Our IT department … well Dan, who is our IT person came in today and installed 2 new Cisco wireless routers that my students’ laptops can access. After lunch we took about 2 minutes to log on and took the new wireless out for a spin.
You may recall we have been relying on an 8 year old Apple Airport hub (an original … even had a place to plug in a modem) up until now. I had my students go straight to Free Rice because we knew that after 7 to 10 of us were on before the connection degraded to slower than an old phone line connection. Students would actually wait 2 minutes for Free Rice to navigate from one page to the next.
Well, the connection rocked! Pages loaded right now, even on the 8 year old Key Lime Green iBooks with 25 laptops accessing the network at once. After about 7-8 minutes of our “test run” though I started to hear complaints of it slowing to a crawl again. It picked back up again after a minute or 2, but then got somewhat spotty. Overall though a huge improvement over what we had!
We had “computer class” the last half hour of the day in the lab (1-2 year old HP desktops) and in talking to the aide she says the same thing happens to her daily. They’ll sail along and then for a period of time sloooowwww dooowwwnnn, and then pick back up again 2 to 10 minutes later.
I’m really hoping this bodes well for some projects coming up where I plan on having students doing web searches. We usually don’t have everyone searching at once (but that would be nice from time to time) so that should help. When I think how successful we have been blogging, designing wiki pages, Skyping, and all with a really poor connection, I’m looking forward to taking my students to the “next level”, whatever that may be exactly! : )
Learning is messy!