The countdown to mandatory NAPLAN Online adoption is well and truly on, with all Australian schools expected to move from paper-based assessments to computer-based tests by 2021. But the last few years have seen connectivity issues plague the rollout. Reports of students in tears1 and thousands more experiencing disruptions during tests2 have schools spidey senses understandably tingling. After all, in many cases the NAPLAN period is the first time a school’s network has been put under this extent of sustained pressure.
For those that are still suffering flashbacks to last year’s NAPLAN Online, and everyone else that wants to avoid those headaches, it’s time to ask yourself:
But perhaps the most important question of all – can you answer all of the above with confidence? Imagine facing frustrated students, parents and fellow teachers if the network did happen to crash.
By taking subjectivity out of network monitoring, Aruba’s User Experience Insight (UXI) is putting visibility and control back in the hands of IT teams. If you’re not familiar, these nifty sensors connect to your network and quietly go about their business 24/7; allowing you to see the health of your network from your users’ perspective – and that’s an important element to emphasise. It goes beyond the infrastructure monitoring that a traditional network management tool provides to deliver insights into real-time experiences; ultimately allowing IT to remedy issues before users are impacted.
To better demonstrate the value of UXI, we’ve collected a handful of real-life examples that our team have witnessed firsthand:
With approximately 1400 K-12 students, this private school in Melbourne had plans to move all junior students to NAPLAN Online in 2019, followed by secondary students in 2020. To ensure their network’s technical readiness they placed Aruba’s UXI Sensors across the school and ran day-to-day usability tests that mimicked the pressure of a school wide NAPLAN test.
Sensor logs revealed a previously unknown DNS issue that would most likely affect their ability to successfully run NAPLAN Online. Until these issues could be resolved, the decision was made to postpone the transition to computer-based testing for the junior school students, allowing them to prioritise the senior school students to complete NAPLAN Online first without disruption.
Needing to support their digital-rich curriculum with seamless, always-on connectivity, another school placed Aruba’s UXI Sensors across the campus, giving them the ability to monitor and troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity for their 1000 K-12 students from their desks.
With the sensors continuously sending mobile user and IoT device data to the cloud-based UXI dashboard, IT are able to pre-emptively take action before users are impacted. The ability to track the issue to the device or driver means IT no longer lose valuable time or experience the frustrations that come with isolating connectivity problems. Featuring an at-a-glance smile metaphor to show current user experience, the intuitive dashboard has allowed IT to identify problems in seconds while also offering detailed drill-down reports for comprehensive troubleshooting.
While not in the education sector, the learnings from this research institute provide a valuable lesson when planning for NAPLAN Online. In this case, the institute was confident their network was in tip top condition. Connectivity was reliable and they were yet to experience any major issues. They opted to test their network with UXI to ensure what was happening on the user front, was also happening behind the scenes – and that their network would support them into the future.
After plugging in the sensors a host of connectivity problems were discovered that if left unchecked could severely impact future business operations. They quickly learned that while their network was able to cater for existing demands, it would not be able to perform so well under the pressure of additional users or data-hungry technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). The important lesson for schools is that while they may feel their network is up to the task of NAPLAN Online, only by placing it under the microscope of UXI will they reveal the true story.
In a bid to better understand the impact of an increased load on their network, this school – catering to over 1000 students and 150 staff – were previously monitoring their network using PC apps. While they could gain some understanding of network performance, they weren’t able to prevent connectivity issues from affecting students, nor could they run tests to anticipate how the network would be impacted by increased demand. With its ability to generate actionable application and network insights, they switched to Aruba’s UXI Sensors.
Using real-time data, IT are now able to pre-empt problems rather than run around fixing them as they crop up. They can also simulate user demands, varying the number of concurrent users and the type and volume of apps to determine network performance. This has allowed them to understand the impact of NAPLAN Online ahead of the test and prepare their network to cope with the demand.
The impressive outcomes above represent just the tip of the iceberg with UXI delivering deep insight into a range of issues – from network health and performance, to applications, firewalls and DNS.
If you’re about to have hundreds of students simultaneously accessing your network for the first time, the NAPLAN coordinated practice test on March 23rd should be circled in your calendar. To help you understand if your network is truly NAPLAN-ready, get in touch to request a trial Aruba UXI Sensor.
1. The Sydney Morning Herald (2019), Kids in tears as schools go back to pen and paper after NAPLAN online fail. [Online] Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/education/kids-in-tears-as-schools-go-back-to-pen-and-paper-after-naplan-online-fail-20190515-p51nj5.html
2.ABC News (2019), NAPLAN computer glitches leave 40,000 WA school students unable to complete tests online. [Online] Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-15/naplan-test-glitches-prompt-wa-schools-to-abandon-computers/11114770
Tags: Mobility, Education, The Anywhere Classroom, Networking, Wireless Network, Wireless Infrastructure, Aruba, Next-Generation Wireless, HPE Aruba, K-12 Education, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Wi-Fi