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Next Generation Learning…Defined

June 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm PST

As a former marketer, I’m a lover of phrases.  But I particularly love phrases that mean something and that help you to tell a story.  One of my favorites is “Next Generation Learning.”  At Cisco, it often takes the place of that formerly-beloved phrase, “21st Century Learning,” which became oh-so-passe after about seven or eight years into the new century.

The reason I like “Next Generation Learning” is because it describes the evolution of teaching and learning and implies a staying ahead of the curve mentality.  It also describes the next generation of students, namely Millennials, who are gracing our schools, colleges, and universities today with a vibrant outlook on life and an enthusiastic embracing of technology.

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Telepresence in the Classroom: Enhancing Breadth and Depth of Learning

June 17, 2011 at 5:52 am PST

When you hear the word “classroom”, do you think about four walls? Desks and chairs? Maybe you are old school and still imagine a green chalk board – well, those days are over, now it’s more likely to be an interactive whiteboard, right?

If your idea of a classroom is the traditional, you need to check out Charles County Public Schools in Southern Maryland. In 2010, the district introduced telepresence, installing three completely equipped rooms to service the community’s students and teachers. All of a sudden, the classrooms lost their walls, and prior geographic and instructional limitations ceased to restrict learning.

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Another Look at the Mooresville Story – Connecting the Millennials

On July 19th, the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina will be hosting a 3-day symposium called “Summer Connections 2011”.  The training program will detail how Mooresville took a technology initiative four years ago and transformed itself into one of the largest success stories in USA K12 public education today. The symposium will bring together superintendents, administrators, technicians, teachers – and millennial students -- all interested in learning the Mooresville recipe, and how to bring that back to their home districts.

What is the story? It’s simple, really. Two points – 1. Test score changes over the four-year period have been profound -- proving the technology initiative was wildly successful, and 2. It’s a district-wide success  story – all 8 schools have seen a significant rise in test scores. Not just a high school here or intermediate school there.  Since 2007, Mooresville district-wide dropout rates are down 20%; at the Mooresville High School graduation rates are up from 64% to 86%; District North Carolina composite scores are up from 73% to 86% in 2010, with the District arcing toward 90% in 2011. It’s now the 4th highest achieving school district in North Carolina, even though it ranks 99th out of the 115 state districts in school funding.

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The Massive Workforce Shift: Bridging the Gap Between Millennials and Boomers

June 10, 2011 at 8:02 am PST

As 80 million Baby Boomers shift into retirement, 80 million Millennials (born 1980-95) take center stage as our next-generation workforce.  This massive shift is changing the way work gets done as this new cohort brings a different mindset with expectations for a different work environment than the one know and loved by Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers.

While the recession is shaping the Millennial attitude, a recent study commissioned by the Career Advisory Board1 indicated that “both Millennials and their managers agree on the strengths (e.g. digital comfort) and weaknesses (e.g. impatience with established processes) of the younger generation…Millennials will manage their careers by pursuing advanced education, changing professions and work situations, and overcoming unique challenges associated with the 21st century workplace.”

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Humanizing Education Through Video

May 24, 2011 at 11:44 am PST

What if Isaac Newton had owned a video camera? Suspend your disbelief a little more … what if he used that camera to record himself teaching calculus lessons and then posted those lessons on YouTube?

Well, if Newton had done these things, then Salman Khan “wouldn’t have to,” as Khan said in a March TED Talk. Since Newton pre-dated the digital era, Khan took it upon himself to fill the gap with his brainchild, Khan Academy, the world’s first video-based virtual school.

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