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Where and who would you connect with using video? The Great Barrier Reef? A cultural exchange?

Introducing the Cisco Education Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) team!

Welcome to the first in a series of postings from the Cisco ANZ education team on what’s happening Down Under.

We’ll be providing updates on news, research and commentary across the higher education, K-12 as well as vocational education and training sectors.

Our first blog post focuses on Pymble Ladies College (PLC), an independent school in Sydney, Australia for girls from Kindergarten to year 12. It has recently partnered with Cisco to implement a range of video technologies for teachers and students to learn, collaborate and interact with experts in particular fields, anywhere in Australia or across the world.

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Evaluating School Leaders with Telepresence

We read a lot in education news about evaluating teacher performance, and I wrote a few months back about how telepresence could help with assessing and developing classroom leaders.

But what about the top school leaders? Education Week’s Christina Samuels wrote a recent article about the need for re-vamped evaluations of the people who manage the teachers: school principals.

According to Samuels, school districts struggle to design and implement effective principal evaluation systems. Today, most principals have annual reviews with district-level administrators, but these meetings do not serve to adequately assess the principals as instructional leaders, she writes. Samuels notes that Delaware has made some progress to improve evaluation procedures by developing a system that measures principals’ abilities to analyze school data and use it to set goals, as well as coach teachers to improve their practice. Read More »

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Tiny Mooresville Grabs White House Stage

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, Office of Science & Technology, leads a Digital Promise panel of educators and technologists.

“So Dr. Edwards, can you explain to the audience what’s behind the success you’ve had at Mooresville, in implementing technology that has so changed students lives?” The question was posed by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology. Kalil was moderating a panel of distinguished educators and technologists – and the venue? A White House conference called on creating more access for technology in US K-12 schools.

I was not at all surprised to see Dr. Edwards on the White House stage on this beautiful fall day. In fact I saw all this coming when I first visited the tiny hamlet of Mooresville, North Carolina, back in April of this year. The more classrooms I was pulled into, the more kids I saw “leaning in”, the more the “buzz” reflected off the cinder hallway walls…the more I figured there was to the Mooresville story.

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What could possibly be more important than food, water, air or shelter?

The Internet. Believe it or not, in Cisco’s 2011 Connected World Technology Report, 49% of college students and 47% of recently employed college students (many working in their first full-time jobs) said the Internet is “pretty close” to the level of importance of air, food, water and shelter.

A few other fascinating stats from the Connected World Technology Report:

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Telepresence An Indispensible Technology for K-12 Classrooms

If you were to walk into any school these days—whether an elementary, middle, or high school—you would see students using some degree of technology. Whether it’s a computer in a lab, a tablet, or an interactive whiteboard, technology has no doubt made its way into students’ schooldays.

The trend towards technology in education stands to proliferate: according to Education Week, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education rank facilitating technology access as their top goal during tough economic times. With this goal in mind, telepresence should rank highly on the list of technologies designated for schools—after all, telepresence offers several solutions to maintaining education quality under ever-tightening budgets.

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