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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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Flipped Classroom Transforms Personal Learning

The Flipped Classroom continues to enlist tech-savvy teachers as evangelists, and technologies that support them continue to evolve.   At this year’s ISTE conference, Cisco caught up with Flipped Classroom pioneers, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams to discuss one of the hottest trends in education.

In the video below, Jonathan and Aaron discuss how the Flipped Classroom model transforms the entire classroom dynamic through conversation rather than dissemination of knowledge. Jonathan suggests one of the greatest benefits of flipping is that overall interaction increases: Teacher to student and student to student. With more than 67 percent of educators reporting that this model has improved student test scores by 67 percent it’s no wonder that this is being rapidly adopted.

Looking for more Flipped Classroom colleagues to connect with or model? Check out the People of Flipped Learning for a list of educators practicing, and blogging about their flipped experience.

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Grant Resources for Education Technology Innovation

The Huffington Post recently reported on the status of education funding in the U.S. The news was not good. According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than half of U.S. states will cut education budgets this year.

In this resource-constrained environment, taking advantage of grant resources for education technology innovation is critically important. Cisco is teaming with the Grants Office, LLC, to deliver a series of free webcasts to provide information, insights and tips on grant funding for U.S. education. Webcast topics will cover an important range of grant opportunities. Click on the links below for additional information on the grant programs covered in each session.

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Mobility: Why Access Matters…

For nearly everything that I do in college, I need access to the Internet: classes, studying, meetings, and, discussions. In class, I access lecture documents on Blackboard. In meetings, I review and send emails. Studying, I research topics online and download information from the library. Essentially, I’m connected to the network constantly, and to be successful, I have to have the ability to connect any time, from anywhere, on any one of my several devices.

As most CIO’s and IT professionals would agree, building a scalable and robust network is a thankless and daunting task. It’s even more difficult in colleges and universities, where enabling tens of thousands of students to quickly and safely access the network is a critical imperative.  And if the equipment is unreliable, access is compromised.  When this happens, the institution faces difficultly in implementing online teaching initiatives, costs can increase and ultimately, there may be a productivity decrease. Additionally, faculty and students can become disgruntled and unmotivated as a result of network complications.

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Stay Connected!

As Hurricane Isaac is about to make landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States, I can’t stop thinking about Hurricane Andrew, who hit my hometown in Miami, Florida back on August 24, 1992.  Hurricane Andrew, the third costliest hurricane, costing over $26 billion, hit our neighboring city of Homestead, Florida the hardest.

The morning of August 24th, around 3am, I will always remember very clearly.  The winds were howling so loud it woke me up.  The sky was bloody red.  It looked and sounded like a really horrible scary movie.  To this day, I can never watch horror movies.

The days that followed were some of the toughest I had experienced.  My colleague Mark Rogers’ put it well in his blog he shared “Conditions were terrible”.  Looking at the devastation of Hurricane Andrew to our State, our neighbors, our home, what was in front of me was pure sadness.  After many, many weeks, school was able to resume in trailers.  On the first day back, not all of my friends returned.  I heard some decided to move away permanently while others were not ready to return.  I remembered my homeroom teacher telling us to stay connected. Read More »

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