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Elevating the Learning Experience through Mobile Collaboration

It’s no secret that new technologies are changing the way students learn. The modern classroom is no longer confined to a physical space and students have access to greater educational opportunities than ever before.

Much like video has created new models for learning; mobile video collaboration is extending the boundaries of education even more. Imagine a school where students can instant message a professor from their tablet with an urgent question about tomorrow’s test and get an immediate response, or where a student athlete headed to a competition can join a lecture from their own personal mobile device. By overcoming space and time challenges, students and faculty can connect to the people and resources they need from wherever they are. No longer is education confined to the walls of the classroom. Read More »

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A Half Million Likes on Facebook: Cisco Networking Academy Uses Social Media to Engage and Educate

Hilal_ChoumanThis post was written by Hilal Chouman, social media strategist for Cisco Networking Academy

Since late 2009, Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad), one of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, has been present on various social media networks. The earliest presence was on the rising social network of that time: Facebook.

In late 2010, NetAcad’s Facebook page hit its first 100,000 likes. After this milestone, the Facebook page continued its growth, following the growth of the number of students in the NetAcad program.

Today, NetAcad’s Facebook page hit a half million likes (fans).

Cisco Networking Academy 500K Fans

It is amazing how a social presence can accelerate in content and size, as soon as it grasps the right connection with the audience.

Read More »

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Hershey Teams Up with Cisco to Deliver Telepresence to Students in Ghana

April 29, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

I’ve always liked The Hershey Company. Before now it was mostly for the delicious morsels they stack candy shelves with, but now I’m even more impressed with the company because of what it’s doing for the underprivileged youth in both the U.S. and Ghana.

In the summer of 2012, Cisco’s own Ed Schermerhorn worked with Hershey to help deliver telepresence to 80 elementary students in the U.S. and Ghana. The goal of the project? To provide an enriched educational experience by creating a collaborative learning environment where students were provided with curriculum developed by teachers in both Hershey, Pennsylvania and Ghana.

It’s such an interesting story and quite an adventure Ed went on. To hear more about his journey, read about it first hand in Ed’s latest post: A Delicious Experience: Connecting Kids in Rural Ghana with Kids at Hershey’s via Telepresence

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Systematic Transformation: The Intersection with Technology in a Journey Toward the Future– Part Four of Six

April 24, 2013 at 9:55 am PST

Single Student LabPart Four of a Six-Part Series: Modernizing Teaching and Learning in the U.S.

Part four will focus on the critical role education leaders play in the intersection of technology and the future of learning.  Previous parts of this series included:

  1. The Need for Change
  2. Challenges in Changing the System
  3. Systematic Change and Navigating Culture

Higher education leaders know that in addition to addressing their culture, they also need to modernize teaching and learning. The most innovative educators are using new technologies to do this. But rather than implementing technology for technology’s sake, these educators are closely examining their current modes of curriculum and instruction, and thoughtfully implementing technology where it makes the most sense and can have the greatest impact.

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A Delicious Experience: Connecting Kids in Rural Ghana with Kids at Hershey’s via Telepresence

I am often asked what it takes to create a successful telepresence experience. Usually, I respond with requirements like: a high-speed network, great lighting, good acoustic space and the right equipment. However, after a trip I took late last year, I’m going to add “stable power” to the list, and here’s why.

In late 2011, my customer The Hershey Company – you may have heard of them – invited me to be involved with a new project they were kicking off with the goal to enrich the education of underprivileged youth in both the U.S. and Ghana. Hershey wanted to create a common, virtual classroom so 80 elementary students could learn together based on a curriculum developed by teachers in both Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Ghana. The obstacle they faced was how to connect the students, which ultimately led to my visit to Ghana.

Throughout the summer of 2012, I worked with the Hershey Telepresence support team to equip a space at the Milton S. Hershey Foundation headquarters with a C90 codec, two Precision HD cameras, an AudioScience Microphone array, a document camera and some displays. The plan was to duplicate this setup at the Assin Fosu school in Ghana. The ever-revealing reality of a “less than ideal” environment for telepresence required scaling back the Ghana design to an SX20 codec, one display, two microphones and a document camera. The endpoints at both locations were then registered to a VCS Expressway to enable firewall traversal and easy connections across the public Internet.

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