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

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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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer

Where do you go to find social media tips, statistics, trends, and best practices? I recently attended the Social Media for Savvy Marketers event hosted by Cisco featuring speakers from Twitter, SAP, Adobe, BuzzFeed, Salesforce.com, Percolate, and more. The two-day event brought candid conversations, interactive panel sessions, and an engaging way to learn how B2B and B2C brands are using social. When else can you hear from industry experts on the hottest trends in social media and learn best practices to leverage for your next social media campaign? If you missed out on this thought provoking event, below are my takeaways from the event.

savvy event picture 2        savvy event picture 1

5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer:

Tip #1: A Social Business Starts with your Executives: According to a social media statistic from eMarketer, “82% of employees say they trust a company more when CEO and leadership teams are involved in social.” Jeanette Gibson, Senior Director, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared that Cisco placed a monitor including a Twitter feed outside of CEO John Chamber’s office, showing the importance of the customer conversation. This was the first step Cisco made in transforming to a social business.  Additionally, Gibson noted, “Help your business to be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Scalable, Open, Consistent, Intuitive, Active, and Limitless”, showcasing the social conversation highlights of what is being said about your brand. The conversation is happening across channels and brands shouldn’t miss out.

Tip #2: Listening is the First Step of a Social Strategy: At each stage of a social media strategy, listening is critical. Before jumping into any conversation, we must pay attention to what is being said and then engage accordingly with that particular audience.  LaSandra Brill, Manager, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared the significance of listening as she discussed the importance of Social CRM. Brill noted that “85% of Tech buyers engage in some form of social activity.” Listening to what your customers are saying and are interested in allows for targeted offers to be sent to customers increasing the propensity to buy. Note: be sure to be clever vs. creepy with the targeted offers.

Tip #3: Content is King and Distribution is Queen: Creating good “snackable” content is critical to increasing the reach of the conversation. Video is quickly becoming the next generation of content as it is fun and engaging.  Matt Rozen, Group Manager Corporate Social Media of Adobe, shared his thoughts, “the best part of video is the measurable traffic. Video was just 10% of impressions, but drove 50% of site visits.” Content can engage an audience and keep them active in the conversation. On day two of the event, James Gross, Co-Founder of Percolate, advised “If we reshape how we create content, we will shift from renting audience to owning it.” Ultimately, I think Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development at Buzzfeed, summed up the idea of content most eloquently, “Content is King and distribution is queen.” Create great content and then let your fans share it. Once you have this great content, don’t forget to integrate search: include keywords, hashtags, and tagging!

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Empowering Women, One SMS at a Time

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist.

What’s the best way to accelerate economic development in the developing world? One answer is to do more to empower women. According to a 2012 World Bank report, women now make up 40 percent of the global labor force, but face major gaps in education, access to technology and economic opportunity compared to men. World Bank analysts estimate that closing those gaps could make a big difference, increasing labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries.

There are many strategies for empowering women in developing countries, but one of the most practical is to provide more access to education, especially for women business-owners. Educational content provider ChangeCorp is dedicated to doing just that by capitalizing on growing access to mobile phones. I spoke with ChangeCorp’s CEO, Louise M. Guido, about some of the company’s efforts. Read More »

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K-12 School Enables Online Learning with Cisco BYOD Solutions

Innovate education and provide differentiated curriculums utilizing BYOD with Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education.  

With 19 schools, 11,700 students, and an unreliable wireless infrastructure, Chapel Hill- Carrboro City Schools, , faced challenges in attempting to embrace BYOD. Without a pervasive wireless infrastructure, the school could not rise to meet the BYOD trend, much less create an enriched learning environment leveraging technology.

The Chapel Hill school district took its first steps into an enterprise wireless solution leveraging Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education.   With a pervasive, scalable and reliable wireless network, the school can now employ laptop carts for students to access information on the fly.  Teachers can now leverage online resources directly from the classroom, and faculty can access district networks with their own devices.

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