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Awards Abound for WTAMU and CIO James Webb

West Texas A&M University was recently named in the U.S. News and World Report Top 20 for both Technology and Student Services, while WTAMU CIO James Webb was recently named to ComputerWorld’s 2012 Premier 100 IT Leaders list. This program will honor the top 100 IT and business leaders that have shown exceptional leadership and innovation in IT strategy and planning at a conference to be held in Phoenix, AZ in March 2012.

WTAMU has deployed multiple Cisco Enterprise Video technologies, including digital signage, physical security and media experience engine.

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Interactive Video Transforming Teaching and Learning

Cisco recently hosted two customer roundtable discussions on the topic of “interactive video and how is being used in teaching and learning” for K-12 and higher education. There has been much interest in the benefits of using video in teaching and learning,  and as schools, colleges and universities are adopting it more broadly to expand curriculum options,  we are seeing a positive impact on student outcomes. K12 moderator, Alan November, discusses how the  “flipped classroom” model is improving student test scores and the role of video technology as a key enabler.

It’s well worth your time to listen to these very interesting discussions and best practices sharing with our panelists:

  • K-12 Schools: Dr. Susan Holliday, Education Technology Director, Capistrano Unified School District, and Matt Grose, Deer River Public Schools, hosted by Alan November, November Learning
  • Higher Education: Link Alexander, Vice Chancellor Technology Services, Lone Star College System, and James Web, CIO, West Texas A& M University, hosted by John Halpin, Center for Digital Education
  • Cisco Director of Engineering, Chris Barwick, discusses Cisco Lecture Vision and  state-of-the-art technologies available from Cisco to capture, transform and share class lectures

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Telepresence Can Build Bridges Between Young Learners

February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am PST

Two classes of New Jersey middle school students recently enjoyed a unique opportunity for exchange with their peers. From neighboring towns, the eighth graders live worlds away from each other demographically—one town is largely affluent and white, while the other is mostly low income with a predominately black and Hispanic population. Each class studied John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and they visited each other’s schools to discuss perceptions of the novel.

As reported in The New York Times, the students at both middle schools found the interaction with their counterparts eye-opening and rewarding, both in terms of literary analysis and cultural understanding. The ability to see the text—and life—from a different perspective fostered a rich educational experience.

With telepresence and other collaborative technologies, students are able to mimic the exchange in which the New Jersey youth participated, except they could share ideas with and experience the cultures of peers not only across town boundaries, but also across state lines and country borders. Telepresence enables a real-time, high-definition connection that allows for a quality of conversation comparable to in-person interaction, creating a unified classroom across geographies. The telepresence set-up establishes an environment that feels inclusive and intimate—the students would feel as though they had traveled to each other’s schools. They could see the detail in each other’s settings, in clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and other aesthetics that make up parts of a culture. Read More »

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What Really Matters in K-12 Teaching and Learning? “Getting Beyond Folklore”

Over the past 40 years in the U.S., our student to teacher ratio has dropped from 22:1 to 17:1. Our teachers are better educated than ever – fully 62% today own a Masters degree, compared with only 23% in 1971. And we continue to spend – our nation’s investment in K-12 places us 4th in the world at $11,000 per student, trailing only Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Norway.

So, what’s happened to our reading and math test scores over these past four decades? Virtually flat.

Why is this?

Roland Fryer, the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard, would argue it’s due in part to the fact we really do not know what the problems are. His view: “it’s time to apply some science to the problem of student achievement in our schools.”

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Could Grade-Schoolers Develop Cutting Edge Mobile Video Technology?

January 30, 2012 at 10:48 am PST

A while back, we asked what features you think would make up a good video collaboration app for smartphones and mobile devices.

Do you have your list?

If so, you should submit it to this team of primary school students in Sutton Coldfield, England. The youngsters take part in an after school computer club, during which they design apps for smartphones and tablets. They’ve already come up with sound effects and “painting” programs; could video be next? Read More »

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