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Cisco Unveils New Paper at Educause: Transforming Education, Transforming Lives

November 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm PST

Visit us at Educause to learn more about our newest Cisco “Connected Insights” paper for Education, “Transforming Education, Transforming Lives.” As we find ourselves at the cross-roads of preparing the workforce of the future while facing one of the most daunting economic environments that many of us have ever encountered, we have the opportunity to work together to realize results and effect change. This white paper includes the latest thinking on how to address some of our most pressing challenges today.

Education is at the heart of human progress: educating students, driving innovation, and promoting social equity. The very best educational systems prepare people to be successful, productive, and engaged members of society. These systems provide appropriate knowledge, skills, and experiences, enabling students to obtain jobs that promote social equity and economic growth. Today, education is undergoing change at an unprecedented rate. To prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, today’s students need new skills, taught in new ways. Professors need to develop new material and deliver it differently. Parents expect greater involvement, and administrators need to constantly do more with less.

Cisco can help educators overcome these challenges. Our solutions drive cost savings, expand access to quality education, support learning transformation, improve student engagement, prepare the workforce of the future, and place schools, colleges, and universities at the heart of smart and connected communities.

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Cisco at EDUCAUSE 2009 / November 3-5, 2009 – Denver, CO – Booth 322

October 21, 2009 at 10:35 am PST

We look forward to meeting you at EDUCAUSE to discuss how our Cisco Connected Learning solutions can leverage the power of your campus network to improve administrative efficiency, enhance campus safety, and enable next-generation teaching and learning.


Please stop by our booth at the show to experience a live TelePresence meeting. Cisco TelePresence creates a live, face-to-face, immersive communication experience over the network. We’ll be connecting with TelePresence sites at universities around the country, to demonstrate how educators and researchers can use this technology to communicate and collaborate, regardless of location.


Featured Education Solutions

Stop by the Cisco booth to talk to experts and view demonstrations of our solutions for: Campus Safety and Network Security, Digital Media, Mobility and Wireless, Network Infrastructure, Online Learning, Smart Connected Buildings, Unified Communications and discover how you can:

  • Save money and energy with EnergyWise technology
  • Make your campus safer with network-based security systems
  • Provide campus-wide network access with high-performance 80211.n      wireless
  • Easily deliver digital content to a variety of devices with the Cisco      Digital Media System
  • Improve administrative efficiency with Cisco WebEx collaboration tools

Attend the Cisco Customer Appreciation Reception                                                                             

Please join Cisco for a special customer reception on Wednesday, November 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm, at Jazz@Jack’s, just two blocks from the Colorado Convention Center. To find out more, contact your Cisco account manager.


Meet One on One with Cisco Executives

Contact your Cisco account manager to schedule a VIP Booth Tour or Executive Briefing with our senior management and product experts.          


Enter to Win a Flip Video Camera!

Visit Cisco at Educause booth 322 and enter to win the latest Flip Ultra II HD video camera and discover how easy it is to record and post lectures and other educational content.

Text “EDU” to 24726, and we will send you updates about Cisco solutions in higher education and our contests and giveaways at EDUCAUSE. 

Visit 09 to learn more about our presence at Educause.


Cisco at Educause: Using Technology to Expand Options for Higher Education

October 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm PST

One of the things I like best about Fall is the Educause show, a time for us to take a pause in our busy lives and learn about the best thinking in how technology applies to higher education. It also gives us a chance to connect with one another and share ideas about how to effectively prepare students for the future and increase access to quality education. This year, these topics are especially important as together, we face one of the most troubling economic environments that we’ve ever encountered as a nation and global community.

What we know is that we need to think differently to address the challenges in front of us. We need to think differently to develop a range of options. The Educause tagline, “In Challenging Times, We Need Options,” could never be more accurate or true than it is today. Not only do higher education institutions need options in terms of how to deliver quality education, but students need options to get the very best education possible.

Technology plays a critical role in providing students with options, and Cisco delivers many of these technologies to the higher education market. Interacting with technology not only helps students to prepare for careers that are increasingly technology-dependent, but it also gives them better access to education. High-definition, life-like TelePresence solutions provide access to students in remote locations, and these solutions also allow universities to access experts from across the globe. Wireless technologies engage students in the learning process with wireless response systems and anytime, anywhere access to information. Collaborative learning solutions, such as WebEx, support online learning, offer virtual group work, and enable interactive learning experiences. And advanced video technologies create media-rich, connected learning environments that engage the “now” generation in the learning process.

