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A Six-Part Series: Transforming Higher Education in the US – Recommendations – Part 6

Education Telepresence

This six-part series focuses on transformation of the traditional higher education system in the United States.  Read parts 1 through 5 on the Cisco Education Blog.

Part 1: The Need for Change

Part 2: Shared Challenges

Part 3: Navigating Culture

Part 4: Modernizing Teaching and Learning

Part 5: Scaling Best Practices

Educators share a common crisis in the delivery of higher learning.  They suffer many of the same challenges, with regard to access to quality educational experiences, the need to replace outdated teaching methodologies, and the imperative to prepare students to become part of the workforce of the future.

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Innovation is Standard at Idaho Education Network

For the last four or five years, I’ve watched as the Idaho Education Network (IEN) has implemented and reaped the benefits from their distance education program and use of video conferencing, or telepresence. To this day, they continue to improve on success, and during a session at ISTE 2013 last week, Brady Kraft and his team once again illustrated how they consistently stay on top of their game.

Brady Kraft, IEN, presents at ISTE 2013

Brady Kraft, IEN’s Technical Director, presents at ISTE 2013

IEN is a statewide network that connects every school in the state, including higher education institutions, Internet2, private and public training providers, and first responder training organizations.

One of their mandated goals is to provide equal access to a quality education for all citizens and they’re utilizing technology to achieve that goal. As the 7th  most rural state in the nation, half of the counties in Idaho have less than 10 people per square mile, and 75% of Idaho’s schools have < 600 students. These schools havenot been able to offer a full curriculumdue to many factors, including availability of qualified teachers and budgetary restraints. Read More »

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City of Melrose, Mass. Takes to the Cloud

Melrose wanted to maintain an active, innovative network that was efficient and made sense from a financial standpoint. The city chose the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with FlexPod as the underlying technology to provide IT services to 18 sites within the city, including a variety of agencies such as the public school system and the police and fire departments.

The Melrose school district, for example, has about 1,300 computers spread across seven buildings, which requires a lot of networking infrastructure and the capability to meet many, diverse demands. The school system in Melrose is a particular source of pride for the city. In fact, Melrose High School was recently ranked among the 1,000 best public high schools in the nation by Newsweek. Thus, it was important for the city to meet expectations and future demand with technology that would help continue the tradition of educational excellence.

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Emerging SDN Skills and the Cisco Approach

The Software Defined Networking (SDN) market evolution is having a major effect on networking job roles. New careers in IT are being built, focusing more on complex services and architectures rather than systems.

A recent survey by Cisco found that 71 percent of IT professionals intend on using SDN technology this year for a number of reasons, ranging from creating more programmable networks to simply reducing costs.

With these shifts in mind, new talent needs arise for IT professionals to accommodate evolving industry job roles.

Through the years, market transitions and technology disruptions have introduced IT knowledge gaps. Knowledge of networking fundamentals is no longer enough. Now, network professionals must understand networking systems with integrated security, wireless and voice capabilities. Cisco is leading the charge to provide direction and proper learning paths and resources to help address these challenges.

Listening to our community, we’ve determined new skills and job roles require a deeper understanding of deployments and troubleshooting of SDN architectures, as well as familiarity with SDN specific troubleshooting tools.

Just as we have been all along, Learning@Cisco is investing heavily in creating education and certifications programs to help our community evolve skills in order to continue to be the driving force of innovation in networking.

Watch below as I discuss Learning@Cisco’s efforts around SDN further.

Stay tuned for future updates to our certification and education program at:

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The Next Generation of the Internet

We’re moving quickly into the next phase of the Internet, and that space is being created by the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI), sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Open and broadly inclusive, the GENI research project is designing an updated replacement for the current Internet. A new frontier would include faster data speeds, new approaches to network security, and a wide range of new features and functionality. And because it’s open, this virtual laboratory offers opportunities for researchers to test new network strategies at scale, without disrupting Internet traffic. By taking “virtual slices” (entire virtual networks running on the same physical infrastructure), many different versions of a new Internet can operate in parallel.

So how are engineers playing in this digital sandbox?

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