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Collaboration is Critical to Educational System Transformation

Posted on behalf of Michael Stevenson, vice president of Global Education, Cisco It’s no good teaching 21st century skills and then testing students on traditional facts and knowledge. During the Learning and Technology World Forum in London this week, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft called upon educational leaders, governments and other companies to work together to transform education, and to concentrate especially on the problem of assessment.The three companies have brought together OECD and some of the world’s leading experts to devise a new approach to assessment. We hope that through this collaboration we will enable countries around the world to use ICT to assess their students’ competence in 21st century skills by 2012.In so many countries today, the talk is of economic transformation. But the only way these transformations can happen is if the education systems are fixed first. In fact, all around the world, people are struggling with the age-old problem of improving education standards quickly and at scale.The key is to make sure students leave school with the skill sets they need to succeed in the 21st-Century economy: problem-solving, team-working and critical thinking are the ones most people name first. But this is a tall order for governments to achieve alone. It really requires a long-term, collaborative commitment from the public and private sector. We look forward to being a part of this process.

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities*

Like many of us, I am the child of parents born during the Great Depression who came of age in the great upsurge of the post-World War II economy. As a young man entering the workforce, my father, a WWII and Korean War veteran, found his perspective colored by the dramatic, expanding prosperity surrounding him juxtaposed next to strong childhood memories of breadlines for the unemployed. His generation enjoyed the increased spending power of their growing financial success tempered with a cold eye that always put away a little something”for a rainy day.”Tom Brokaw called them”the Greatest Generation,” a group of Americans that endured sacrifice and material scarcity but also enjoyed opportunities unheralded on a mass scale. For mid-20th Century government and business leadership, education and industry were the keys to economic prosperity. Investment in these priorities helped create the largest, most vibrant economy in the world. The defining government program for that generation was the”GI Bill” (officially titled Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944), which provided essential support for a massive increase in the number of veterans who could own a home and obtain a college education. As a result, the GI Bill enabled economic mobility for tens of millions of Americans by bringing the attainment of these two pillars of success to many beyond the affluent. We are now at a similar crossroads as the world economy struggles and as government and business leaders debate the best approaches to moving forward. Read More »

Online Video Expands its Reach

Until recently, I can’t say that I was part of the generation that used the Internet for anything other than email, basic research, and a social site or two. It was only in the past year that I began to watch TV episodes from But, over the holidays, I reached a tipping point and joined the ranks of the millions of viewers who seek out video. Read More »

Cisco @ 98th Annual NRF Conference in NYC

In preparation for the 98th annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Conference, Lindsay Parker, Director of Global Retail Solutions, discusses her advice for retailers during these challenging economic times and how technology can help retailers. She also does a technology demonstration on a product recall using Cisco technology. For more information on Cisco in the retail space, please visit: Also, please listen to (or download) our podcast on “Wireless in Retail.”

John Chambers op-ed in San Jose Mercury News: “Time to Broadband Our Economy”

Wanted to bring this op-ed in yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News to your attention by our Chairman and CEO John Chambers. Entitled “Time to Broadband the Economy” he discusses the stimulus package and gives some advice to the incoming Obama administration.

He states, in part, “President-elect Barack Obama’s ambitious economic recovery plan has a goal to create 3 million American jobs in the next two years. Broadband is a part of the answer.Broadband has the potential to transform our country. It will create jobs in the growth sectors of our economy — jobs that are driving the collaboration and interaction economy. Obama deserves our full support as he looks to revitalize our economy. An economic stimulus package that focuses on infrastructure must put America’s broadband infrastructure at the head of the list. We have the opportunity to bring broadband to those who do not have access to it today and to dramatically improve the quality and speed of existing broadband to 21st century standards. Broadband is the highway to our future.”