Dr. Don Langenhorst’s motto is, “If it’s not helping kids, then I don’t want to spend much time with it.” That philosophy helped inform the network upgrade this tech director led for Dedham Public School District in Massachusetts. With a 50% E-rate discount and 10% matching funds through the state’s Digital Connections Partnerships Schools Grant & Loan Program that resulted in an additional 10% from E-rate (for a total of 70% discount), the district moved to a fully self-provisioned fiber network. Here are three things the upgrade has made possible for the school district and its surrounding community.
1. Inspire teachers to regularly embrace digital learning
As a former teacher, Dr. Langenhorst understands first-hand the importance of reliable Internet access. In his words, “You need to have a reliable system that works at all times. Teachers will put up with one [interruption] a year. Twice? You’re on thin ice. A third time? Forget about it: You’re back to pencil and paper.”
With broadband that no longer cuts out and interrupts lessons, the increased stability has positively impacted both teachers and students.
2. Implement a 1:1 device program
For Dedham, better broadband infrastructure has meant greater device use in the classroom. The district has launched a 1:1 student:device program over the past several years and consistently reliable connections have been critical as students regularly use the technology as a core tool. Now, students and teachers are able to utilize many resources in everyday learning including access to appropriate educational websites, real-time interactive tools that support peer learning, and a wide variety of engaging applications that support the curriculum.
3. Affordably increase bandwidth over time
One of the primary benefits of fiber infrastructure is that it is scalable over time. The district’s infrastructure will be able to handle gradual bandwidth increases as the district’s digital learning needs grow.
In addition, Dedham will soon be able to use their E-rate Category 2 budget to upgrade their internal networks. The mesh Wi-Fi network Dedham has planned will not only benefit the schools, but the entire community.
See more stories of successful district upgrades on our blog.