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Education

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but remember a couple of months ago when we were all reading articles like “5 ways technology will impact higher ed in 2013” about trends to watch in 2013? Well, at the beginning of the year, I highlighted four of those high-impact trends educators should be on the lookout for. Three of those trends were around the rise of the cloud, personal devices and flipped teaching, but one trend I’m really excited about is that of hybrid learning.

As new technologies begin to be used across campuses, educators are often challenged to find ways to best integrate the old with the new. As John Chambers recently said in his post around the Internet of Everything,  ”My perspective is that it’s best to accept change as inevitable – to embrace it, lead it, and use it to shape desired outcomes,” and that’s exactly what I think will happen with hybrid learning.

With hybrid or blended learning, educators are able to interact directly with students in the classroom as well as via Telepresence and other technologies -- while also sharing online content and resources, essentially enjoying the best of both worlds. An interesting example, as you may have read in a press release this week, is the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and their integration of technology to enhance the way faculty, students and alumni interact and learn.

The Wharton School will provide access to some of the world’s leading experts via video and improve the student experience with technologies such as Cisco TelePresence, Cisco JabberTM, and Cisco® Capture, Transform, Share (CTS). CTS is the video platform enabling professors to record lectures and make them available online, which provides access to the lecture content from anywhere at anytime.

Imagine you’re in a classroom for, let’s say, journalism class, where the professor is discussing various career options and you are able to connect via video call on a 60″ monitor with an editor of a major, global publication. Following a stimulating conversation about hiring practices and professional ethics, the professor lays out a project for the next homework assignment. Later, at a local coffee house, you go online, read the project resources the prof has posted and review the lecture from last week that outlines the primary content for the project. You then connect to your next class, which happens to be on a different campus 150 miles away, via Cisco Jabber, and later submit your journalism project via the online classroom. Seriously, the best of both worlds, right?

In a recent post, Rob Lloyd discusses how a connected classroom works when students on two different campuses connect for a class in real-time, full-size video as if they were in the same room together -- and often forgetting that they’re not. That same class can be recorded and made available for student reference later -- basically eliminating the need to take extensive notes.

Almost makes me wish I was back in school -- almost.

To learn more about how connected classrooms and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are and will impact higher education, check out the Education Virtual Forum on March 19 & 20.

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