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Universities Adjust to Teaching a Different Kind of College Freshman

February 8, 2012 at 5:14 am PST

There’s a different kind of college freshman on university campuses these days. According to EdWeek’s report on The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 survey, today’s freshman bears more of the cost of his or her own education than did past first-year college students, and, as a high school senior, today’s freshman paid more attention to his or her studies than those who came before.

So what does this mean for colleges?

For one, today’s students’ higher academic engagement could translate into demand for more innovative, challenging courses. But with the survey showing more students taking out large student loans as their parents’ unemployment rates remain stagnant, universities cannot raise tuition price tags to hire more faculty to develop new classes. President Obama said as much in his January 24 State of the Union address, mandating that schools use tools like “better technology” to improve their course offerings without raising costs. Read More »

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Interactive Video Transforming Teaching and Learning

Cisco recently hosted two customer roundtable discussions on the topic of “interactive video and how is being used in teaching and learning” for K-12 and higher education. There has been much interest in the benefits of using video in teaching and learning,  and as schools, colleges and universities are adopting it more broadly to expand curriculum options,  we are seeing a positive impact on student outcomes. K12 moderator, Alan November, discusses how the  “flipped classroom” model is improving student test scores and the role of video technology as a key enabler.

It’s well worth your time to listen to these very interesting discussions and best practices sharing with our panelists:

  • K-12 Schools: Dr. Susan Holliday, Education Technology Director, Capistrano Unified School District, and Matt Grose, Deer River Public Schools, hosted by Alan November, November Learning
  • Higher Education: Link Alexander, Vice Chancellor Technology Services, Lone Star College System, and James Web, CIO, West Texas A& M University, hosted by John Halpin, Center for Digital Education
  • Cisco Director of Engineering, Chris Barwick, discusses Cisco Lecture Vision and  state-of-the-art technologies available from Cisco to capture, transform and share class lectures

Read More »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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