SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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C Spire’s Education Revolution initiative takes off with successful launch of hosted Wi-Fi, fiber-based Internet access at Jackson Prep

Jackson Prep students just got significantly faster and it has nothing to do with athletics. That’s because last fall, the school’s new state-of-the-art dedicated Wi-Fi infrastructure went live with the help of C Spire’s Education Revolution next-generation technology solution.

The Mississippi-based telecommunications-based diversified technology company and Flowood institution joined forces to make Jackson Preparatory School Mississippi’s first academic institution to receive the comprehensive hosted high-speed Internet solution – opening the doors and the possibilities for other Mississippi schools to bridge the digital divide and help their students prepare for 21st century skills through digital learning.

Jackson Prep’s technology plan focuses on preparing students for the technologically sophisticated classroom they enter upon graduation, so the fact that in the 1999-2000 school year Prep was the first school in Mississippi to install a campus-wide wireless network is not surprising. However, rapid advances in technology have made frequent upgrade and replacement a challenge. The Prep-funded scalable Wi-Fi solution removes the overwhelming upfront costs and allows the school’s wireless infrastructure to keep pace with the academic rigor and excellence that has always been part of the classroom experience.

C Spire’s hosted Wi-Fi solution, which was installed at the school over the summer, features over 100 access points throughout Jackson Prep’s campus, providing super-fast and secure wireless internet coverage in every corner of the school. The solution also provides simultaneous wireless connections for every student in every classroom and throughout the campus – allowing for immediate access to essential web-based resources and digital learning tools like digital textbooks, library e-databases, reverse learning podcasts, electronic submission of assignments, real-time lectures, mobile applications, and so much more.

“For decades, C Spire has been dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for Mississippi students though wireless technology. We understand Mississippi’s educational challenges and believe that part of the collective solution should include an advanced technology infrastructure. By offering students, faculty and staff essential digital and mobile learning tools, networks and support, we can make a real difference,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire. “Our Education Revolution initiative for schools like Jackson Prep leverages our expertise in wireless and wireline technology and fiber optic infrastructure to offer students the access to digital learning tools they need to compete in today’s mobile world.”

With the rapid growth in the use of mobile devices, coupled with the development of electronic textbooks and educational apps, elements are in place for a successful implementation of mobilizing education. However, a device or app is only as good as the network on which it runs. Robust, highly reliable data networks are essential to the digital migration in academia.

C Spire’s hosted Wi-Fi solution at Jackson Prep allows students and faculty in every classroom to have simultaneous access to web-based interactive learning material, widespread online testing and mobile educational apps. Additionally, Jackson Prep’s customized network features TeacherView – a powerful, yet simple app for teachers that allows them to see, manage and control the students’ connection status instantly and seamlessly. Teachers can adjust connectivity based on the curriculum and plan for the day. For example, they can enable access to internet resources for class time use and disable at testing time.

“TeacherView is just one example of how C Spire’s hosted Wi-Fi network has enhanced the educational process and student experience at our school,” said Denny Britt, COO of Jackson Preparatory School. “The network infrastructure C Spire has put in place at Prep is helping our teachers bring innovation directly into each classroom and helping our students develop 21st century skills they need to be successful as they move on to college and beyond.”

Britt and Laura Bishop, head of IT at the school, said C Spire helped accelerate implementation of the school’s technology development plan with the hosted WiFi solution. “C Spire took our [Jackson Prep] 3 – 5 year wireless infrastructure technology plan and made it a reality within 6 months,” Bishop said. “That’s progress on the fast track.”

Benefits of C Spire’s Education Revolution solution

Whether it’s experiencing a new lesson through a podcast or online access to tutors and mentors, the benefits of digital learning hosted on a fast and reliable network, like the one C Spire has deployed at Jackson Prep, are real, significant and lasting:

  • Enhanced interactive mobile learning for every student, including access to online tutors, supplemental learning resources, and media-rich lessons and materials – all with the student’s individual needs in mind
  • Improved classroom management by empowering teachers to control the viewing content available during class time
  • Inspired innovation by teachers to draw on resources that exist beyond the schools walls
  • Personalized and complete communications system solutions that are tailored to meet school’s needs, while enhancing the learning experience for all students
  • Total service and support provided by dedicated, knowledgeable sales, service and support staff who live and work nearby and who understand educational needs and challenges
  • Superior infrastructure, including dedicated Internet access that features fixed-rate dedicated connections with speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 1 Gbps – ensuring the fastest speeds and greatest reliability
  • The C Spire Wireless hosted solution will ensure that financially-strapped school districts will not have to bear the financial burden of overwhelming upfront costs to purchase equipment that can quickly become obsolete

“C Spire is excited to offer Mississippi students and educators a viable, affordable, and workable solution to help make our state a leader in education and student achievement through access to a customizable, scalable and robust mobile learning environment,” Meena said.

C Spire’s technology solution responds to the rapid development and introduction of new digital learning strategies and tools for schools throughout the state and nation.

Access to Digital Learning Tools

  • Digital Textbooks: Digital textbooks are more portable and convenient for students. Mobile devices also serve as a consolidated repository for academic resources. Instead of carrying around textbooks, notebooks, dictionaries, and other study aids in a backpack, a mobile device provides students instant access to a multitude of resources.
  • Mobile Applications: Numerous apps have been created to support traditional teaching and learning activities. Some of these replace existing learning plans and teaching methods, while others supplement the more familiar in-class instruction.
  • Teacher/Student Interaction: If teachers upload videos of the daily lesson or instruction, students are able to watch it later and review if there was a concept they missed or didn’t understand the first time. The opportunity for review extends beyond the classroom setting and can be done in the privacy of one’s own home or on one’s digital device. It also gives students the chance to take control of their own education and make decisions based on their personal learning style and speed.
  • Supplementary Learning and Tutoring: Students can easily interact with web-based tutors, sites or other resources through software that can be used on any device with computing capabilities. Students can easily interact with tutors in another location, despite not being geographically together.

C Spire is an industry leader in developing technology-based solutions for consumers, businesses and schools to help meet their voice and data communications needs. In addition to the deployment of its Education Revolution initiative at Jackson Prep, the company has developed unique programs and provided innovative solutions to schools, communities and businesses throughout Mississippi – improving the future for residents and businesses and making a difference through technology access.

For more information about C Spire’s Education Revolution and other network solutions that company can provide, please visit www.cspire.com.

About C Spire

C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class service and a superior, comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.

About Jackson Prep

Jackson Preparatory School is an independent, co-educational college preparatory day school enrolling 800 students in grades six through twelve. The school is located on a 74-acre campus east of Jackson and is the largest independent secondary school in the state of Mississippi. The Prep faculty/staff is comprised of over 100 dedicated and experienced professionals, including 44 who have earned post-graduate degrees. Seven faculty members hold doctoral degrees. The student body is diverse, representing various racial, ethnic, economic, and religious groups. For more information about Jackson Prep, visit www.jacksonprep.net or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jacksonprep or Twitter at https://twitter.com/jacksonprep.

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