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Technology and its Power to Transform Society – Where do you Stand?

Educators are using technologies like Cisco Webex to deliver anytime, anywhere learning, bring experts from across the country and the globe into their classrooms, and provide ubiquitous access to an astounding amount of resources on the Internet.

Now, educators, along with their students across the country, are using it to have conversations that transform society.  Today, at 12pm Eastern Standard Time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, students from nearly every region in the nation, with a broad spectrum of socio-economic and racial backgrounds, will use Cisco WebEx to participate in a discussion on civil rights issues.  This event is being led and facilitated by the Rochester School District in cooperation with districts from across the country. Read More »

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In Education, The Internet of Everything is Really a Thing

When talking about whether or not something is important in modern-day life, my Millennial sons often ask, “Is that really a thing?”  For example, renting a dog on Craigslist, is that a thing?

I’m here to tell you that the Internet of Everything (IoE) is really a thing in Education, and the use cases for IoE are bound only by our imaginations.  Imagine facial-recognition software for online courses that will be able to monitor and determine student engagement and provide that feedback to teachers.

Andrew Barbour in his eCampus News article, “How to prepare for everything,” discusses in great detail how the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything is helping colleges and universities to decrease costs, increase efficiency, and improve student outcomes.

Barbour explores the importance of creating the right foundation to support the Internet of Everything, which is the integration of people, process, data, and things to make things intelligent.  And, he shows that IoE is already here.  Read the full story here.

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Transforming Education with the Internet of Everything at San Jose State

Forward-thinking faculty members and staff at San Jose State University are using Internet of Everything technologies in innovative ways to transform education:

Project Assistant Quyen Grant is using Cisco collaboration technologies to expand learning across international borders, working with students and universities in Vietnam through the Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP); Advertising Professor John Delacruz is using Cisco TelePresence for his students to deliver final presentations to potential advertising clients who may be in remote locations. Julia Curry-Rodriguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, uses Cisco Lecture Capture to help non-native English speaking students improve their language skills.

These are just a few of the examples we learned about on December 10, 2014 at San Jose State University as they hosted global media, analysts, social media influencers, and Cisco for a series of roundtables that addressed how the Internet of Everything is impacting industries including education and the public and private sectors. Read More »

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Building a Stronger World Through the Power of Giving

Here in Silicon Valley and many towns across the globe, it’s that time of year. The time of year when we’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends. It’s also the time of year when we turn our attention to giving back to those who are less fortunate.

This season, I want to direct the focus to just a few of the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners and non-profits who work tirelessly to give back all year long. These connections are what make the CSR work we do possible. Our partners give us the ability to scale our efforts and create exponential social, environmental, and business impact.

One of our CSR focus areas is education. As the world becomes more connected, new career growth and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are more plentiful than ever. Yet the majority of U.S. students lack foundational skills in STEM. MIND Research Institute set out to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. By developing the game-based Spatial Temporal (ST) Math instructional software program, MIND Research Institute is revolutionizing math education through visual learning. Amazingly, schools that fully implement ST Math see double, and even triple, the growth in math proficiency than comparable schools. Cisco has partnered with MIND Research Institute for over a decade now, helping the organization scale delivery and access to ST Math by transitioning the software to a web-based platform. I’m extremely proud that this work and investment has increased access from 55,000 students in 2007 to more than 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 40 states, and is helping develop the workforce of the future. Read More »

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E-rate Modernization: It Just Goes to Show…

…what we can do as a nation to solve what appear to be some of the most insurmountable problems in the world, such as access to the Internet for students in schools across the county.  Astoundingly, 68% of all school districts (73% of rural districts) say that not a single school in their district can meet high-speed connectivity targets today.  And yet, the FCC’s E-rate Modernization Program is making great strides to successful addressing this problem today.

For an additional $1.90 per phone line subscriber per year, up 16 cents from 99 cents per phone line per month, we will be able to deliver Wi-Fi to an additional 10 million students.  This is less than the cost of a medium soda, and certainly less than the cost of a latte, and this is per year.  As a nation, less than $2 per year can provide what many of us take for granted, access to the Internet.

Yesterday’s announcement of a draft plan by FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler  to increase the E-rate fund by $1.5B annually is welcome news for schools struggling to provide access to students.  If approved, this means that the overall E-rate cap will increase from $2.4B to $3.9B, and it will include a series of targeted policy changes to enhance options available for schools and libraries to purchase affordable high-speed broadband.

Our chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, said in a statement yesterday, “This proposal, if adopted, will breathe new life into the program and will help our children and grandchildren prepare for an ‘Internet of Everything’ future where technology is integrated into all aspects of work, life, and education.”

In total, the program improvements will target an additional $5B for Wi-Fi over the next five years, which is sufficient to expand Wi-Fi networks in all schools and libraries. The effort will potentially provide a 75% increase in Wi-Fi funding for rural schools over the next five years and a 60 percent increase for urban schools, delivering Wi-Fi to an additional 10 million students in 2015 alone.

It just goes to show that, together, we can make a difference.  We can provide access, and we can prepare our students for the future.

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