Wireless coverage boosted in Palo Alto schools

Google gift 'dramatically' increases coverage in classrooms throughout district

Wireless coverage in Palo Alto's public school classrooms will increase "dramatically" thanks to a recent contribution of equipment by Google, Inc., the Palo Alto Unified School District said.

Google has contributed 350 "wireless access points" and other networking hardware to the Palo Alto Unified School District, the district announced.

The access points -- spread throughout the district's 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools and single preschool campus -- "allows us to stretch our educational dollars further and deliver excellent educational technology to our students," Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.

Neither Skelly nor the district's technology director, Ann Dunkin, could be reached immediately for further comment.

Paly student Sam Greene, a rising senior, said he had heard talk about the prospect of getting wireless access on campus.

"They were talking about implementing it," Greene said today in a phone interview from Princeton University, where he is participating in a summer program.

"They said they were going to open two servers -- one for teachers and administrators that's confidential, and one that's more open for students.

"I don't use the Internet that much at Paly, but I feel like if I had it I'd use it a lot more. At Princeton we have wireless access everywhere, and it's really helpful and it allows me to learn better," he said.

Greene said he does not think many Paly students have brought their laptops to school in the past, but many do carry iPhones.

The Google contribution will more than double the number of wireless access points on the school district's network, "allowing us to expand coverage to every classroom in the district and enable our high school students to connect their personal devices to our network," Dunkin said in a statement.

"This additional equipment will help us to build a more robust infrastructure to support the growing demands on our wired and wireless networks," she said.

Skelly added, "This is particularly appreciated at this time, when the district's budget is under extreme pressure."

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Like this comment
Posted by service or hardware?
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

Is Google paying for the monthly service fees or only the hardware? The service is the bigger expense, by a large margin.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

Thanks Google. Usually the big corporations hand out freebies to the lower performing/inner city schools. It is good to see them thinking of us also.

Like this comment
Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:04 am

Hey, what about the harmful effects on the kids from the wireless
environment. The infatuation with technology comes at a price, and in this case the price may be the overall health of the students.
Constant exposure to wireless technology is not beneficial to developing brains, as current studies in Europe and Canada have revealed. I expect there to be a negative reaction to this update, because it's hard to grasp harmful effects when then are not easily detectable. Before you bark back, do some research yourself. The students are being bombarded with the harmful effects of wi-fi at home and at school, and instead of coming to terms with this, it will most likey be easier to deny it and shoot the messenger.
Fire away, but the students will still be exposed...While technology can be a wonderful thing, do we need to bombard the kids with harmful
side effects?

Like this comment
Posted by parent of gunn students
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:27 am

big al, can you please cite the studies you are referring to? where are the facts to back up you claim. i'd be very interested. do you know of some good scientific studies or are you just citing some free floating anecdotes?

Like this comment
Posted by student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:36 am

this is more good news. more wireless around campus and now it was just announced on the facebook fanpage that we got two big brand new printers for free use in the academic center. the only place where we can print all we want without being harassed.

I have an iphone and last year we could barely get reception. Now with wireless we can have access to a lot more on our phones, access stuff online. I don't think a lot of students will bring their laptops, but yes for smart phones. I did some quick research on the so called side effects of wireless and it's less than mobile phones, and it drops off fast. So, unless your head is right up against the router all day long, you're fine.

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:44 am

The negativity in the comments never ceases to amaze me.

#1: Thank you Google - that was a very nice thing you did.

#2: It's WiFi wireless coverage - so the "service charge" is just the same service charge that is already in place for existing wired connections.

#3: It's WiFi, so the FCC already has limits on the signal strength allowed from these types of devices.

Somehow this site always seems to attract people who want to find something negative in a genuinely nice gesture.

Like this comment
Posted by science
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

A big study was published recently that said all brain-numbing activity negatively impacts a child's mental development. That includes watching TV and playing video games. The study did not specifically condemn cell phones or WiFi.

I have never heard any claim that WiFi radiation is bad for you. I'm guessing that school WiFi is no more powerful than the WiFi transmitters that many people run in their homes 24 hours/day.

Like this comment
Posted by service charge?
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:51 am

How much do Palo Alto schools already pay for internet bandwidth? Will they need to increase the bandwidth substantially for this WiFi project? I'm guessing that the answer is yes since students will be using it much more often. And that the increase is not going to be cheap. Is Google paying for that, or do they want tax payers to pay?

Like this comment
Posted by parent of 3 pausd teens
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

Thanks Google for your gift to our schools!

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jul 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Thank you Google!! Your gift will go to good use!

Like this comment
Posted by G Brown
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Thank you Google

Like this comment
Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Like I said, you can lead a horse to water...
I will not do the research for you.
Check out: The Children's Wireless Protection Act.

Perhaps that'll get you started.
Don't mean to rain on the love of google,
but I will not be thanking them to soon.

There is more to the picture than meets the eye.

Like this comment
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Thanks Google! I work for Ravenswood District. Do you want to do this for us, too? It would be great! We did just recently get about 40 access points donated to us used from Portola Valley district, so that helps. But we still can't allow personal laptops on the network.

The schools already have fiber connections to the Internet, thanks to a legacy grant from the old Palo Alto Cable Co-op cable TV system. It was free, but now Comcast wants to charge big bucks to keep it up. The evil monopoly!!

Like this comment
Posted by last of the baby boom
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 15, 2010 at 8:49 am

Thank you Google -- your contribution will help the existing infrastructure greatly. Your gift is making a difference.

Parent of a Walter Hays student.

Like this comment
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

Thanks Google for letting kids cheat more than they do now....and have them check Facebook updates during class. Appreciate it......UGH

Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

Alright! Now students will have faster and easier access to Facebook/IM/etc. in class!!!
A great leap forward for education in PAUSD!

Like this comment
Posted by Brad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Big Al must work for Microsoft. Get over it Big Al

Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Good news for Facebook, Farmville, Facetime, etc.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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