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Can Technology Bring Authenticity to Learning?

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post ImpactX.

Last week I wrote about collaboration for the Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship -- specifically about how, despite the prevalence of technology, human interactions and relationships are at the heart of successful collaboration.

In that post, I said technology enables collaboration and innovation to happen on a global scale. And, that a technology infrastructure that supports collaboration can accelerate time to impact for any nonprofit, social entrepreneur, or business.

While at Skoll, I participated in a session that brought both of these elements — people and technology — together and underscored the potential we have to make a bigger and more meaningful impact when they are combined.

The session, “Blended Learning: The Proof and the Promise,” gave us a glimpse of what the classroom of the future might look like: students working at a self-paced rate and getting feedback as they progress, education being personalized, the use of gaming and simulation technologies. Imagine kids who are interested and engaged, excited to be in school, their creativity being nurtured, not squelched.

In the session, the panel debated whether the use of technology can radically improve educational quality and access globally. I believe it can, because Cisco has used this blended learning model successfully for years to deliver its Networking Academy curriculum to 4.25 million people in 165 countries.

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Cisco Employees To Be Among 1 Million STEM Mentors By 2020

Today, Cisco’s Patrick Finn, Senior Vice President, Public Sector, joined U.S. President Barack Obama and 9 other leading U.S. technology companies and education nonprofits to launch US2020 at the White House Science Fair.

US2020 is an all-hands-on-deck initiative that aims to connect more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals to students from kindergarten through college.

As part of the US2020 initiative, Cisco will utilize the expertise of its workforce and culture of giving back, with the goal of having 20 percent or more of employees volunteering at least 20 hours a year as STEM mentors by the year 2020.

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Sky Is the Limit for Imagination at This Year’s Tech Challenge: Asteroids Rock!

As we settle into spring, I’m anticipating an exciting annual event — The Tech Challenge at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.  This is an amazing program that brings together thousands of students and gives them a chance to flex their engineering muscles.

In its 26th year, The Tech Challenge continues the mission to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education with the “Asteroids Rock!” project. In this year’s scenario, an unmanned spacecraft launched from Earth and landed on an asteroid. From there, it must transport 3 packages of delicate testing instruments to specified locations. The students must tackle this challenge with creativity and ingenuity.

asteroid

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Visual Approach Helps Students Learn Math

April 15, 2013 at 10:21 am PST

The importance of improving math education is increasingly urgent. America ranks 25 out of 34 industrialized nations on math tests. Tomorrow’s jobs -- more than 8 million by 2018 -- will require skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Cisco supports an organization, MIND Research Institute, that is using an innovative approach to improving math skills. MIND’s program presents math problems visually, which can show students why their answers are right, as well as why their answers are sometimes wrong. As students move through the math games at their own pace, they receive immediate, informative feedback on each interaction.

Today, about half a million children in 30 states are learning math with the Spatial Temporal Math program, or ST Math. MIND reports that on average, schools implementing ST Math improve their math proficiency as measured by their respective state-mandated tests, at two or three times the rate of their peers.

A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

Cisco support has enabled MIND to, among other things, pilot ST Math with more than 4000 students at 14 schools in Arizona and convert ST Math to an online platform, which expanded the program’s reach from 55,000 students to nearly 500,000, an 800 percent increase, in 5 years.

Read more about the ST Math Program in a Huffington Post blog by MIND Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer Matthew Peterson.

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Winners of 2013 DoGooder Video Awards Announced

April 12, 2013 at 6:02 am PST

Today, four videos that were created to inspire social change were named the winners of the seventh annual DoGooder Video Awards.

The DoGooder Video Awards recognize the creative and effective use of video in promoting social good. The awards are organized by See3 Communications, the Nonprofit Technology Network, and YouTube. The winners were announced today at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the sponsor of the DoGooder Video Awards, Cisco will provide a US$3500 cash prize to each of the following winners:

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