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Education Turns to Desktop Virtualization for Increased Collaboration

October 2, 2012 at 8:54 am PST

Of course, we at Cisco are aware of how desktop virtualization benefits organizations. However, we also know that it isn’t just about desktop-only virtualization. This is why we created Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) to not only deliver desktop virtualization but also provide secure access to data, voice and video for fixed and mobile devices.

I recently read several success stories of educational institutions who turned to Cisco VXI and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) to help reduce costs and IT management overhead while increasing internal and external collaboration. Two of these case studies -- one from K-12 and one higher education -- are listed below. If you are interested in the topic, they are definitely worth the read. Read More »

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Classrooms Go Mobile to Enrich Student Learning

October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am PST

School is back in session, and from all the parents I’ve talked to, there’s been a new addition to the old school essentials list -- notebook, lunch and now,  a smartphone. We’ve reached a time where mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are entering classrooms at an accelerated rate. In fact, recent numbers in Canada showed that the back to school season is starting to rival the holiday season for buying cellphones.

In 2011, we asked nearly 3,000 college students and young professionals how fundamental they feel the Internet is. An astounding one in three respondents equated the Web’s importance with air, water, food and shelter. It’s safe to assume the younger set feels the same:  Research conducted by Project Tomorrow found that from 2009 to 2010 smartphone use for middle and high school students jumped 42 percent, so younger student are obviously adapting early expectations of anywhere, anytime online access.

If schoolchildren are using mobile devices on their own time to connect with parents and friends, it makes sense for schools to be working these devices into the learning mix, too. In fact, according to The Journal’s Mary McCaffrey, schools must go mobile to better personalize their students’ learning experiences.

Here are three ways mobile collaboration contributes to the learning environment: Read More »

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San Jose State University and the New Economics of Higher Education

Public higher education institutions in America are being squeezed with vice-like force unlike anything they’ve experienced before.  Legislatures are reducing their funding, for profit and not-for-profit competitors are proliferating and many civic and business leaders are questioning the very value of a college diploma.  University presidents and the regents or boards they serve are stuck in an “iron triangle”:  on one angle is access, their raison d’être and why their respective legislature chartered them in the first place – educate the people in our state. On the other angle is cost, which using conventional thinking rises when one provides access to the masses. The third angle is quality, which also is thought to be compromised when access – and costs – rises. What’s a university leader to do?

Invest his/her way out of the “iron triangle” and change the economics.  This is precisely what President Mohammad “Mo” Qayoumi of San Jose State University (SJSU) is doing.

Read More »

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Keeping Schools Safe in a BYOD World

It’s no secret that when schools embrace technology, students and teachers win. The introduction of digital trends, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and flipped classrooms, has engaged students and improved education. We’ve frequently referenced the success found at Katy Independent School District (KISD) with their BYOD strategy. After seeing how ingrained technology was in students’ day-to-day lives, Katy ISD launched a program that leveraged mobile devices as an educational tool. The resulting improvements in student engagement and test scores were so astounding that their strategy continues to be mirrored by schools nationwide!

However, in a BYOD world it’s even more important for schools to ensure that its infrastructure is not compromised by the mobile devices students bring into the network. IT departments are eager to implement security policies, like filtering search results and regulating network access, on all personal devices.  On top of that, schools need to continually comply with federal regulations that protect student privacy like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Thankfully for IT professionals, Cisco understands the need for a network architecture that can grow to encompass a range of security challenges. From blocking malware and illegal sharing of copyrighted material to supporting BYOD programs and federal privacy standards, Cisco’s holistic approach solves the security needs of modern schools .

It is clear that technology is revolutionizing education and it shows no signs of slowing down. For IT professionals tasked with supporting the demands of modern learning now is the time to invest.

 

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Video is a catalyst for changing distance and virtual learning

Technology is changing the way we view both distance and virtual learning; they no longer need to be solo activities in which learners struggle to make sense of a text, or watch a documentary in isolation with nobody nearby to share and interact with their interpretation or help to critique it.  One catalyst is video technologies -- in both recorded and live formats and they are transforming the way learners engage with their teachers, their peers and the world to provide for a more collaborative, informed and authentic education.  This does not preclude solitary working but, instead, offers the learner choice – choice as to whether they learn on their own or with others, either close by or at a distance. Learners choose whether to attend in person, from their home or another location via virtual classrooms or videoconference, or to catch up later by listening to a podcast or watching a video of the session – along with all the discussion, questions asked and responses given.  They add their own responses by tagging the recording and ask further questions, point to resources that refute or validate a theory a teacher has proposed, and generally catch up with, and maybe go beyond the content their teacher or external expert has presented to develop a unique understanding of the subject which they then share back with the group.

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