Classroom technology differs from district to district in school systems. Factors such as cost and adapting to change drive the level at which technology is adopted in schools. Technology is not uniformly adopted nationwide, and, in fact, technology adoption may be uneven within the same school district. As a result of lack of uniformity, the description of either “wired classroom” or “wireless classroom” may apply to the same scenarios or differing scenarios, depending on the context of the school district.
Both terms refer to using computers and other technology in the classroom and may be used interchangeably. Increasingly, the “other technology” may include smart boards and mobile devices. Because the range may be so broad and may differ from district to district, to discuss the difference between wired and wireless classrooms, it may be helpful to focus the discussion on computers, networks, and Internet usage and how those may be configured in school districts.
Computers in the classroom may be desktops or laptops. The computers students, teachers, and administrators use may be Macs or PCs, and school districts are often uniform about the choice. The network in a school district is usually the main server-client network used by the school district. The Internet service in the district may be wireless or dial up. Further, desktop or laptop computers may be connected to the Internet wirelessly or through dial-up service.
The differences between wired and wireless classrooms hinge upon how the technology is used or configured for classroom use by the district. The distinction will vary from district to district. For example, a “wired classroom” in one district may mean that the district uses laptops but still uses dial up service for Internet access. This type of district may be described as wired but not wireless. At the other end of the spectrum, a district may use laptops and wireless Internet, as well as other current technology. Classrooms in such a district may be described as wirelesss.