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Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm PST

Ah, the excitement and power of the Olympic Games – and what an inspiration it is to young athletes and students! Watching the coverage of the lead-up to London 2012, I can’t help but contemplate the potential impact of collaborative technology on not only the games themselves, but those participating in and watching the games.

For those who know me, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a big wrestling fan. My husband is an accomplished wrestler and head high school wrestling coach here in Allen, TX, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact the sport has had on the lives of young men and women. Unfortunately, in the U.S., wrestling is somewhat of a second tier sport in the mainstream sports world. So, when the Olympics come around, excitement builds for wrestling fans as we prepare to watch the wrestlers we have admired for so many years get a spotlight on the global Olympic stage.

With my experience in the videoconferencing industry and my underlying passion for the sport of wrestling, I was especially intrigued last year when I heard about the organization called Classroom Champions. They connect students in high-need schools with top performing athletes in order to motivate them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. Read More »

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Dr. Mark Edwards Talk On Student Achievement Gains at Mooresville GSD

For a shining example of public education in the United States, watch the talk that Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, gave at the recent ISTE Conference in San Diego. Yes, Mooresville is a Cisco customer, and yes, how they have used technology to improve student outcomes is big part of their success story (Dr. Edwards has the metrics to prove it). But the real key to their effectiveness as a high-performing public school is the holistic approach they take to educating “every child, every day”, their “can do” attitude, and “culture of caring” that Mark and his team have created at Mooresville.

Watch the video of Dr. Edward’s ISTE presentation — it runs just under an hour and is well worth your time.

Most exciting to me is that  so much of Mooresville’s approach is replicable.  Dr. Edwards is writing a book and I hope every educator, and prospective educator in the country buys a copy.

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Virtualization: Enabling Availability and Efficiency in Higher Education

Imagine a school where computer labs are obsolete. Imagine if every student had their own personalized workspace, without having to rely on their school’s computers. Imagine if schools or colleges could avoid upgrading, maintaining, and housing thousands of computer units; network administrators could update programs and information available on every student’s device with the click of a button, and students could use their personalized desktops at anytime from anywhere. Many institutions around the world are beginning to embrace technologies that transform this dream into a reality, and often times, this transformation is one made out of necessity.

I’m currently third year student at the University of Oregon and a Cisco intern. I support Cisco’s Education Marketing Team. While at Cisco, I’ve been able to observe many forward-thinking higher education institutions and compare their initiatives to my own education experiences. The following passage notes the successes had by two higher education institutions when implementing virtualization programs into their IT systems.

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Southern Colorado University Extends Courses to Rural Areas, Keeps Nurses Local

July 19, 2012 at 4:00 am PST

With growing concern about the education systems in rural areas, rural schools have recently captured the attention of the federal government, which has redoubled its efforts to improve education in these areas. Fortunately, we’ve seen a number of efforts being made across the country to look for ways to address this issue. One of my favorite examples right now is the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

While the university provides other education programs, its main focus is the nursing program, which was suffering from the lack of geographical reach of UCCS’ courses. UCCS recognized the potential to harness collaboration tools to build out its distance education program, reach more nursing students and keep rural nursing students working in their local communities. Read More »

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Three Ways a Free WebEx Basic Account Can Help Kids Learn

The new WebEx Meetings is here and with it comes a free basic account that anyone can get and use. We invite educators to get their own account and start using it in the classroom. Here are three ideas to get things started -- and we have more here. We’d also love to hear your ideas. Please comment on this blog!

Interview an Expert

Use WebEx to bring an “expert” into your classroom. Distance or location is no longer a barrier. Use the video conference capabilities of WebEx to take your students into studios, laboratories or even into the field! All the other person needs is an Internet connection and a webcam to broadcast from wherever they are. They could even engage with you via their iPad or iPhone or Android. Anyone can get the mobile application at no cost.

Classroom Connect

Share your classroom with another classroom! You can aim your webcam at your students and have your partner aim the camera at his or her classroom and away you go. This is a great way to demonstrate to the students that they are similar and different from students in another location. You can also use desktop sharing Read More »

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