St. Bede’s College in Melbourne, Australia, a secondary school for boys grade 7-12, focuses on Stem Education (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) as the cornerstone of their curriculum. To support this program and the other innovative approaches to education, the students and staff, which number nearly 2,000, depend on a Xirrus Wi-Fi network to provide consistent, reliable performance.
At St. Bede’s, every office and classroom has Wi-Fi that supports multiple devices per user. St. Bede’s provides notebooks for students in years 10-12, and iPads for students in years 7-9. What’s more, many students and staff bring three or more devices to school, including smartphones, tablets, notebooks and wearables. David Cracknell, Deputy Principal for ICT and Infrastructure at St. Bede’s admits, “Most wireless solutions we looked at couldn’t do the job…then we discovered Xirrus.”
St. Bede’s, renowned for its academic excellence, credits their willingness to embrace unconventional techniques to promote student performance. The college encourages student-led learning because research proves that students learn better by doing something themselves than by watching a teacher.
Students develop coding and game design skills, and then make the techniques available for viewing to students and instructors using Google Apps. They also video record themselves learning and discussing different subjects so that teachers can see their progress in real-time and respond with input. In addition to educational videos that students stream from a subscription-based cloud service, homework frequently includes presentations that include video content.
On the flipside, teachers use Google Apps to distribute articles and collaborate with students on assignments. All of this requires a lot of bandwidth! But as Cracknell reports, “Even when many students stream videos at the same time, the Xirrus Wi-Fi network doesn’t falter, even a little.” Assured of Xirrus reliability, a group of students recently enjoyed a video conference with Douglas Wheelock, a NASA astronaut. The Xirrus Wi-Fi network makes these kinds of exceptional educational outcomes possible for St. Bede’s college.
And Xirrus doesn’t just play a role in learning at St. Bede’s College. It also supports campus security as well. “With the Xirrus network, administrators and campus safety personnel anywhere on campus can use their iPhones to view real-time and recorded video from more than 40 video surveillance cameras,” says Cracknell. “Not having to return to the office to view video enables staff to more quickly learn about and respond to events.”
Additionally, the ICT team uses Xirrus Management System (XMS) to manage and update the network. While most of their AP radios are currently configured to operate at 5GHz, when they become ready to leverage 802.11ac Wave 2, St. Bede’s will adapt to the new standard without the expense of purchasing and deploying new access points. With just a few clicks, their system will be updated and able to provide even faster high-capacity performance.
It’s an exciting time for young minds. All of us at Xirrus are proud to be a part of a new frontier of possibilities, for technology and beyond.