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Using E-Rate to lead a Digital Transformation in Education

For many businesses, technology has become an integral part of operations, transforming the way people learn, think, and do their jobs. With the right tools, K-12 school districts can experience these same transformational benefits. Digital transformation in education means using technology to create better access to educational experiences for students. That can be using mobile solutions to allow students to access anytime, anywhere learning in a secure way. Or it could be using collaboration tools to create a shared learning environment, or data analytics to help teachers fill in gaps in students’ skills and knowledge.

While the benefits of digital transformation for students are vast, one of the biggest hurdles schools face in their quest for transformation is funding. It requires a significant investment to ensure network infrastructure is adequate, to purchase technology tools for students and teachers, and to train educators on how to best use the new technologies in the classroom.

Schools facing this hurdle should consider leveraging the E-rate Program. USAC just announced that the window for filing E-rate applications for Funding Year 2016 will open on February 3, 2016. The window will close 87 days later on April 29. If your school meets the criteria for the program, you can save anywhere from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. These discounts can ease the financial burden of upgrading network infrastructure and put schools on the path to a successful digital transformation. To learn more about digital transformation in education and how the E-rate Program can help, check out this special report from Cisco and eSchool News.

On Tuesday, February 9, Cisco will host a webcast on E-rate and the digital transformation. The webcast will feature Scott Smith, the CTO of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, and John Harrington, CEO, Funds for Learning. Scott will discuss how their all-digital curriculum has led to more personalized, student-centric, and data-driven approaches. John will provide a briefing on current status of the E-Rate program—including procurement best practices and current filing deadlines. To register for the webcast, click here.

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Reconnecting McDowell Boosts Education in West Virginia School District

For some, the economic hard times began before the recession hit. McDowell County, an ex-coal mining county in West Virginia, has been in decline since the coal industry began pulling out in the 1960s.

What used to be a town of 120,000 is now barely 22,000 and the county has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. But a new project launched in December is aiming to change all this.

Reconnecting McDowell is a comprehensive, long-term effort to make educational improvement in McDowell County. Under the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia State Board of Education, more than 80 partners from businesses, non-profits, governments and labor have signed a covenant illustrating their commitment to solving McDowell’s hardships by providing services, money, products and/or expertise to schools and students and their families. Read More »

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Universities Adjust to Teaching a Different Kind of College Freshman

There’s a different kind of college freshman on university campuses these days. According to EdWeek’s report on The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 survey, today’s freshman bears more of the cost of his or her own education than did past first-year college students, and, as a high school senior, today’s freshman paid more attention to his or her studies than those who came before.

So what does this mean for colleges?

For one, today’s students’ higher academic engagement could translate into demand for more innovative, challenging courses. But with the survey showing more students taking out large student loans as their parents’ unemployment rates remain stagnant, universities cannot raise tuition price tags to hire more faculty to develop new classes. President Obama said as much in his January 24 State of the Union address, mandating that schools use tools like “better technology” to improve their course offerings without raising costs. Read More »

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A Student’s Perspective: The Borderless Classroom, Part 2 of 2

I am a member of the millennial generation, and I have been exposed to the education system for nearly 14 years. Recent analysis of Cisco’s International Education Survey prompted me to reflect on my experience as a student. This passage is the second in a two-blog series that portrays my perspective on how and why technology will benefit every facet of teaching and learning.

This blog represents my interpretations on technology’s aid in the evolution of how teachers teach.

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A Student’s Perspective: We Need More Technology – Faster, Part 1 of 2

My name is Tom Patton, and I am a student at the University of Oregon. Presently, I support Cisco’s Education Market Management team and work on a variety of U.S. and International Marketing projects. My first project was to analyze, organize and portray data from Cisco’s recent International Education Survey. The survey is a compilation of over 1100 interviews with education officials and IT decision-makers from 15 countries. The research explores key ideas regarding education and technology.

Working on this project caused me to reflect on my own experiences with technology and our education system. This blog is the first of a two-set series that portray my experience as a student, and my opinions of the potential benefits of further utilization of technology by students and teachers alike.

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