Aruba 802.11ac-enabled Wi-Fi, with ClearPass and AirWave, enables The English School to become Latin American leaders in personalized learning.
After her school became a leading regional innovator in digital and personalized learning, Yolanda Ramirez Lagos and other leaders of The English School realized their institution needed an upgraded Wi-Fi network for continued achievement of curriculum transformation goals and an ability to support the influx of those devices.
“Transforming educational processes by using technology was a priority for the directors of our school,” explains Ramirez Lagos, Information and Communications Technology Director at the 1,750-student International Baccalaureate (IB) institution in Bogota, Colombia.
This transformation began with the arrival of Headmistress Sarah Osborne-James, who developed a strategic plan for improving the successful achievement of IB diplomas. Key components of the plan included digital classrooms and mobile access for students.
“Changes do not occur when technology is in the hands of the teachers, they occur when technology is in the hands of the children,” observes Ramirez Lagos. “For this to happen, students need their own devices and the school needs to ensure optimal connectivity.”
Aruba Partnership Enables Learning Transformation
With Aruba, we have the Wi-Fi infrastructure we need to make our technological and pedagogical initiative come true.
Yolanda Ramirez Lagos, ICT Director, The English School
To enable its initial wave of classroom technology, The English School selected Aruba Networks as its Wi-Fi infrastructure partner. Once the original network was installed, the institution pursued a 1:1 iPad initiative, a pioneering effort in South America.
More recently, the explosion of wireless personal and classroom devices led The English School’s directors to engage in a Wi-Fi infrastructure upgrade.
Device density, Wi-Fi performance and seamless collaboration were all critical to the update initiative as the school sought to accommodate new connectivity demands. For example, the school sought to provide tablet access for their award-wining deployment of SMART interactive whiteboards.
Stepping Up to 802.11ac and Enterprise Management Tools
Building on the success of its initial Aruba partnership, The English School decided to blanket all of the institution’s academic, performance and sports facilities with a pervasive Wi-Fi system that includes Aruba 802.11ac indoor and outdoor access points (APs) and Mobility Controllers. Also, the institution is adopting Aruba’s vendor-agnostic management tools ClearPass, for strong security, and AirWave, for optimizing Wi-Fi experiences.
Together, these solutions represent fundamental elements of Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks. Additionally, the infrastructure helps enable The English School to meet the current and future needs of #GenMobile – the new breed of tech-savvy users defined by their strong mobility preference.
Ensuring Seamless Collaboration Throughout All Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
For the first phase of the upgrade project, The English School deployed approximately five times the number of APs as before. This strategy provided an AP in every classroom across the eightbuilding campus. Also, in high-density areas, like auditoriums, multiple APs were deployed.
With Aruba’s Gigabit Wi-Fi, students and educators can transition fluidly throughout indoor and outdoor spaces with the help of the built-in intelligence ClientMatch. This technology continuously gathers session performance metrics from mobile devices to steer each device to the closest and best possible AP, enabling seamless coverage from the moment users arrive at the school until the time they leave.
Mobility Controllers Provide Monitoring and Control
Aruba’s Mobility Controllers are another important element. With this technology, the school gains management and security advantages such as application controls, content filtering and interference minimization, along with various monitoring capabilities for improved performance and problem solving.
ClearPass and AirWave Provide Security and Performance
Subsequent phases of the implementation will include deployment of the enterprise tools ClearPass and AirWave. Each will assist with improving mobility experiences and driving efficiencies via centralized control and management.
Centralizing Control While Streamlining Device Onboarding with ClearPass
Rolling out ClearPass will ensure the school’s Wi-Fi users and devices are granted the correct access privileges. This will enable the expansion of user-owned device access, also called BYOD, while providing high levels of control and security.
In short, ClearPass combines context-based policy management with next-generation AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) services for secure connectivity. Such capabilities assist organizations with comprehensively enforcing role-based policies, onboarding devices and managing guest access — all from a single platform.
Optimizing the Network with AirWave to Support Motivated Learning
Adopting AirWave will supply The English School with the critical and granular visibility necessary for maintaining the overall health of its Wi-Fi, as well as unifying management of its multivendor network.
With AirWave, the school will enjoy a map-like interface for a centralized view of each AP and its location, including the number and types of devices connected to an AP. In addition, AirWave exposes sources of RF signal interference and automatically moves mobile devices to a cleaner channel.
Also, AirWave’s VisualRF feature supplies device and application information. As a result, problems that previously took hours to resolve can be done in minutes. This generates substantial savings through operational efficiency, reduced downtime and consolidated management toolsets while also boosting the network reliability and responsiveness required to motivate learning.
Personalized Learning Goals Become a Reality
Today, Aruba’s Gigabit Wi-Fi is playing a vital role at The English School. Students learn subjects such as math and physics through mobile applications as well as produce audio, video and social networking content.
These changes are motivating students and causing the intended classroom transformations, with the school experiencing significant increases in digital classroom content.
“We have chosen to give students access to new technologies,” says Ramirez Lagos. “This means educators have to change their way of teaching, because now children have direct access to the facts and data.”
School Was Recognized as a Latin American Leader for Gigabit Wi-Fi
The English School’s educational approach enabled it to become a leader in both in Colombia and Latin America. “Because we belong to a network of over 30 schools in Bogota, where we share best practices, we are producing a significant impact on our entire community,” Ramirez Lagos comments.
Additionally, The English School is recognized as a model for technology integration. “Educators from Chile, Mexico and Argentina have come to see how we are pursuing our transformation initiative,” says Ramirez Lagos.
“Aruba has given us the peace of mind to think long-term,” she adds. “With Aruba, we have the infrastructure we need to make our technological and pedagogical initiative come true.”