Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Education

Telepresence Can Build Bridges Between Young Learners

February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am PST

Two classes of New Jersey middle school students recently enjoyed a unique opportunity for exchange with their peers. From neighboring towns, the eighth graders live worlds away from each other demographically—one town is largely affluent and white, while the other is mostly low income with a predominately black and Hispanic population. Each class studied John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and they visited each other’s schools to discuss perceptions of the novel.

As reported in The New York Times, the students at both middle schools found the interaction with their counterparts eye-opening and rewarding, both in terms of literary analysis and cultural understanding. The ability to see the text—and life—from a different perspective fostered a rich educational experience.

With telepresence and other collaborative technologies, students are able to mimic the exchange in which the New Jersey youth participated, except they could share ideas with and experience the cultures of peers not only across town boundaries, but also across state lines and country borders. Telepresence enables a real-time, high-definition connection that allows for a quality of conversation comparable to in-person interaction, creating a unified classroom across geographies. The telepresence set-up establishes an environment that feels inclusive and intimate—the students would feel as though they had traveled to each other’s schools. They could see the detail in each other’s settings, in clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and other aesthetics that make up parts of a culture. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Could Grade-Schoolers Develop Cutting Edge Mobile Video Technology?

January 30, 2012 at 10:48 am PST

A while back, we asked what features you think would make up a good video collaboration app for smartphones and mobile devices.

Do you have your list?

If so, you should submit it to this team of primary school students in Sutton Coldfield, England. The youngsters take part in an after school computer club, during which they design apps for smartphones and tablets. They’ve already come up with sound effects and “painting” programs; could video be next? Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

e-Learning Technology: Promoting Creativity and Collaboration… On a Budget

January 27, 2012 at 10:49 am PST

When speaking with our customers and prospects in the K-12 community, we hear time and again that budget restrictions are a daily reality.

At the same time, these educators fully understand that in order to prepare the next generation for success in the 21st century economy, a “mixed” learning environment (where new, innovative technologies are incorporated into more traditional curriculum) helps to better engage students and improve academic performance.

From the boardroom to the barroom, American citizens, including President Obama, instinctively know that our K-12 public education system needs to be invigorated. From the President’s State of the Union address this week:

Give [schools] the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test.

Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

BYOD or 1:1 Computing in K-12? The CTO’s Weigh In…

Significant technology developments continue to hit the USA K-12 market.

With Apple’s digital textbook announcement last week, we are now likely to see more acceleration of the spread of new student devices. Is this major announcement by the company that rapidly transformed computing, music and mobility the boost schools need to drive toward the promise of digital technology for all students? And what’s the resulting impact on device and computing trends in K-12?

On the topic of devices, we asked two of our leading K-12 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) customers to give us their opinions. BYOD? 1:1? What’s the better course to pursue? The answer would make Nike proud. While both noted device and equity issues one way or another, all said simply” “Just do it!”. What’s even more interesting – it wasn’t actually all about the device.

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Flipping the Classroom – Is it Really all About Technology?

January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am PST

Los Gatos High School, located in Los Gatos, California, recently switched to block scheduling, effectively decreasing the number of school days by 15 a year.  For science teacher, Steve Hammack, what began as a way to provide students with the lecture content they would necessarily need to pass his courses in the face of a decreased number of school days, has ended up as a new model for students to learn massive amounts of information for his AP Biology and Physics classes.  For a technology fan who spends her days at Cisco Systems focused on educators who are using technology to improve learning outcomes, I was intrigued.

I quickly became aware of Mr. Hammack’s approach when I walked into my teenage son’s bedraggled bedroom and heard a familiar voice emanating from the direction of his PC.  It sounded like someone I’d met at back-to-school night.  My son, Joe, a senior at Los Gatos, was reclined in his chair, feet up on his bed, notebook on his lap, busily listening to the voice and taking copious notes.  As I entered his room, Joe clicked a pause button and asked, “What’s up?”  “What’s up with you?  What are you doing?”  He pointed to his screen and said, “Listening to my biology lecture for Mr. Hammack’s class.  We do this every night, then we have a quiz or test every day when we come into class.” Interested, I said, “Tell me more.  Do you like it?”

Read More »

Tags: , , ,