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CyberPatriot Competition Kicks-Off with a Bright Start

The sixth season of the National CyberPatriot Competition kicked off back in November, and the National Finals are coming up: March 26th – 29th. Conceived by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot is a premier Internet defense competition designed to excite, educate, and motivate the next generation of network defenders, which are critical to our nation’s security. It is the largest high school cyber defense competition in the United States, with two divisions:

  • Open Division – Open to an accredited public or private institutions, registered home school associations, and community organizations like the Boy Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
  • All Service Division – Open to students in Junior ROTC programs, Civil Air Patrol squadrons, and Naval Sea Cadet units. Read More »

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Bringing Back Music Education to Our Schools

While many are arguing the existence of a comeback in liberal arts education, too many public schools are seeing a decline in arts education due to budget and resource cuts. The benefits of music and arts education are well documented, but we continue to see schools losing music programs.

Unfortunately, cutting music programs in public schools tends to impact low-income students disproportionately, as private access is available to those who can afford and support it. However, people and technology are making a difference and finding a way to bring music education to schools in new ways. Read More »

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Cisco Supports Goals of Presidential Initiative to Connect More Schools and Libraries to the Internet

Cisco – with more than 15 years of experience in implementing technology solutions in K-12 schools — strongly supports the goals of President Obama’s initiative to connect more schools and libraries to the Internet, and at faster speeds.

We understand that technology is changing the world.  Our children aren’t just competing against the kids down the street for a spot in college or a job, but with children around the world.  So our children need to have cutting-edge technology in their hands and access to the vast amounts of information at their fingertips.

That’s where the federal “E-rate” program comes in.  E-rate provides discounts for Internet access and internal networking for schools and libraries across America.  Since its inception 15 years ago, E-rate has helped connect over 100,000 schools to the Internet in all 50 states.  Its impact on the education of our nation’s school children has been nothing short of incredible. Read More »

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Special Needs School Uses Technology to Prepare Students for the Future

Berkshire Union Free School District (UFSD) isn’t your typical educational facility. It is located in Canaan, NY where poverty rates are over 90% and 85% of its students have special needs. Berkshire USFD provides an education to young men, ages 12-18, who have been classified as emotionally or learning disabled and have been unsuccessful at their local district due to poverty or a failed educational experience.

Although Berkshire UFSD is a specialized school, it is held to the same retention and graduation standards as other public schools. They realized that, in order to create an impactful program, they were going to need some assistance.

The Challenge

  • Offer education alternatives for at-risk students
  • Train special education students with technology
  • Improve graduation rates
  • Increase entry-level job acceptance for special education students

With these challenges in mind paired with about a year of research, Berkshire UFSD invested in the Cisco® Networking Academy. The Network Academy is Cisco’s largest corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. It, partnered with organizations to provide a digital learning environment for students.

The Solution

  • Prepare teacher with training to introduce new IT courses
  • Certify students with IT training programs
  • Implement job training rather than simple traditional education

Following the installation of Networking Academy, 100% of Berkshire UFSD’s students participating in the program passed the IT Essentials course, and had an 85% pass rate for online exams.

With support from the student’s families and the community, the school plans to expand the program to give additional students the opportunity to become college or career-ready in the field of technology.

“We learn every day from our challenges and our successes. The Cisco Networking Academy has given us one more tool to assist our students in becoming contributing members of society.” –  Bruce Potter, Berkshire UFSD superintendent

Read the entire case study on Berkshire UFSD, and let us know how your school is using technology to meet student needs.

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Using Advanced Technology to Build a 21st Century University Experience

Tom Hull at TechConnect

Florida Polytechnic University Vice President and CIO Tom Hull joined Cisco Vice President Pat Finn via TelePresence at the CSN Tech Connection at the College of Southern Nevada on January 15th.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s Chief Information Officer, my job is to ensure the University uses modern and emerging technologies to offer our students experiential learning opportunities. The higher education industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in which technology for teaching and learning is a part of the educational ecosystem and something that students expect. At Florida Poly, we need to use these technologies to give students the best learning experience possible.

Our Vision for the Future

Florida Poly’s vision is to be a bright star in the high-tech corridor we’re building in Central Florida, creating a Silicon Valley-like environment. We’re going to accomplish this vision by building an extremely modern campus (probably the most modern in the United States) with technologically advanced features available to students and faculty. In addition to the features our campus itself will offer, we have applied research, a bright faculty leading advanced programs and higher education partnerships with industry organizations to help us accomplish our mission and vision.

Our university’s architecture will be student-centric, and our technological foundation will be a Florida Poly cloud that includes all emerging technology in the world of higher education. This cloud will be accessible to both students and faculty and will feature a student information system that will provide an easy way for students, faculty and staff to obtain resources. This cloud will also include a virtual library environment that has access to digital databases and research repositories, essentially replacing the traditional library system. Read More »

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