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Telepresence Key to Boosting the Nation’s Science and Math IQ

January 11, 2012 at 7:46 am PST

Though it’s wonderful to read about recent positive trends, there’s no question that the jobless rate has caused concern for some time now. Did you know, however, that in some sectors there are consistently more job openings than there are qualified candidates?

According to a U.S. News blog post by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a New Jersey-based charter school founder, fields including computer science, environmental science, medicine, and engineering all need trained professionals. The problem, Bonilla-Santiago says, is that America’s schools don’t provide adequate training in the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—so there aren’t enough prepared people for the available jobs.

Part of the issue, Bonilla-Santiago suggests, is that teachers do not have adequate training in the sciences to effectively teach these subjects. Congress considered solutions that would bring more qualified instructors into the classroom, including encouraging STEM professionals to transition from their industry jobs to teaching positions. But wouldn’t this shift just exacerbate the current vacancy rates in the STEM fields? Read More »

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Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills at the Education World Forum in London

January 10, 2012 at 10:56 am PST

This week the ATC21S consortium is in London for the 2012 Education World Forum (EWF). The EWF, held once per year, is a prestigious global summit for education ministers. This event brings government representatives, industry leaders, and major organizations from more than 60 countries together and provides a forum for rich discussion on current issues, cutting-edge advancements, and the most important needs in education at the local, national, international, and global scale.

Day one of the EWF kicked off with welcome messages from international luminaries, followed by two plenary sessions with involvement from key ATC21S members.

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No Bus Needed: Telepresence connects students, cultures

January 3, 2012 at 8:39 am PST

Reading about the Bus funding crisis in California has ignited a number of discussions around how collaboration technologies could be used to soften some of the impact of losing the busing funds. We’ve talked here numerous times about how telepresence is being used to take students on field trips and connect them to new learning experiences, without the necessity of travel.

Field trips are often times students’ favorite memories from school. Who doesn’t love getting to leave the classroom for the day and explore what they’re learning hands-on? Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can prevent a good field trip experience in today’s educational environment – whether it’s the school’s rural location or the ever-decreasing school budgets. Read More »

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FCC Decision Opens the Door for Rural Broadband Access

December 13, 2011 at 6:37 am PST

I heard an NPR story the other day about the FCC‘s recent ruling that diverts monthly fees from rural telephone service to rural broadband service. The “Universal Service Fund” or something similar has been around since the early 20th century, charging a small fee on our phone bills to subsidize phone service for rural areas and the poor.

The newly minted “Connect America Fund” now allocates this money for mobile telephone and broadband in rural communities and needy areas. As I’ve discussed in a blog post earlier this year, access to the internet can not only offer rural U.S. citizens access to critical information, but it can provide them health care benefits that could literally save lives.

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The Virtues of Video

This article has been written by Jan Zanetis, Education Advocate for Cisco in Australia.  The original article was published in the December/January edition of Educational Leadership (EL). Visit EL to read the full version.

The Virtues of Video

Video-on-demand tutorials. International student collaborations. Virtual field trips to Australia. Schools can use interactive video to enrich students’ learning.

What if your struggling students could view demonstrations of difficult math concepts as often as necessary? Picture your students asking questions of an expert diver as she explores Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Or imagine a motivated student in a remote location attending an advanced placement physics class without leaving home.

Providing such enriching learning activities, even with limited funds, is no fantasy; it’s possible through live, interactive video.

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