explains Campbell. “We’ve also made sure that the students can easily share content through the Wi-Fi network using Aruba AirGroup capabilities.”
Of course, with the ease of access to the internet as well as sharing of content, security was also a concern for this installation. Campbell notes that to deal with this, there are a number of firewall extensions available on the IAP solution, which can restrict access where required. He adds that an Onsite technician visits Al Ghazali twice a week to deal with any security issues, as well as look after the school’s network and IT requirements.
Changing the Way Students Learn
With these measures firmly in place, Carim is excited about the potential that the Wi-Fi infrastructure has to change how the students at Al Ghazali interact in class and the way they learn. “It’s only been a month, and we are still rolling out the iPads to our students, but I’ve already seen how having access to Wi-Fi is impacting the school,” she says. “Having the students download an app in class to complete an activity has be-come a reality, and this added element makes learning fun and accessible.”
Campbell agrees; “Wi-Fi opens up multiple re-sources for students, giving them access to the most relevant content that they can discuss and research in a learning environment to form educated opinions.” He ends, “Al Ghazali is leading the way in the push towards ‘bring your own device’ in the South African school environ-ment, with the first step being reliable Wi-Fi infrastructure. I believe that all schools should be making this shift toward 21st century learning.”
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