BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - From e-mail to E-rate, back-to-school preparations for educators include making the most of their technology dollars.
Today, the educational toolbox includes much more than books and binders or chalk and erasers. Teachers, students and parents alike have embraced laptop computers, mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) - in and out of the classroom - all powered by advanced broadband connectivity.
"As technology becomes ever more important for learning, administrators are looking for the best ways to leverage advanced communications in the classroom and beyond," said Alex Coleman, group president for Verizon Business government and education markets. "Achieving top grades for your technology investment starts with good planning.''
Coleman and his team of experts offer these 10 suggestions for making the most of technology in the classroom or on campus:
Fiber is Good for You - Higher education institutions and school districts should deploy fiber-optic networks to enhance the reach and reliability of network infrastructure. With a solid foundation built on fiber, school districts and institutions of higher education have a strong base to introduce advanced services to serve education needs for years to come.
And Don't Forget Your Greens - To hold the line on energy costs and meet environmental goals, school district administrators can look for ways to use technology to reduce commuting times or time spent in a vehicle. Virtual field trips can replace bus trips, showing students the world using the power of Internet protocol (IP) and video conferencing while reducing carbon emissions. The California Department of Parks and Recreation, for example, is using IP to implement a program for students and teachers to study state parks online. The curriculum includes a live video conference with a park ranger or viewing live video from distant locations such as the desert or tide pools or parks on the coast. (To view a video on the effort in California, go to: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/resources/1002a3a9-111.xml?urlid=129194.)
Ethernet Provides a Building Block - Schools across the nation are upgrading old copper asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks or frame relay networks to fiber-optic-based Ethernet networks. The new networks provide the crucial speed and reliability that enable truly collaborative classrooms. Ethernet provides a high-speed on ramp for students to access the Internet and expand their learning options.
Manage Networks Wirelessly - Schools and campuses are using wireless technology to quickly and securely extend the reach of local area networks (LANs) within buildings around campus. Verizon Business Managed Wireless LAN (WLAN) Service enables teachers, students or staff members to access networks, applications and data - whether they are at a desk, in a lab or in the cafeteria.
Think of Learning as an Event, not a Place - Use technology to maximize the time spent in the classroom. Deploy distance learning technology such as video conferencing to expand the reach of the campus beyond school boundaries - either across the state or around the world. For instance, a school district with a shortage of math instructors could use video conferencing technology to enable the teacher to reach a larger virtual classroom or allow students to connect with students in another country to learn about their culture and customs. Many school districts rely on Verizon Business and its relationship with Texas A&M University to work collaboratively to transform existing educational models by developing new distance education applications and supporting research and evaluation as well as professional development, technical assistance and consultation.
Safety First - While physical security is important, educators must also consider network security. To protect themselves against e hackers or other cyberthreats, educators should consider network-based security solutions to secure the flow of data in and out of the school - whether it is intellectual property, identities or credit card data. (To listen to a podcast on how Adelphi University is helping faculty and students foster collaboration securely go to: http://www.verizonbusiness.com/resources/1002a3a6-111.xml?urlid=129036.)
Notification Services Are Vital in a Mobile Campus Life - In the event of unforeseen campus events and disruptions such as snow storms, floods, schedule changes or other issues, universities are turning to emergency notification services to quickly alert thousands of students, faculty and staff members. The capabilities allow the organization to personalize and customize communications to more effectively manage changing conditions; students can be immediately alerted via text or voice messages, e-mail or a combination of these methods. The text-messaging options make this system ideal for students and other highly mobile groups.
Leverage E-Rate Funding to Modernize Infrastructure - School districts across the nation are looking to leverage the federal E-rate Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) annual discount program as they deploy Internet and voice-over-IP (VoIP) services. Verizon Business is one of the nation's leading participants in the program, with more than 10 years of E-rate experience in working with K-12 clients nationwide.
Thinkfinity.org Helps Make the Grade - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org. Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.
Partner With the Top of Their Class - Select vendors with resources and strong track records for rapid deployment of new technology to meet long-term educational goals. Educators and IT administrators can deploy new IP services quickly and efficiently via many Verizon Business existing contract vehicles. Verizon Business is an endorsed provider of MiCTA, a telecommunications nonprofit association that aggregates common IP services for its members at a competitive price. As an endorsed provider, Verizon Business can offer MiCTA members a volume discount in pricing and a simplified contracting process.
Verizon Business is one of the largest providers of advanced communications and information technology services around the world. The company offers local-to-global network capabilities coupled with a broad range of telecommunications products and services - including advanced Internet protocol (IP) services, managed network services and systems integration - to all levels of government. With this broad portfolio of services, Verizon Business' government and education organization offers state and local agencies and institutions of primary and higher education one-stop shopping for their communications or connectivity needs. The company has built the next-generation services that are helping to transform the way government customers - and their constituents - do business.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), operates the world's most connected public IP network and uses its industry-leading global-network capabilities to offer large-business and government customers an unmatched combination of security, reliability and speed. The company integrates advanced IP communications and information technology (IT) products and services to deliver leading enterprise solutions including managed services, security, mobility, collaboration and professional services. These solutions power innovation and enable the company's customers to do business better. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.