Digital learning is at the core of the modern classroom experience. In fact, 96% of teachers and administrators believe that digital learning has a positive impact on instructor effectiveness and student outcomes. Wireless internet connectivity – WiFi – has played a huge role in the boom of digital learning. School WiFi helps students stay on top of their school work and encourage learning outside of the classroom.
Three out of four schools today offer 100% WiFi coverage to meet the expectations of the modern student (yes, even fifth graders today expect high speed connectivity). But the benefits of school WiFi extend far beyond happier students. WiFi networks can offer massive value to school systems, from parental involvement and student identification to enhanced security.
Using School WiFi as Its Own Gatekeeper
Establishing and following network security protocols while students and faculty are using the network is a critical to a safe WiFi network. In addition to following protocol, schools can determine who is allowed to use the network – and how – by allowing school WiFi act as its own gatekeeper. This type of user segmentation is important to ensure network safety, protect bandwidth, and control student usage.
Smart WiFi technology builds on the basic captive portal tool and provides a host user identification possibilities at schools. Administrators can distinguish between unwanted WiFi users and verified users, thanks to WiFi enhancements such as email validation, or access codes, during the login process. Only users with the proper credentials (such as student-provided email or student ID) are able to gain access to a specific WiFi network.
Email validation provides access to those with only a real and working student or faculty email. This tool is perfect for facilities that want to limit WiFi access to only current students and staff rather than past students or faculty. Email validation protects the WiFi network by verifying emails to ensure they are actually running a live and legitimate email platform.
[Phone Graphic of Email Verification]
Schools can also offer limited WiFi access to visitors and parents using an access code. School facilities would create a general password for WiFi access. What makes a Smart WiFi access code different from a regular password-protected network is that each unique access code can provide a unique access level. Set upload and download speeds, limit time online, and more with unique access levels. A Smart WiFi dashboard allows staff to effortlessly navigate to the Access Code section and revise the school’s password all in a matter of seconds. Regular revisions made to network’s password is good practice for a secure WiFi network.
Smart Tip: Use a Guest Plan feature to offer a WiFi network to public users, while still using some type of gatekeeper function. Vouchers require WiFi guests to provide a one-time code in order to use WiFi for specified amount of time, while payments allows users to access WiFi by purchasing a specific WiFi plan provided by the school. Payments are a great revenue-generating tool for conferences and non-school related events.
Using WiFi as a Digital Pep Rally
Just like students expect fast and secure WiFi, they also expect a seamless login process. K-12 schools to can use their student WiFi is to promote school spirit and engage with the student body. Going back to using WiFi as its own gatekeeper, as students and faculty log in using their email, the school can engage with WiFi users on a branded login page, through surveys, and automated emails.
WiFi marketing offers several avenues to engage with WiFi users. One of those features includes the ability to run email marketing campaigns from the same dashboard a school accesses their other Smart WiFi tools.
Email marketing is a powerful and effective way to engage and inform students and staff with content revolving around school news, events, and rules and regulations. Get students excited for the next big sporting event with an email branded to said event with a CTA encouraging ticket purchases and/or RSVPs. Get students interested in school clubs and other extracurricular activities with an email campaigns that show off clubs and groups that are looking for new members at the each beginning of the semester.
Smart Tip: Take those same email marketing efforts and apply them to SMS marketing campaigns via Smart WiFi. If phone number verification is one of the ways a school facility wants to allow WiFi access, they can take those collected numbers and retarget that mobile audience through well-crafted SMS campaigns. Short codes can be added in to redirect students to specific pages on the school website.
Perhaps a school or college wants to know more about their students in order to engage with them more and make them feel more connected to the school. Using a Smart WiFi’s Form Builder feature, education facilities can use WiFi as a way to survey and poll their students. Schools can ask students what type of school events sound most intriguing to them, provide feedback on past events, cafeteria menus, and other areas of the school students would like to provide feedback on.
Establish a Safe Environment with WiFi Analytics
We’ve looked over how WiFi helps to create a safe and fun environment in the digital space, now let’s talk about how WiFi helps to create a safer and fun environment for students in the physical space. WiFi analytics takes an existing WiFi network and uses it to gather and aggregate data in a way where school campuses utilize that data to make improvements to the security layout of the school.
Bullying is still an unfortunate reality for a lot of grade schools. Part of that problem may have to do with schools simply not having the resources to place supervision throughout the school campus – especially in areas where bullying may take place. However, with over half of U.S. children now owning a smart phone, grade schools can use specific WiFi analytic features such as heatmapping and traffic alerts to allow school staff to monitor areas where bullying make take place.
Using a traffic alert feature works by sending an email and/or SMS alert to security personnel when a certain number of students are found roaming around specific areas at specific times. Imagine that when the WiFi network captures multiple cell phone devices in a a high-risk area outside the classroom, security can be sent an alert to monitor that area to ensure that no bullying is taking place or any other type of student activity that goes against proper conduct.
Looking for a software platform to enhance your school’s WiFi performance? With GoZone’s Smart WiFi suite, we can optimize WiFi networks whether be for securing the network, updating marketing efforts, or providing analytics to strengthen security in the physical space. Contact us today or schedule a demo and let us show you how we unlock the power of Smart for all types of schools and college campuses.