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Bowdoin College #1 on Connected College List – Who Will be Next?

OK, we all see a lot of college-ranking lists – everything from top technical schools to top party schools – but most recently with the explosion of technology in higher education a new list has debuted, named the Most Connected Colleges. The listing, launched by U.S News & World Reports, is the first-ever ranking to honor schools that have successfully applied technology to improve the connections between students and educators.

We were excited to see  Maine’s Bowdoin College rated right at the top of the list! Among many tech initiatives,  Bowdoin College engaged Cisco to help extend a reliable and secure wireless network throughout its campus with indoor and outdoor access.

For more on how Bowdoin was able to achieve this status, check out our very own Vivian Chan’s post on our mobility blog “Bowdoin College Takes Crown for Connected College Champion“.

Now that we’re fast approaching 2013 – will Bowdoin maintain that top position? What is your prediction for #1?

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Four Virginia Universities Give Telepresence an A+

Educators have put telepresence to the test and it’s passed with honors.

In 2011, four Virginia universities joined together with one objective–to transform higher education.

The partnership, dubbed 4-VA, includes members from George Mason University, James Madison University, University of Virginia and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The 4-VA’s goals are admirable and ambitious: To make higher education more affordable, expand the number of degrees awarded in the state and strengthen member institutions–individually and collectively.

Almost a year after inception, the consortium has made serious headway on its  mission to revolutionize Virginia’s higher education system through collaboration technologies. This is a great video on the program:

How’d they do it’? The crux of its success was the ability to leverage resources across all four campuses. With Cisco TelePresence, members can easily share instructional and academic resources via high-definition, real-time video that creates a life-like setting. Read More »

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Schools Face Unique BYOD Challenges, But Are Finding Solutions

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

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

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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