School district Wi-Fi upgrade 50% complete

·1 min read

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’s Wi-Fi upgrade is about 50 per cent complete after two years.

Thus far the upgrade is complete at all of the district’s high schools, three elementary schools and two swing spaces, NLPS’s director of information technology, Zeyad Merchant, reported to the education committee at its May 4 meeting.

The educational technology advisory group (ETAG), which is overseeing the project, started with the high schools first in order to reach the greatest number of students initially.

“It’s also where technology is used the most,” Merchant said. Sixteen schools’ upgrades are underway through onsite surveys and wiring. Nine elementary schools, including Gabriola Elementary, and Island Connect Ed are still in the planning stages.

In recent years, the school district has made significant investments in devices, such as a laptop for every teacher who is employed at 0.5 full-time equivalent or greater, but “we were not deriving the value without the infrastructure to make them work,” Merchant said.

“The absence of Wi-Fi infrastructure was actually quite stark. Before the upgrade it’s hard to underestimate how tough life was in schools trying to adopt technology.”

ETAG has received positive feedback from schools where the Wi-Fi upgrade is complete. School staff have noted less classroom disruption as students no longer have to go to hard-wired computer labs for provincial assessments, and libraries have been able to expand digital resource collections.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

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