Canadians Love Hockey – Pushing Technology to the Limits



I attended a conference last fall and I believe it was Jamie Casap who said in a presentation I attended that “wifi is the new electricity.”  Take away wifi connectivity and you might as well be turning the lights out.  People will lose there mind over loss of connectivity.  As system Superintendent of IT in my board I know this all to well.  We have had a huge initiative where we have rolled out Technology with training to teachers and classrooms across our system.  The Initiative has been amazing in terms of scope and potential to change classroom practice.  It has hastened our adoption of BYOD in the board and has improved teacher collaboration around instructional practice.  What it also has done is made us even more reliant on wifi and internet bandwidth and subject to criticism on an ongoing basis.  Our board is a medium sized board with a large number of rural schools as well as some small city schools.  On any give day our bandwidth is pushed to the max and we are challenged to even upgrade in some areas because of limitations outside of our system,  We have already twice increased our total Mps from 100 Mps to now a wapping 500 Mps and we may have to add more again.

Anyway, where I am going with all this is the past few weeks we have had Olympic fever here in Canada.  Of course the favourite is you guessed it HOCKEY .  Go into any school on the day Canada women or men are playing and you will find everyone streaming the games over divides.  When Canada played US in woman’s round robin hockey (BTW Canada won : ) ) our wifi is swamped and slowed to a crawl.  In nearby Toronto District School Board (Toronto star article here) it was so bad they shut off streaming and in Halton region the cities wifi system crashed under the load of Hockey fans.  Our director John Forbeck had a great metaphor to explain it.  He said,

“we have 1500 classrooms (not including, libraries, gyms, work rooms, offices) with many computers in each location trying to stream the games at the same time. It is like trying to pull all the water in Lake Erie through the Welland canal at once.”

So now we are looking at a rematch for gold on Thursday at noon between Canada and USA for Woman’s Hockey Gold.  Canada has won the past two Olympic matches for gold bragging rights and may be in line for a repeat.  Brace yourself students and teachers because you are not likely going to get much done online between 12 and 3 pm.  I will cross my fingers that it we can hold the network together for Gold.  Go Canada Go!!


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