Enabling the future of education with self-optimising networks

The traditional classroom is quickly evolving with new technology and digital solutions set to change the way teachers teach and students learn. The concept of digital learning is not new, but the pandemic has certainly accelerated this shift. According to the GSMA, as many as 422 million secondary school students had to pivot to remote learning during the pandemic and the role of technology and the network played a critical part in enabling this transition. Remote learning is not going away, and the market for digital learning is growing fast with technology enabling a more personalised and interactive experience. Students and teachers will have access to a world of data right at their fingertips, but reliable, high-bandwidth, and continuous connectivity is critical to enabling this and supporting the future world of education.
Improving the digital classroom
A digital world promises endless resources and opportunities for students: technology can enable access to resources anywhere at any time, and students can learn from their personal devices. Many schools already offer digital portals for homework and include resources and information online, and we are also seeing schools encourage remote devices, undertake online assessments and stream videos as a new way to teach and learn.  
This progression toward more technology in the classroom has opened up a new world of opportunities, giving rise to what’s called ‘adaptive learning’. Education is ultimately evolving into a personalised, anytime, anywhere and any-device experience. But this requires a dynamic and self-optimising network. We can have the best technology available and the latest devices, but without a reliable network it won’t work. Simply put, we need to prepare networks to support the future of education, adding scalability to meet demands and support the bandwidth-hungry, low-latency learning applications like interactive video lessons or virtual field trips.
From legacy to future ready
Many educational institutions are not as prepared to handle the surges in traffic and potential network congestion that the rise of digital learning is set to bring. The challenge is that many schools are still relying on legacy networks. They were built and designed before the rise of these new applications and will struggle to support the digital classroom in the years to come.
Legacy networks tend to be fixed and provide static bandwidth capacity, requiring a lot of manual processing. They also require heavy cycle times to expand or contract. These challenges make education networks static, inflexible, costly, and highly inefficient to own and operate—especially as we start to rely on and use the network more. 
It’s essential that schools have networks that can not only provide continuity during classes, but also adapt to a big influx of traffic—especially when it comes to online exams and evaluations.
A new approach
Whether students are learning from home or in the classroom, networks must be ready to support on-demand, bandwidth-hungry, low-latency applications. The ability to meet these needs today, while providing infrastructure that can evolve into the future, is critical.
With adaptability, we can move away from the constraints of legacy architecture and instead educational institutions can benefit from infrastructure that is dynamic and scalable, giving them the access they need at the right moment.
This type of approach means the network can gather traffic patterns, analyse streaming telemetry data in real time to predict potential congestion or outage situations, and then automatically adjust performance without the need for human intervention. This is crucial to making sure the educational requirements and applications of today are supported, while futureproofing with the scalability, agility, and intelligence needed for the innovative applications of tomorrow.
Using AI to create a tailored learning experience
While supporting the new digital learning experiences and devices that are making their way into the educational world is critical, the network plays a key role in creating a more tailored and personalised approach to learning.
Not only can a network provide the right speed, bandwidth, and reliable connectivity needed, but through artificial intelligence and algorithms it can make available tailored content and match individual learning paces, also known as adaptive learning. With this type of network, students can enjoy a more interactive learning experience. As an example, the network can provide real-time response and detect patterns, enabling content to be shared at each student’s own pace and in his or her own learning style.
As these technology-based experiences become a new way of looking at learning, the end goal remains the same as it always has been: to improve how students receive and digest information.  
Future classrooms get an A+ with networks that can adapt
Teachers and students alike have acquired a digital toolbox that has completely changed the classroom environment, and it is critical that we start to ask if our networks are ready for this. As education and technology continue to move together in synchrony and evolve, adopting the right tools and the right network to support this will be integral to success.