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Digital Britain: Combining eCommerce with Social Networks

July 5, 2011 at 8:00 am PST

We’ve all heard of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and some of us may even have our own blog, but the question remains — how do we effectively use these online communication tools and how can we start to apply social media as a revenue generating engine?

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Talent Development For a Transforming World – Guest Blog By Jeanne Beliveau Dunn

April 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm PST

By: Jeanne Beliveau Dunn, Vice President and General Manager, Learning@Cisco

Economic, technological and social trends are constantly transforming the business landscape around us. Gartner Research predicts that by 2015, 40 percent or more of an organization’s work will be non-routine, up from 25 percent in 2010. According to a recent Cisco survey, three of every five employees believe it is unnecessary to be in the office to be productive, and two of three employees worldwide say they prefer a job with less pay and more flexibility.

Enjoy my discussion on The Talent Development Race, continue reading to learn more about the challenges the global workforce faces, and please join the conversation. Share your thoughts on how public and private organizations can collaborate to develop the skills tomorrow’s workforce will need to be successful.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAykaZJnT68

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How do we get our teachers and faculty members to adopt technology?

July 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm PST

How do we get our teachers and faculty members to adopt technology?

One of the greatest, and most important challenges education institutions face is adoption of technology by the faculty.  This challenge is common across geographies and at all levels of education.  And it’s a major issue.  If we can’t get the very individuals who deliver education to change the way they think about technology, then we will fail to prepare our students with the 21st century skills required to compete in a global economy.

Over years of talking with education leaders who have shared a number of insights on professional development, and exploring how to use some of our own technologies, I’d like to share some of the best and most impactful ways we can turn the tide:

1.       Show faculty members what’s in it for them.  Help them to understand time savings they will realize when they use new technologies.  Remember how resistant some teachers were (and some still are) to keeping track of grades and taking attendance online?  Remind them of how much time they saved from past technology innovations.

2.       Give faculty members a laptop, web access, and a mobile device.  Tell them they can attend their next staff meeting from home.  All they need to do is login to a website, follow the audio instructions, and they’ll be in attendance.  Or, make the next staff meeting online only.

3.       A recent study that we did with Clarus Research showed that faculty members learn best from one another, and that’s their preferred method of learning.  Give all faculty members FLIP video cameras, and ask them to find a faculty member who has a great reputation and student following.  Ask them to video record one of their classes, make observations about what makes the teacher great, and post the videos and observations on an internal web portal.

4.       Many teachers and professors (and people in general) struggle with using technology and are too embarrassed to admit it.  Identify your top 20 most tech-savvy students, and set up an incentive program to receive an IT certification for helping teachers use technology.  If you have a Networking Academy Program, even better.  Pull students from here.  Let teachers know they are helping students by providing access to their classrooms. Give the students an opportunity to learn more about technology and exposure to teaching by helping teachers use technology in their class curriculum.

5.       Encourage an online community of best practices.  Allocate a portion of your intranet for best practice sharing.  Enable the posting of blogs, videos, and compelling content so that all teachers can access the information.

6.       Use those same FLIP videos and ask students how they learn best.  Make a video montage of students talking about what engages them most in learning, share this at a staff meeting, and post it on the portal.

7.       Have faculty members ask their students to record their world around them with FLIP video cameras and have students share these videos over a laptop and projector when they’re back in class.  They could, for example, record incidents of natural selection, take footage of their favorite building, capture parabolas, or record a dialogue in Spanish.  This is one of the simplest ways to engage students and show faculty members how easy technology can be.

8.       Invite a guest lecturer to your next staff meeting, over video-conference. 

9.       Join a community such as the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), GETideas.org, or ePals Global Community, to network and collaborate with other educators. These resources are a rich source of great, proven ideas about how to incorporate collaborative technologies and web-based delivery strategies into your curriculum.

Please add your ideas to this blog.  Together, we can highlight the best of the best, and support all faculty members as they identify and implement new ways to use technology to improve efficiency, engage students, and move quickly with the new generation of learners.

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Teaching with TelePresence at Madison Area Technical College

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.

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Addressing a New World of Learning

April 5, 2010 at 11:49 am PST

As a part of my job here at Cisco, I have the opportunity to meet with a range of customers in schools, colleges, and universities across the globe.  They have the wide and vast responsibility of educating students, preparing the workforce of the future, equipping students with different kinds of skills so that they can compete in the 21st century, ensuring that students are safe and secure, and a whole host of other responsibilities that will enable students to be productive and successful members of society.  Most critically, they have to do all this with increasingly constrained, and in developing nations, often non-existent, budgets.

The requirements for education have shifted over time as we have become more globalized, technologically advanced, and demographically different.  On average, people in the US change jobs about ten times before they’re 42.   In China and India, there is a massive demand for higher education.  And teachers are retiring in record numbers as the population of kids under the age of 15 has reached 1.8 billion.

Thomas Friedman has said that students today need to be special, specialized, anchored, or adaptable.  Not everyone can be special, and certain components of traditionally anchored jobs (for example, hairdressers, restaurant workers, and trade workers) can be outsourced.  This leaves jobs for which people need to be specialized or adaptable.   And this is where education is critical: students have to be able to access education that provides them with the specialization required to help them differentiate the value that they provide.  Think, tax planning for customers with major offshore assets, or biological technicians who are creating a biosphere in pace.  Or, education has to be able to provide them with the ability to obtain lifelong learning programs and capabilities to adapt to a broad range of careers and jobs that they will have over their lifetimes.

Existing systems on their own will no longer be able to meet the growing and changing demands for learning.  Educational institutions must necessarily deliver learning differently, and this is where technology can help.  Today, Cisco is partnering with educators to create what we call The Learning Society: a new way of thinking that harnesses the power of technology to help transform learning and allow people to learn anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Not only does Cisco offer a change model that integrates “best-of-the-best” research findings to help students flourish in the 21st century – wherever they are and whatever their culture or socio-economic status, or the economic situation of their country, may be (Education 3.0), but it also details the integration of innovative pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment strategies across whole systems—accommodating learner differences, linking learning to the real world, and setting high, yet realistic, expectations for every student. We encourage you to learn more by joining our Virtual Forum for Education Leaders on April 28th.

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