All-Optical Networks Light up the Future of Education in Pei County
In early February 2022, Shi Weirui, principal of Lulou Town Central Primary School in Pei County (Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province), gave his students a very "special" class. Even though Mr. Shi had been teaching and using the same materials for many years, he still felt a tinge of excitement and nervousness as he stood in front of the podium. Because this time, his audience was more than just his students. They were none other than the science teachers from other primary schools in the town, who were listening intently online from their own classrooms. It's amazing how such a tiny classroom could bring together more than 150 students and teachers from four schools.
What made this special class possible is the innovative interaction platform that Huawei and its partners built based on the all-optical network. It unites Gefeng Primary School, Lulou Town Central Primary School, and three village primary schools to facilitate educational exchanges and promote inter-school interaction, teacher-student interaction, and student-student interaction, ultimately forming a "1+1+3" urban-rural paired support model. Evidently, convergence, sharing, unity, and mutual help come more naturally thanks to the application of this technology.
To capitalize on popular online classes from these province and urban-rural paired interactive classrooms, the Pei County Education Bureau has established innovative "three classrooms" urban-rural interaction model based on the all-optical network with the support from Xuzhou Education Bureau. The "1+1+3" teacher-student online learning community consists of Gefeng Primary School, Lulou Town Central Primary School (both premium schools in the urban area), and three primary schools in remote rural areas of the town (Caiji Primary School, Tuanjie Primary School, and Fengji Primary School).
Gefeng Primary School serves as ground zero, providing the teachers and students of Lulou Town Central Primary School with a cross-school and cross-regional simultaneous webinar model. Based on the Huawei IdeaHub, video system for remote teaching and research, and class preparation cloud platform, it conducts centralized online class preparation, themed webinars, and allows students and faculty staff to observe popular classes with other schools, thereby building an online community for research and study. The Lulou Town Central Primary School, as the lecturer unit, is driving the reconstruction of teaching organization models of the other three rural primary schools. It coordinates teacher resource allocation and unifies assessment standards within the same township. Specifically:
1) Adapt to smart classroom requirements based on the Huawei e-blackboard: Huawei's education board allows teachers to write as they would normally do on traditional blackboards, and enables students to obtain the electronic version of the writings. It features a clean and stylish appearance, and supports Q&A sessions at any time.
2) The management platform supports audio and video interactions, including the sharing of blackboard writing, course scheduling management, device management, resource management, interaction management, and data analysis. Schools can arrange interactive courses for the whole semester in advance. Teachers can click Class and Record when they enter the classroom at the specified time, so that the teaching results can be shared online in real-time.
3) Main classrooms: Located in Gefeng Primary School and Lulou Town Central Primary School. They not only broadcast the lecturer's image, but also record images of the students learning and the writings on the education board. Meanwhile, through the TV, the lecturer can also learn about what's going on in the remote classrooms in real-time, and answer any questions that the students may raise.
4) Remote classrooms: Located in Fengji Primary School, Tuanjie Primary School, and Caiji Primary School. Through the interactive teaching terminals, students can see the courseware currently displayed on the education board in the main classroom, and they can also see images of the lecturer through the TV. In addition, Huawei's intelligent HD cameras with optimal view ensure that students' images are promptly transmitted to the main classroom, eliminating distance limitations.
Through the exploration of the "three classrooms" model, the Pei County Education Bureau has built a bridge between the five schools to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas. The five schools have built a routine interaction model of synchronous preparation, synchronous classes, synchronous research, and synchronous evaluation, forming a community of teaching resources.
In 2021, the Xuzhou Education Bureau issued the "Guidelines on the Construction of Passive Optical Networks for Primary and Secondary Schools". This document proposes a set of standards on stable, efficient, and moderately advanced all-optical campus networks, which will ensure secure, high-speed, and reliable campus networks for primary and secondary schools.
With the support of the municipal education bureau, the Pei County Education Bureau completed the construction of the County Education MAN 2.0. On this basis, it has already upgraded and reconstructed the campus networks of several schools, and used all-optical network devices to support the implementation of the "1+1+3" model, paving the way for the future construction of regional all-optical network systems.
Compared with previous teaching methods, the urban-rural interactive model requires real-time online interactions among schools in different places, which raises new challenges for campus network construction. The F5G gigabit optical network (passive all-optical network) functions as the bearer network to integrate new smart classroom applications. The campus backbone network adopts 10GE links to achieve 10GE backbone and gigabit access on campus. Gigabit access links are used to cover systems such as teaching, management, campus security, campus broadcast, and wireless networks, building a secure, reliable, efficient, and energy-saving campus network. In the meantime, thanks to the natural technical advantages of GPON, the passive all-optical network successfully eliminates the occurrence of frame freezing and packet loss, ensuring the access quality for remote classrooms to the highest degree.
Compared with conventional solutions, Huawei FTTO solution not only complies with Xuzhou's standards for primary and secondary school campus network construction and strict requirements of the "three classrooms" construction, but also consolidates the foundation of campus network construction with advantages such as leading architecture, security and reliability, converged bearer, wide coverage, energy conservation, and easy maintenance. In addition, it supports flexible upgrades for the next decade, and satisfies the requirements of school administrators, teachers, students, and network O&M personnel, safeguarding the continuous upgrade and development of smart classroom applications.
In the new smart education model that the Xuzhou Education Bureau explored together with Huawei, campus networks will be all-optical, and the Huawei IdeaHub opens up new possibilities for students to obtain knowledge. Convergence, sharing, unity, and mutual help come more naturally thanks to this type of technology.
Through the construction of "three classrooms" in Pei County, teachers and students from different schools are closer to each other than ever. Remote training, collaborative class preparation, and online tutoring have broken through geographical constraints. High-quality teaching resources are no longer scarce, as they can now be exchanged and shared among different schools. All-optical networks are creating a brighter, more prosperous future for the children of Pei County.