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Florida Mentoring Program Connects Gator Athletes with Elementary Students

Throughout its 106-year history, the University of Florida’s (UF) intercollegiate sports teams, commonly referred to as “Florida Gators,” have won 27 national team championships and Gator athletes have won 241 individual national championships.

According to an article in the Gainesville Times, UF is now extending its good fortune to a small group of Oakwood Elementary School students located 375 miles away from the university’s campus. Through video conferencing, the lucky group of students gets to spend around 30 minutes each week with its athlete mentors, including Gray Horn (track and field), Jeff Demps (track and field/football) and Tahnai Annis (soccer).  Read More »

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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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Next Generation Education Workspaces – Join the Conversation

Virtual desktops are not new to education. Virtual workspaces are. What’s the difference?

The Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) delivers virtual workspaces that go beyond traditional classroom desktops to unify virtual desktops, voice, and video. Through VXI, every computer and mobile device can now be a learning resource. Education IT leaders now have the ability to deliver next generation education workspaces, without compromising the user or educational experience, as is common in traditional VDI deployments.

Cisco is partnering with T.H.E Journal, Citrix and NetApp to host a live Twitter Chat on K-12 Next-Gen Learning Environments on May 17, 2012, at Noon, U.S. Pacific Time. We’ll discuss the findings of a recent survey on incorporating next-generation computing devices and mobile learning in K-12 education.

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Texas Schools Build New Learning Models for STEM Subjects

You probably saw the headlines about the devastating tornadoes that swept through the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area a few weeks ago. Our hearts go out to those who suffered damage.

As the Lancaster area of the storm-hit region undergoes its recovery, I recently read that at least its public school students have much to look forward to in the months ahead. Lancaster schools recently announced a plan to create a “STEM District”—a union of schools committed to systematically changing teaching practices to promote state-of-the-art education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. It’s an exciting opportunity for the historically economically disadvantaged district to become a national model for teaching these critical topics. Read More »

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Virtual Fieldtrips: Connecting students to culture, geography and the world

Ah, the fieldtrip! Brings back memories, doesn’t it? Well, actually, the memory I always recall is not entirely a happy one. Sure the zoo was fun, but what I remember most was the bus breaking down, the monkey hitting my friend in the eye with a butterscotch candy and a dark-haired boy promptly throwing up when we walked into the hippo area. It was still fun, though, to get out of school for the day and explore what we were learning hands on. An opportunity for real-life engagement in the learning process. Unfortunately, with budget struggles, time constraints and often just a school’s rural location, fieldtrips are few and far between for many schools.

More and more schools, however, as I’ve written before, are finding ways to take virtual fieldtrips (or VFTs) allowing students to participate in the same live, interactive experience without bus rides, transportation costs and loss of instructional time. Read More »

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