Improving Education With Network Data Analytics

Educational technology has revolutionized teaching and learning. With so much rapidly-changing technology in today’s classroom, it’s important to track the results, in order to build on the successful implementations and phase out what’s not working. That’s why analytics and student assessment are so important in education. With products like Extreme Networks’ Purview, it can be a simple matter to capture the data you need and graphically display it or format it into a report. Unlocking that data can bring enormous benefits for improving educational outcomes.

Network analytics tell you which technologies, devices, and software are being used most and which are generating the best results. These analytics help you understand what the students are doing throughout the day. What are the most successful students up to that others could learn from?

At Educause 2014, Fontys Hogescholen described how his IT staff members were transformed into folk heroes through the creative and engaging use of Wi-Fi analytics. Hogescholen’s group helped students use network analytics for projects like tracking student activities across campus to correlate demographic data with behavior and even effect change. The concept of analytics is helping usher in the era of competency-based education (CBE), enabling students to master skills at their own pace.

Data and network analytics are essential, not just for network managers, but also for teachers, curriculum directors, superintendents, principals, CFOs and students. Teachers can quickly see which applications are actually being used during class time and make sure the applications are running fast and responsively. Teachers can explore how activities and application usage varies among their students during the day and compare their respective results.

District superintendents, principals, and curriculum directors use the analytics to preparing for new technology-related initiatives, like video, digital text books, and online testing. During online testing it can be absolutely critical to have a realtime view into network dynamics. Should an issue arise, Purview can determine whether the problem is at the student device, within the network, at the local servers, due to an Internet connection, or caused by the remote servers administering the test.

The district or university finance managers use Purview to analyze the cost effectiveness of expensive software licenses. How often is the software used; how many simultaneous users are there; who and what departments are using it? Finance managers can also use the analytics to project capacity needs for investment planning.

The network analytics available today are especially valuable for IT leadership and the help desk. The IT staff can spot bottlenecks even before users are affected. The staff can keep shadow IT at bay by insuring that only approved network and user devices are active on the network. Rogue IT devices can be easily located and disabled.

Purview provides a single dashboard to show what’s happening across your school district or university network. It records what applications are being run by whom with full data on the locations and times. This is provided without taking away any performance from the network. The detailed view into the network provided by analytics solutions like Purview gives IT the ability to provide students, teachers, administration, and all users with the network experience they demand.

By Bob Nilsson, Extreme Networks

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