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iPad Mini Launches – How will it and others impact education?

October 26, 2012 at 9:27 am PST

As we look seriously at connected learning, the influx of notebooks and mobile learning applications has been astounding. This week, in fact, Apple took over much of the news with the launch of its iPad Mini. In the previous weeks leading up to this launch, I heard and read discussions around education being a key target audience for this new iPad offering, which renewed my intrigue in the use of handheld devices & mobile learning.

Bloomberg discussed the rise in iPads being used in the classrooms due to its “cool factor” and ability to encourage students to learn by increasing engagement. More than 2,500 classrooms currently utilize iPads as learning tools, and this number is expected to increase with the continued growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District in Texas was quoted saying, “We’re moving away from desktops and laptops. Ninety percent of the work is now being done on mobile devices.”

Think about that for a minute -- ninety percent -- wow. With mobile learning amongst Forbes recent list of Five Technologies to Watch, it is obviously only going to increase in momentum. In addition, the potential revolution in digital textbooks is primed to change the entire landscape. The jury is still out on when that revolution will take place, but it’s looking more and more like a reality.

Are you, or do you know, an educator who is formatting educational materials for mobile devices and planning learning activities that leverage multimedia, videoconferencing and other features of smart phones and tablets? Tell us your story! (and what you think of the new iPad mini)

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How Do You Take Control of BYOD and Create a True Unified Workspace?

October 19, 2012 at 8:58 am PST

Want to know how to make sure your network is secure & meets compliance all while enabling a successful BYOD program?

OK, I admit that I’ve always been a techie wannabe, however I never quite made it to true techie level. So when the buzz around BYOD and unified workspace started a couple years ago, I was intrigued, and as it has built momentum and taken hold in so many organizations, I have taken an interest in understanding how it really works. Obviously, security, visibility and control are the big concerns, and to understand how those concerns are met, I found this video on Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) really helpful:

Read More »

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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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