The way we teach and learn is changing rapidly, and this change is reflected in the BCEDPLAN and our District’s own PATHWAYS TO EDUCATION strategic plan. The Internet had been a big part of this learning revolution, and we have upgraded our systems in an attempt to keep up with the growing demand from our learners as their participation in electronic collaboration, research, inquiry, and project-based learning expands our schools’ Internet needs. Our new Internet provider is the Next Generation Network, or NGN, and the total available bandwidth in many our elementary schools is now 30 mb/s and in our secondary schools it is now between 50 and 100 mb/s.
We have been approached by Shaw in regard to make “Shaw-Go” open wifi available in our schools. They have offered to cover the costs of installation and provide large amounts of bandwidth to anyone on site with a Shaw home account. This would not only improve Internet access for those who are Shaw customers, but also free up the school bandwidth and improve access for those who are not. It is important to note that unlike the bandwidth we receive from PLNet, this open wifi will indeed be completely unfiltered, just like 3G or the Internet you get in your homes. Access would also be controlled by the customer and not by the school.
When presented with this opportunity the Board of Education approved the pilot to move forward with the following conditions:
- A notice will go home to parents informing them of the pilot
- An open wifi education program will be developed at each school to inform and support responsible use
- Each school PAC must first approve the pilot by vote
- After a three months a survey at each school will gather feedback
- If the open wifi is deemed to be a problem at the schools, it would be removed
We do recognize that Shaw’s interest in providing this service is commercial in nature. The School District, though open to this partnership as a way to augment our own resources, will continue to provide Internet in all of our schools to all of our students. I look forward to seeing the results of the surveys and hearing everyone’s feedback as we move forward with this endeavour. If you have any further questions, I encourage you to talk to your school principal, or contact me at the School Board Office.
Director of Instruction (Technology and Innovation)
School District No.48 (Sea to Sky)