Innovative School District Uses Comcast Metro Ethernet for Web-Based Education and More

  • Comcast
  • Education
  • Metro Ethernet
PHILADELPHIA – One of the nation’s top-10 technology school districts is now using Comcast Metro Ethernet services for cloud computing, virtualization and streaming video in the classroom as well as for more traditional data, voice and video services.

Township High School District 214, which, with more than 12,000 high school students across eight communities, is the second largest high school district in Illinois, is implementing technology programs to use resources more effectively, enhance teaching tools and reduce costs. The district needed a high-performance network to support more than 6,200 computers, 1,300 VoIP phones, 850 iPads, 225 IP cameras and 400 wireless access points.

For example, District 214 is using streaming video services and hosted applications to deliver additional curriculum to classrooms and desktop computers. Plus, under a recently-launched pilot project, 850 students will receive iPads to reduce the cost of physical textbooks and software licenses and facilitate information-sharing both in school and at home.

Cloud-Based Backup
Another innovation is the district’s use of IlliniCloud, a cloud-based, statewide IT network built by Illinois school districts, for backup of finance, payroll, human resources, and student information. Comcast’s Metro Ethernet provides the capacity and bandwidth necessary to connect to IlliniCloud for 24/7 access and storage of this critical data.

“We believe the future is in cloud computing, and virtualization is the first step to bringing the district to a completely cloud-based environment,” says Keith Bockwoldt, director of technology at District 214. “Kids today are growing up in a digital world, and we want to prepare our students, educators and community for the future. Comcast’s Metro Ethernet gives us the capacity and bandwidth to deliver cloud, virtualization, streaming video and other bandwidth-intensive systems to better serve our students and help keep us on budget.”

District 214’s server virtualization project has significantly reduced hardware and energy costs. Connected by a Comcast Metro Ethernet backbone, the virtualized servers have saved the district more than $330,000 in hardware replacements and $45,000 in reduced energy costs. The virtualized environment also has lowered carbon emissions. In addition, the district’s HVAC systems are now monitored and controlled from a central location across its Comcast wide-area network, increasing efficiency in HVAC management.

The district is now exploring videoconferencing for office meetings, which would increase efficiency and reduce travel time and mileage reimbursement expenses. The district also has moved to online enrollment for all incoming freshmen and started a pilot health care program that allows participating students to interact with hospitals and other medical professionals using videoconferencing and laptop computers.

Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business Services, points out, “The district’s success shows us that these programs are not only applicable to the corporate world, as District 214 has achieved specific, measureable results from their innovative use of technology.”

District 214 has been recognized by the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association as a Top Ten Technology School District in the nation. It has also received the 2010 Lincoln Bronze Award from the Illinois-based Lincoln Foundation for "Commitment to Excellence" for its efforts in continuous improvement.


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