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Schools Face Unique BYOD Challenges, But Are Finding Solutions

October 9, 2012 at 11:33 am PST

As a member of the Cisco Public Sector team, and being married to an educator, I have been engaged in a few (sometimes heated) debates on students, teachers and staff bringing their own devices to school. Many teachers have seen impressive results from utilizing students’ own devices in the education process, and with school budget cuts, most teachers do not have any other mobile option, so it’s safe to say that BYOD is taking a strong hold in education.

As a result, schools find themselves addressing unique issues of scalability, security, manageability and budget when it comes to developing and implementing BYOD policies. How will they accommodate in real time the explosion of new devices and applications that students and staff want to use on the network? How will they regulate who uses what device from which location in what manner? How will they support BYOD within a restricted budget?

I recently read an interesting post by Amy Blanchard on this topic. You should check out her recent post on the Cisco Mobility blog, she includes reference to an interesting case study -- definitely worth the read!

By the way, what is your position on BYOD in schools? Love to hear your interesting stories and insights!

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Education Turns to Desktop Virtualization for Increased Collaboration

October 2, 2012 at 8:54 am PST

Of course, we at Cisco are aware of how desktop virtualization benefits organizations. However, we also know that it isn’t just about desktop-only virtualization. This is why we created Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) to not only deliver desktop virtualization but also provide secure access to data, voice and video for fixed and mobile devices.

I recently read several success stories of educational institutions who turned to Cisco VXI and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) to help reduce costs and IT management overhead while increasing internal and external collaboration. Two of these case studies -- one from K-12 and one higher education -- are listed below. If you are interested in the topic, they are definitely worth the read. Read More »

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Classrooms Go Mobile to Enrich Student Learning

October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am PST

School is back in session, and from all the parents I’ve talked to, there’s been a new addition to the old school essentials list -- notebook, lunch and now,  a smartphone. We’ve reached a time where mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are entering classrooms at an accelerated rate. In fact, recent numbers in Canada showed that the back to school season is starting to rival the holiday season for buying cellphones.

In 2011, we asked nearly 3,000 college students and young professionals how fundamental they feel the Internet is. An astounding one in three respondents equated the Web’s importance with air, water, food and shelter. It’s safe to assume the younger set feels the same:  Research conducted by Project Tomorrow found that from 2009 to 2010 smartphone use for middle and high school students jumped 42 percent, so younger student are obviously adapting early expectations of anywhere, anytime online access.

If schoolchildren are using mobile devices on their own time to connect with parents and friends, it makes sense for schools to be working these devices into the learning mix, too. In fact, according to The Journal’s Mary McCaffrey, schools must go mobile to better personalize their students’ learning experiences.

Here are three ways mobile collaboration contributes to the learning environment: Read More »

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Happy Connected Educator Month! We Can All Help Enhance Learning.

August 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm PST

In a video address at the  June ISTE conference, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced that August will be Connected Educator Month.  To kick off this event The Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) will convene Connected Educator Month in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization. Connected Educator month is part of the Office of Educational Technology’s Connected Educators initiative, which is supporting informal, online, social and professional learning for educators by conducting research, hosting communities, and working with the field.

Do you want to help transform the way we learn? In the video below, Darren Cambridge of the American Institutes of Research explains how you can participate and help transform education.

You should also check out the Connected Learning Exchange (CLX) Community Open House on Monday, Aug 20, 2012, from Noon – 3 pm, EST to learn more!

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Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm PST

Ah, the excitement and power of the Olympic Games – and what an inspiration it is to young athletes and students! Watching the coverage of the lead-up to London 2012, I can’t help but contemplate the potential impact of collaborative technology on not only the games themselves, but those participating in and watching the games.

For those who know me, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a big wrestling fan. My husband is an accomplished wrestler and head high school wrestling coach here in Allen, TX, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact the sport has had on the lives of young men and women. Unfortunately, in the U.S., wrestling is somewhat of a second tier sport in the mainstream sports world. So, when the Olympics come around, excitement builds for wrestling fans as we prepare to watch the wrestlers we have admired for so many years get a spotlight on the global Olympic stage.

With my experience in the videoconferencing industry and my underlying passion for the sport of wrestling, I was especially intrigued last year when I heard about the organization called Classroom Champions. They connect students in high-need schools with top performing athletes in order to motivate them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. Read More »

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