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Connecting Every School in America To High – Speed broadband

September 5, 2013 at 7:55 am PST

In every school district in America today, educators are faced with a simple, yet critically important, question.  How do we obtain, implement, and integrate transformative technology into all of our schools and classrooms?

Some districts have embraced technology and put mobile and collaborative devices in the hands of students.   In The Katy School District in Texas, for instance, performance on math tests increased from 70th to 90th percentile following adoption of mobile technologies and devices. Similarly, in the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, the district increased levels of competency in all subject areas from 60 percent to over 85 percent, and graduation rates increased by 22 percent.

But in too many schools and school districts today, the promise of connected classrooms is just that – a promise, and not reality.

That’s why it’s so critical that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) modernize and streamline the E-Rate program.  E-Rate is the cornerstone of America’s effort to provide digital education to students.  Since the program’s inception 15 years ago, E-Rate has connected more than 100,000 schools and libraries to the internet. It has a proven track record of success.

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ISTE 2013: The Idea Incubator

We attended ISTE 2013 this year and came away filled with ideas and excited about a bright future of technology in education. One of the most inspirational takeaways was from the keynote speech by Steven Johnson, “Where Good Ideas Come From”.

Kevin talked about the evolution of ideas. Contrary to popular belief, the best ideas aren’t a light bulb going off, they take time to mature and develop. He defined this as the “slow hunch”, the source of true creativity. Furthermore, ideas are usually not single and solitary, but are built on a network of other ideas. Within this incubator of ideas, connections and collaboration become more and more important, both for development and implementation.

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Innovation is Standard at Idaho Education Network

July 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm PST

For the last four or five years, I’ve watched as the Idaho Education Network (IEN) has implemented and reaped the benefits from their distance education program and use of video conferencing, or telepresence. To this day, they continue to improve on success, and during a session at ISTE 2013 last week, Brady Kraft and his team once again illustrated how they consistently stay on top of their game.

Brady Kraft, IEN, presents at ISTE 2013

Brady Kraft, IEN’s Technical Director, presents at ISTE 2013

IEN is a statewide network that connects every school in the state, including higher education institutions, Internet2, private and public training providers, and first responder training organizations.

One of their mandated goals is to provide equal access to a quality education for all citizens and they’re utilizing technology to achieve that goal. As the 7th  most rural state in the nation, half of the counties in Idaho have less than 10 people per square mile, and 75% of Idaho’s schools have < 600 students. These schools havenot been able to offer a full curriculumdue to many factors, including availability of qualified teachers and budgetary restraints. Read More »

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The Next Generation of the Internet

We’re moving quickly into the next phase of the Internet, and that space is being created by the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI), sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Open and broadly inclusive, the GENI research project is designing an updated replacement for the current Internet. A new frontier would include faster data speeds, new approaches to network security, and a wide range of new features and functionality. And because it’s open, this virtual laboratory offers opportunities for researchers to test new network strategies at scale, without disrupting Internet traffic. By taking “virtual slices” (entire virtual networks running on the same physical infrastructure), many different versions of a new Internet can operate in parallel.

So how are engineers playing in this digital sandbox?

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Breaking Down Barriers to Learning with Video – Featured Sessions at ISTE 2013

June 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm PST

Colleges and universities continually innovate to address the changing demands on them -- increased demand by millenials for virtual offerings, pressure to keep costs down, and the changing needs of the community for a skilled workforce. These demands combined with ongoing resource constraints -- limited budgets, classroom space and faculty resources -- consistently drive the need for new delivery methods. We have seen many universities expand offerings and reach with distance learning, online learning and most recently MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The most successful programs have proven to be hybrid offerings, where students receive face-to-face instruction or guidance in addition to their independent study.

How One University is Changing the Rules Read More »

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