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e-Learning Technology: Promoting Creativity and Collaboration… On a Budget

January 27, 2012 at 10:49 am PST

When speaking with our customers and prospects in the K-12 community, we hear time and again that budget restrictions are a daily reality.

At the same time, these educators fully understand that in order to prepare the next generation for success in the 21st century economy, a “mixed” learning environment (where new, innovative technologies are incorporated into more traditional curriculum) helps to better engage students and improve academic performance.

From the boardroom to the barroom, American citizens, including President Obama, instinctively know that our K-12 public education system needs to be invigorated. From the President’s State of the Union address this week:

Give [schools] the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test.

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BYOD or 1:1 Computing in K-12? The CTO’s Weigh In…

Significant technology developments continue to hit the USA K-12 market.

With Apple’s digital textbook announcement last week, we are now likely to see more acceleration of the spread of new student devices. Is this major announcement by the company that rapidly transformed computing, music and mobility the boost schools need to drive toward the promise of digital technology for all students? And what’s the resulting impact on device and computing trends in K-12?

On the topic of devices, we asked two of our leading K-12 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) customers to give us their opinions. BYOD? 1:1? What’s the better course to pursue? The answer would make Nike proud. While both noted device and equity issues one way or another, all said simply” “Just do it!”. What’s even more interesting – it wasn’t actually all about the device.

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Flipping the Classroom – Is it Really all About Technology?

January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am PST

Los Gatos High School, located in Los Gatos, California, recently switched to block scheduling, effectively decreasing the number of school days by 15 a year.  For science teacher, Steve Hammack, what began as a way to provide students with the lecture content they would necessarily need to pass his courses in the face of a decreased number of school days, has ended up as a new model for students to learn massive amounts of information for his AP Biology and Physics classes.  For a technology fan who spends her days at Cisco Systems focused on educators who are using technology to improve learning outcomes, I was intrigued.

I quickly became aware of Mr. Hammack’s approach when I walked into my teenage son’s bedraggled bedroom and heard a familiar voice emanating from the direction of his PC.  It sounded like someone I’d met at back-to-school night.  My son, Joe, a senior at Los Gatos, was reclined in his chair, feet up on his bed, notebook on his lap, busily listening to the voice and taking copious notes.  As I entered his room, Joe clicked a pause button and asked, “What’s up?”  “What’s up with you?  What are you doing?”  He pointed to his screen and said, “Listening to my biology lecture for Mr. Hammack’s class.  We do this every night, then we have a quiz or test every day when we come into class.” Interested, I said, “Tell me more.  Do you like it?”

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Properly Placed Telepresence a Must-Have in Higher Ed

January 19, 2012 at 6:54 am PST

We’ve seen telepresence take off in higher education programs, as we shared in a post on how the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business uses the technology to connect its students with executives across the world.

As more and more universities, including Duke in North Carolina, Madison College in Wisconsin, and Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania join the ranks of schools with fully equipped telepresence classrooms, it’s exciting to think of how these institutions are forging global scholarly dialogues and worldwide collaboration.

Witnessing the power of video to connect the academic world made me especially appreciative of a recent informative story in University Business. Writer Kristen Domonell details the importance of installing telepresence equipment in fully operational telepresence rooms in order for higher ed students to realize the benefits of the video technology. Read More »

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Reflections from the Education World Forum

The Education World Forum meeting in London last week felt different from previous years.

In recent times the presiding genius has been the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. The main plot line has been how the best education countries in the world – Finland, Canada, and Singapore – can go to the next level. The sub plot has been the route they should take, and whether they should shift toward equipping their students with higher order capabilities, to restore their national economies’ innovative edge.

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