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Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World

It has long been known that a combination of both formal and informal learning is an effective way of turning theory (explicit knowledge) into practice (tacit knowledge). This includes working and learning alongside more experienced people, both online and face-to-face.

The nature of learning is changing, and new learning technologies are proliferating. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that suggests many learners can benefit from alternative models and novel spaces for developing their skills and gaining further knowledge. Couple this with the increase in distance and virtual learning offerings—which offer little opportunity for face-to-face contact for both formal learning and networking—and a significant need for additional learner support begins to emerge.

This need is also being driven by our busy lifestyles: learners may not always have time to study at their chosen institution or study center; entrepreneurs and startups may need access to temporary experts and more formal learning opportunities; and learners and workers may need more than just online support from time to time. Sometimes learners want a place to study away from the distractions of home or work, or they may need an informal learning place to engage with peers and mentors.

Learning hubs” may be the solution. Learning hubs are technology-enabled, flexible, formal and informal learning spaces designed to support learners of all ages. As opposed to study centers or traditional classrooms, learning hubs:

  • Are purpose-built to accommodate more than just tutorial instructions and seminars 
  • Serve as a space for temporary or prearranged meetings and discussions with peers
  • Enable students to meet with experts and mentors virtually or to join a class remotely (from one or more hubs) via high-definition video-conferencing or telepresence facilities

Learning hubs can be located in Smart Work Centers, university and school campuses with spare real estate, community centers, and other places. Or, they can be “pop-up” hubs—physical spaces connected through high-end video-conferencing technology to enable city-to-city and multicity events—that meet specific, short-term needs. Dialogue Café is one example of a pop-up hub. Other types of hubs are shown in Figure 1.  

 Figure 1.  Potential Learning Hub Locations.

Learning Hubs

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2013

A more detailed perspective from Cisco IBSG on learning hubs—including existing hubs and those in development—is available for download at “Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World.”

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Transform the Way Your School Collaborates with New Service Models

After more than 15 years of working in the telecommunications and IT industries, I’ve seen firsthand how people use technology to make a difference and change lives. While there are innovative uses of technology across all industries, nothing continues to impress me more than how collaboration technologies are reinventing education.

As we’ve seen time and time again technologies like video and mobile devices are enhancing 21st century learning. But no matter what technology schools and educators are using, the delivery of services matters. Thanks to the cloud, schools can deploy advanced collaboration technologies with increased financial and operational flexibility.

With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), organizations can implement unified communication applications while saving money by switching from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model. The flexibility of the cloud enables customers to accelerate rollouts, improve business agility, lower maintenance and utility costs all while continuously delivering services.

Take for example Perspectives Charter Schools, which serves more than 2,300 students across several Chicago communities. When Perspectives Charter Schools made the shift from an on-premise unified communications system to a cloud collaboration solution they lowered monthly costs, simplified system maintenance and improved administrative efficiency. With Cisco HCS, Perspectives’ monthly bill is now 25 percent less than their previous monthly costs for phone lines, maintenance, software support contracts and repairs. But while the total cost of ownership for communications has dropped, the quality of services hasn’t. The schools have added new collaboration capabilities such as voicemail-to-email and single number reach help make staff members more accessible.

And they’re not the only ones…

Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina made the same shift from on-premise to the cloud for voice services and experienced much of the same benefits. With Cisco HCS they’ve lowered the overall cost of their voice system by eliminated the need for one connection for each school and freeing up the IT team. Not only are they saving money, they are also increasing collaboration. The switch to the cloud gave students and faculty access to more advanced collaboration capabilities such as video and instant messaging.

Alamance-Burlington School System and Perspectives Charter Schools’ use of Cisco HCS are classic examples of doing more with less. Powered by the cloud they can both deliver the advantages of Cisco’s collaboration solutions with the financial, operational and strategic benefits associated with the cloud.

Is your school ready to start benefiting from the cloud?

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Studying Collaboration to Improve Collaboration

This is the first blog in a multi-part series. In upcoming posts, I delve deeper into the study and how technology is changing the way we work together.

Collaboration. It’s defined as “the act of people working together to reach a common goal.” Simple, right? But today’s technology era brings new dimensions to how we work together. We collaborate across time zones, across cultures, across personalities and behaviors, and all across a multitude of mobile devices, from smartphones and laptops to tablets and more.

And the scope and reach of technology will only get bigger and become more complex. As technology essentially makes the world smaller, the value and impact of collaboration increases — from the amount of projects you can undertake, to the productivity of employees, to the speed of implementation.

Collaboration has always been a core component of our culture at Cisco. And just as we use and optimize our technology to solve challenges and bring business benefits to our customers, we study our own organization to better understand the human behavior of collaboration and how it affects employee productivity, workplace efficiency, and business results.

We recently completed the Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, a qualitative, ethnographic, global research study that provided us with insight to how we collaborate at Cisco. Our findings  Read More »

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Summary: Jerry Bruckheimer Produces Upcoming Film Lone Ranger with the Help of Cisco Collaboration Solutions

Jerry Bruckheimer

Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the world’s most successful and innovative film producers. Bruckheimer is using Cisco TelePresence to change the collaboration game in Hollywood by bringing on-set and remote directors, editors, and talent together to produce award winning films.

In Bruckheimer’s upcoming film Lone Ranger, he took Cisco TelePresence EX90s behind the scenes to help with movie production. Armed with life-like, instantaneous video collaboration, Bruckheimer was able to review film dailies with editors and post-production staff in Los Angeles while he was on-set in New Mexico. Once location shooting had wrapped, several more units played an important role in post-production.

Learn more about how Jerry is using collaboration to innovate by reading the full blog: Collaborations Innovators: Jerry Bruckheimer Is Redefining Collaboration in Hollywood And Puts TelePresence in the Spotlight.

James

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Delivering a More Efficient and Effective Telepresence Experience With TC6.1

Recently at Enterprise Connect 2013, Tony Intrabartolo, Managing Engineer, Cisco TelePresence and Collaboration, and Richard Hayes, Technical Marketing Manager, Collaboration Endpoints, teamed up to discuss the Cisco TelePresence TC 6.1 software update.

TC 6.1 adds the entire portfolio of capabilities announced in the TE 6.0 software update to the C, SX, MX and Profile Series. These features include message waiting indicator, shared line support, single number reach and enhanced conferencing, which are enabled by the Cisco Unified Call Manager 8.6.2 release. This means Cisco TelePresence users will have a consistent experience and access to a broader set of capabilities, including all features in CUCM, across the entire Cisco TelePresence product line, from multipurpose to personal units.

Check out the video below to see Tony and Richard discuss some common scenarios and business benefits these new features offer and how they would play out in an average work day. For example, your Cisco TelePresence endpoint (EX, MX or SX Series) can now be one of the devices where you can be reached through your phone number or even through your Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). The result is a seamless telepresence experience no matter where you are or what technology you are using.

The software update also Read More »

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