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April 02, 2008

Entry 3: Experiential Learning 2.0 ... From Wireless Campus to Connected Community

Six or seven years ago, wireless connectivity on university campuses was an innovation that some skeptics called a novelty, a technology platform looking for a boutique niche as a reason to exist. Today, across the country, more than 75% of university campuses have or report being in advanced stages of planning an implementation to wireless connectivity. Today, seven years later, at Case Western Reserve University, students, faculty, and staff view wireless services as "digital air." It's just there, like it should be. Visitors to the campus routinely marvel at its availability. Prospective students on campus tour or usually immpressed when you share that wireless connectivity is basically available everywhere. But after six months and certainly after six years no one takes much notice, they just expect it to be there. When surveyed, wireless connectivity ranks at or near the very top of everyone top services that the University IT organization provides. Ask the Deans or Department Chairs and they will tell you that wireless services enable spontaneous group work in the halls and in the cafeterias across the campus. The School of Medicine and Dental Medicine at Case have integrated wireless notebooks and tablets into their core learning platform every day in almost every class. Some innovative faculty have leveraged wireless connectivity to advance interactive and active learning strategies both inside the classroom and in fieldwork-based learning. Wireless technology on the University campus may well be the single most important new enabler of collaborative learning in the past 10 years.

Starting next month, Case Western Reserve University, its University Circle community partners led by OneCommunity, and with corporate support from Cisco systems will extend the wireless coverage area and in so doing extend the learning eco-system for experiential and active learning to area that extends some 5 sq miles around University Circle. University Circle is the epicenter of Cleveland's education, health, arts, and non-profit world and is a natural extension of the Case Western Reserve University's education experience. Seven years ago, the portfolio of applications and ways in which wireless technology would be used to enhance and even transform learning on the University campus was largely unknown. As wireless services are extended to the area around University Circle, there is no doubt that the growing connected community will have every bit as profound an impact on the learning experience and the opportunity to support collaboration in the connected community as it has had across the wireless campus.

Here is a google map screen shot capture of the coverage area.

UnivCircle wireless mesh.jpg

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland,OH 44122
April 2, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at April 2, 2008 09:16 PM and tagged

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