Students in schools throughout B.C. are getting better access to the Internet as a comprehensive new network called Next Generation is installed by the Ministry of Education.

Students in schools throughout B.C. are getting better access to the Internet as a comprehensive new network called Next Generation is installed by the Ministry of Education.

Next Gen networks B.C. schools

High-speed internet and enhanced network security services thanks to the ongoing K-12 Provincial Learning Network’s Next Generation upgrade.

More B.C. students and teachers are returning to classrooms fully equipped with high-speed internet and enhanced network security services thanks to the ongoing K-12 Provincial Learning Network’s Next Generation upgrade.

“B.C.’s world-class education system is on track to getting world-class Internet that will support innovative learning parents expect in every classroom,” said Education Minister Mike Bernier in a recent release.

“I am inspired by the teachers and students already making use of the Next Generation Network and look forward to  further digitally-focused schools in the future.”

One school year into the three-year project, more than 60 percent of students and 816 sites have been connected to the internet network.

Teachers are reporting that with the new system prep time has been reduced, they can better access on-line resources, and students are empowered to explore online learning.

School districts are reaping the benefits of substantially improved Internet connections, says a ministry release.

It gives the example of School District 45 (West Vancouver), which reports that the network lets learning  become the focus, as teachers and students no longer wonder if the Internet will load web pages like YouTube.

The Next Generation Network provides modern infrastructure that will service all public schools in the province once completed, says the ministry.

Not only does the network keep pace with the evolving use of Internet by students and educators, it also provides firewall management, web/URL filtering and IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection Systems and Intrusion Prevention Systems).

Beyond download speeds, schools are embracing mobile technologies and integrating digital instruction products for all classes, not just computer labs, including SMART Boards, Edmodo, and Learn 360.

The Next Generation Network is a partnership with school districts, the Ministry of Education, TELUS and IBM, the primary service providers.

“We are committed to making our home province of British Columbia one   of the most connected places in the world,” said Tim Draper, TELUS vice president.

“Ensuring our students and future leaders have access to the technology and information they need to uncover a wealth of learning opportunities will undoubtedly contribute to the future economic success and health of our children, communities and province as a whole.”

Launched in March 2014, the system will be fully operational by March 31, 2017, with over 75 percent of sites completed by March 31, 2016.

Over three years, start-up costs for the upgrade total $137.2 million.

The Next Generation Network replaces the existing Provincial Learning Network.