We welcome the opportunity to connect with you at Educause. Please visit us at booth 322 to see a number of our demonstrations for higher education, including TelePresence, Campus Safety, Digital Media, and more. And, enter for a chance to win a new Flip Ultra II HD Video camera from Cisco to capture the spirit of Educause. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Interactive learning leveraging web 2.0 technologies

Student raising hand in classroomToday any institution in some remote tier 2 city or town in a developing country has access to the whole wide world of information and curriculum available on the internet. However, there are great professors, teachers and tutors with a wealth of information in a city about 50 KMs away or perhaps in even 500 KMs away, maybe in the same time zone or a different time zone. How do you tap into the knowledge and experience of these teachers?

Today, technology exists in the form of collaborative, video and audio integrated tools that can transform how students learn and teachers teach. Web 2.0 tools like facebook, MySpace, twitter, blogs etc, play a critical role allowing students and teachers to have personalized spaces on the web. Teachers can create discussion forums for the students to connect, discuss after class, work together on projects, and ask questions.

Cisco Collaboration technologies which include Telepresence, Unified Communications, Cisco Digital Media solutions and Cisco WebEx suite of technologies, provide a very powerful audio, video and web integrated virtual classroom experience almost mimicking a face-to-face experience albeit over the internet.

These tools expand the learning opportunities for students in remote regions around the world. The teachers are able to share knowledge, for free or for a fee. In the process, students, teachers and the learning providers all benefit from this collaborative distance learning education business model. One such example is a company called Lakshya Networks, started by 3 students in a small town called Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, one of the central states of India. Cisco provided funding for the technology, and initial mentoring on how to use the technology. Since then the students connected with tutors in the nearby city, who could offer special afterschool tutoring services to the students in the nearby villages for a small fee. The students got extended support for English and Math while the tutors were able to reach out to new learners through this medium and the small entrepreneurial tutoring company created a profitable business model bridging the gap between the students and tutors.

This model has scaled globally with tutoring services now offered to students online in a group or personal setting in many different parts of the world at school and higher education level. Many institutions worldwide including the likes of MIT, Stanford, offer online courses that leverage online internet based audio-video integrated tools for teaching including for degree programs and certificate courses.

The Internet has opened the door for tools that enable creating and sharing knowledge allowing learners to build critical 21st century skills, which they would have otherwise missed out. Teachers and learners can engage in an enhanced collaborative learning experience. The possibilities abound and they are here to stay.

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The use and implication of Open Educational Resources

What makes a university great? In 2002 MIT decided that it was not the educational resources they shared with their students with, but the quality of interactions between students and their teachers, so made a foray into distance education by starting to put their course materials online so as to provide access to quality educational materials for anyone who wanted to access them. This was the beginning of the Open Educational Resources  (OER)movement. At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in 2005 an initiative was launched in a partnership between the Development Gateway Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to connect anyone with Internet access and the desire to learn to a world of free, high-quality open educational materials. The Development Gateway Foundation’s “Open Educational Resources” portal aimed to equalize access to education and help people in developing countries improve their chances for a better life.   OER are now available from a multitude of universities across the world and, with the introduction of iTunesU, there are no shortage of materials in a range of multi-modal formats available on almost any academic subject you care to choose.

Cisco has also supported a number of open educational resources through the Cisco Networking Academy, in which all its content is made freely available to registered Academies across the world, and through some of its social investments in education including hairdressing resources for Africa and the global programme, Teachers without Borders.

For developing countries the opportunity to obtain free, quality resources can only be beneficial, but if it is the collaboration and instruction on such resources that provides the maximum value, then universities and other educational institutions accessing OER need to ensure that they are able to support students effectively. Additionally such resources may need customisation and localisation, as the style and mode in which they are presented may not be appropriate to another culture. Infrastructure constraints and insufficient bandwidth may also need to be addressed so that media-rich content can be streamed and stored.

There are additional tensions around the provision of OER as overseas students are lucrative sources of funds for universities. Why would universities in the developed world help those universities in the developing world by providing support for improving teaching quality and help those universities to become more proficient and economically viable through dual-teaching and mentoring using OER? Why would they help find opportunities to keep the brightest brains in country to teach the next generation? Why would they encourage students to study overseas and risk perpetuating the brain drain which is hitting continents like Africa particularly hard?

If OER is to benefit those less fortunate or unable to benefit from an education at the leading universities of the world, then there needs to be a willingness to support developing world universities, access to all resources needs to be affordable, and adaptation of OER may often need to be undertaken to make sure that:

  • resources are culturally, pedagogically and technologically aligned
  • the language of instruction is appropriate
  • assessment models associated with OER are robust
  • links are made with books and other media
  • OER resources are accessible on low cost and low power access devices
  • there is an ability to partnering with radio and TV stations for either podcasting, broadcasting or both


With the multitude of collaboration tools available today, an effective way for universities across the world to work together will emerge which will result in a win-win situation for all.

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