Even though I grew up surrounded by engineers and technology in Silicon Valley, I didn’t decide to seriously study science until my freshman year in college, when I switched my major from economics to theoretical mathematics at the suggestion of my calculus professor. That was the first time a teacher told me I had a strong aptitude for math and encouraged me to expand my idea of what kinds of studies and careers to pursue. Mentors are widely recognized as being a key factor in helping girls decide to study science and technology. This is especially true in developing counties where there are traditionally fewer professional female role models. Cisco is a champion for educating girls and women in technology and understands the importance of mentors early in a girl’s academic career. This is why 70 Cisco offices in 52 countries are putting on events for International Girls in ICT Day, introducing students to successful professionals and encouraging them to study science and technology.
Indian Prairie School district, the third largest school district in Illinois, conducted an in-depth investigation to develop an execution plan to adopt Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium guidelines and meet the Common Core State Standards head-on. Their execution plan took them beyond the basic requirements of online testing to providing a secure, borderless learning environment for a variety of devices, over wired and wireless.
Not only was this a great opportunity for them to upgrade their network to meet the state and national testing standards, but also to lay the foundation for any future requirements as technological advances are rapidly changing the education landscape.
- Meet the computer-based testing requirements under PARCC
- Provide a borderless learning environment through mobile and online learning
- A stable infrastructure that can meet the dynamic network demand
- Prepare for the growing importance of technology in classrooms, wired and wireless, with trends such as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) as well as an increased use of district-owned devices.
One of the sessions featured 4 women on a panel all who have proved to be amazing women in their fields that consist mostly of men. Liz Howard, who has been programming since she was 12 and working since 14 as a software engineer. Her job now is teaching women to code at Hackbright Academy. Tasneem Raja an interactive editor for Mother Jones’, she specializes in web app production, interactive graphic and user interface design. Natalie Villabolos the women in tech advocate at Google. Last but not least Trish Mills Gray the software development manager of the Social/User Generated Content team within Expedia Worldwide Engineering.
Their common theme during the session called Women in Tech, the importance of talking to girls at a young age and letting them know it is okay to like science and engineering. Just about all of them recounted stories of teachers telling them they didn’t think they would get an answer right and the gender bias they grew up with. Liz even encouraged us listeners to think about presents we buy or daughters, “do we really need to get them a Barbie doll, or should you change things up?” Something I had never thought about as a mother of a 6 year old. She also said to encourage young girls to watch My Little Pony, Brave and Power Puff girls. All cartoons that include strong female characters, some of them work together as a team to solve a problem.
So during this month that we are celebrating and talking about Girls in ICT and women in tech – I will pass along this advice from the panel that now spends some of their time mentoring young talent to help get them to the next level. Please continue to talk about women in tech, don’t let this be a fad, look for those instances and talk about them and celebrate them. This month my teams’ monthly magazine called FOCUS will feature Women in Technology, take a look and tell us what you think, it will be live on April 21st.
This post was written by Willa Black, Director of Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada, and was originally published on the Huffington Post.
The territory of Nunavut, Canada is incredibly cold and remote. It’s roughly a four-hour plane ride north of Toronto, with temperatures well below the freezing mark for eight months of the year, dark in the winter months and light all summer long. The communities in the north face unprecedented challenges. The school dropout rates average around 75 percent by the time students hit Grade 8. There is high incidence of youth mental health problems and suicide – the highest in the world. And yet, there is much hope and potential in this corner of our planet. And a deep, rich Inuit culture and tradition that informs us all as Canadians. When Cisco Canada set out to build a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program for Canada, it didn’t take long for us to connect the dots and understand the vital role we could play in bringing much-needed services to our most remote communities.
On April 2, Cisco Canada officially announced Connected North, a program that leverages our core competence in Internet, networking and collaboration solutions. Our first stop in the development of our strategy was Inuit Tapiriit Kunatami — the organization of the Inuit people of Canada. Their direction was clear: Find a way to make the classrooms more exciting. Help to stem the high dropout rates.
We knew video held the key.
Last year, I had the opportunity to meet with Harvard Business School Associate Professor of Business Administration Mikolaj Jan Piskorski. Prof. Piskorski had heard about the Cisco Learning Network, and decided that he wanted to learn more about Cisco’s innovative use of social strategy and our collaborative approach to IT education that addresses the challenges and opportunities of the networked economy.
The Cisco Learning Network represents a fundamental shift in education strategy for Cisco and the technology industry as a whole. The site serves as a meeting place for social learning and is a community resource designed to help new students and new customers to get into the networking industry by reinforcing the skills and competencies it takes to achieve certification. The community also offers an unprecedented model for recruiting individuals to IT careers and filling skills gaps in key technology areas.