Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin is a leader in delivering high-quality instruction and services that are responsive, flexible, and accessible. MATC recently deployed a first-of-its-kind system for community colleges which uses Cisco TelePresence to enhance the quality of education for students.
The College’s decision to pursue a more sophisticated communications technology was based on the institution’s competition, not just from other schools, but from factors that affect students’ time and attention span. Today’s youth use increasingly sophisticated technology in their daily lives: iPods, SmartPhones, PDAs, web-based collaboration and social networking technologies, high-definition television, and more. College officials recognized that students have grown accustomed to a high level of quality, as well as variety, in their learning and communication methods and expect it to be matched in every area of their lives, particularly from a technical education.
The College turned to Cisco TelePresence because it offers an innovative solution for distance learning, creating an “in-person” classroom experience over a converged network. TelePresence technologies transmit life-size, high-definition images, and spatial discrete audio to deliver real-time, face-to-face interaction between people at distant sites, using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies. One benefit of the new distant learning platform is that the College is now able to efficiently deliver quality instruction across the wide area network from location to location regardless of the classroom geography. Easy, virtual access to counselors, academic advisors and other student service providers is further enabled, as well as the ability to reduce travel for meetings and internal training of staff and faculty.
View the video to see the system in action.
Tags: 21st century learning environment, 21st century skills, higher education, learning, next generation learning
In a good education system, students move through school, graduate, and somewhere between 30 and 50% complete university. Formal training is complete, education is finished. People who were once students could relax and enjoy the benefits of the skills and networks they had developed through learning, and any decline in their skills would be offset by gains in experience and compensated for by the new generation of graduates coming through the education pipeline. This was an education system which was quite effective until the 21st century where we live in a more globalized and interconnected world.
Now, globalisation, accelerating technological change and massive demographic shifts demand a change in education systems: its purpose, where it happens, when it happens, how it happens. Since new technologies are appearing at such a fast pace, formal education in the first 20 years of life will only form a foundation for future learning. Lifelong learning will become a necessity, not a nice-to-have. And as the world shrinks, people in India or china or eastern Europe are competing with those in Indiana for jobs and those in Copenhagen collaborate with those in Cape Town. It is no longer good enough to be second best: everyone needs 21st century skills – not just better skills, but different skills.
To respond to this socio-economic shift, our education systems need to change. Curricula and pedagogy must focus on building skills for life and instilling a love for learning. We need to think about new ways of organising learning so that those who are currently excluded by geography, poverty or learning style have a real chance. Schools, colleges and universities need to open their doors, and become accessible centres of learning throughout life. And new partners, from the private sector to non-profits, to foundations need to become part of a wider coalition to deliver learning and drive continuous innovation and improvement.
Without these changes, we risk a difficult future: weaker economies, fragmented societies, unhappy people. Incremental reform is no longer enough – we must jointly take on the task of becoming a learning society.
Director, Cisco Global Education
Tags: 21st century learning environment, brain drain, cost-savings, distance, education, generation, higher education, learning, next generation learning
Today 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.
Tags: 2.0, 21st century learning environment, collaboration, distance, education, learning, web
Cisco is pleased to launch the new Higher Education blog, and we hope that you will be an active participant in this community of interest. We will be exploring topics that are critical to our key education customers, and we look forward to active and spirited discussion between our higher education customers and those of us within Cisco who focus on the education market.
We’d like to start out discussing some of the trends that we’re seeing in education, and how we believe that technology is helping colleges and universities to address some of their most pressing challenges: trying to do more with less, enhancing safety and security, and creating next-generation learning environments for the 21st century.
As the world shifts away from centralized, hierarchical control and puts more power in the hands of end users, Cisco brings a practical vision and real solutions to help public sector innovators stay ahead of cultural change. In an on-demand society, Cisco enables a connected way of living that can foster economic growth, expand access to public services, and keep people of all ages engaged. By harnessing the power of many ideas and voices, Cisco is inspiring new connections and creating new opportunities.
Cisco is a change agent in enabling quality education. In a connected, on-demand society, learning is everywhere, just a few keystrokes away. Cisco works closely with schools and higher education to anticipate and respond to the demand for new teaching and learning approaches that promote employability and social equity. Cisco delivers the secure, seamless communication and real-time interaction that students, faculty, and staff expect—while enabling a safe environment, improved administrative efficiency, and access to engaging, lifelong learning opportunities.
At Cisco, we’re working hard to help create a connected way of living and learning. Cisco® solutions give educational institutions the ability to create a connected ondemand learning environment — removing barriers to communications, enabling real-time interactions, and expanding access. Education opportunities are everywhere. Our goal is to help make those connections happen by streamlining campus operations and giving you the tools to enable access for any device at any time. Our vision is a connected campus that inspires students, faculty and staff to engage in lifelong learning.
Please join us in this discussion.
Manager, Industry Marketing
Tags: 21st century learning environment, cost-savings, education, efficiency, higher_education, learning, safety, security, vision