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Looking back, moving forward

London 2012 is here, schools are out and I’m reflecting on the successes of a very popular Games initiative. Cisco’s promotion of STEM skills – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – has just reached a fantastic conclusion with lots to celebrate.

Two years ago, we set out to use the Games to focus and sharpen young people’s STEM skills. We wanted to inspire budding scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and tomorrow’s big thing. We knew students seeking to further their studies in STEM-based subjects could be boosted with a little imagination and creative thinking – plus some incentives. The debate continues, as the BBC reports a call for immediate action to boost student numbers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

What we achieved together

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The Flipped Classroom – Education Transformation With Video

Video is not new in education. However, we continue to see innovative educators evolve their practice with new applications of video enabled teaching and learning. The Flipped Classroom is one of the hottest trends in education today and an example of how video technologies can serve as a catalyst for education transformation.

We spoke with Flipped Classroom creators, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams at ISTE 2012. Listen as they discuss the benefits of the Flipped Classroom and offer tips to help you begin to flip your class.

Jon and Aaron’s sessions in the Cisco Connected Classroom at ISTE 2012, were jam-packed. If you were not able to take in these sessions at ISTE, you’re in luck! We recorded the sessions and are pleased to make them available.

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Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

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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