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Realize the Promise of BYOD with the Next Generation Education Workspace

February 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm PST

Can 1 +1 really = 3 (or more)?  Consider the opportunity presented by the thoughtful convergence of BYOD and virtual desktop technologies.

BYOD is one of the most important trends in education technology today. However, many BYOD initiatives are limited to providing personal devices with basic network connectivity via the campus Wi-Fi network. Traditional virtual desktops (VDI) are not new in education. Historically, VDI has allowed the delivery of non-persistent desktops, primarily to thin clients.

Through the Cisco Unified Workspace for Education, schools, colleges and universities can now provide next generation education workspaces that are virtual, social, mobile and collaborative. The Cisco Unified Workspace for Education integrates the Cisco BYOD and Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solutions to provide students, faculty, and staff with the flexibility of using any device to access any information, any application, and any expertise—from anywhere.

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Pinning Down Pinterest Best Practices

Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.

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Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.

Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
  • Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
  • Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
  • Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
  • Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
  • Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)

And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:

  • Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
  • Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
  • Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
  • Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
  • Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
  • Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
  • Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)

Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:

  • Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
  • Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
  • Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.

Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!

And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program.  Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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Education 3.0 transformation workshop at BETT, London, January 31st 2013

panelBETT is the largest education event in the world, attracting some 40,000 government ministers and officials, education leaders, teachers and IT managers from around the world.  This year Cisco sponsored two sessions -- one on flipped classrooms and the other on education transformation, and on which I was a panel member and chaired by my colleague Hania Baramki. Dr Najla from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Chris Hummerstone, a UK head teacher at  the Arnewood School, and Anne Gilleran, pedagogical lead for European SchoolNet’s eTwinning programme each spoke to transformation from a country perspective, an individual school perspective, and from the viewpoint of a pan-European context. I drew the common themes together after the three presentations and emphasised what was important. All spoke about the importance of starting with a vision, but a vision alone is not enough; it is crucial to envision what this vision would look like in practice, so that you  know when that vision is on the way to being realised.

It is also clear the value of prior knowledge about what has worked, where significant challenges exist , and how to develop an effective decision making process, are crucial in the process. This prior knowledge come from academic research and anecdotal evidence, which need to be made readily available in formats that are well documented and accessible to everyone from education leaders, school principals, teacher and parents, and involve learners. Informal discussions are also of significant value either in person or through online communities.

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A Six-Part Series: Transforming Higher Education in the US

February 1, 2013 at 11:02 am PST

This six-part series will focus on transformation of the traditional higher education system in the United States.  While a topic that causes some anxiety for higher education leaders, there is no choice but to change.  The question is how colleges and universities across the country will go about that change and the role that technology can play in facilitation and accelerating transformation.  This series will focus on:

  1. AM73672The Need for Change
  2. Challenges in Changing the System
  3. Systematic Change and Navigating Culture
  4. Modernizing Teaching and Learning
  5. Scaling Best Practices
  6. Recommendations

Part 1 – The Need for Change
Across the nation, colleges and universities are being challenged to transform their systems of higher learning.  While each institution is different, all share common problems: They must contend with outdated teaching methods, crushing budget pressures, and the need to deliver a relevant education that adequately and effectively prepares the workforce of the future.  As a result, educators are being faced with the need to make significant revisions to less-than-optimal systems, in an environment that is dictating that change needs to be made. Institutions that adapt to these imperatives will thrive, while those that are incapable of change will meet their demise.

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Education Systems Continue Exchange at Education World Forum in London

My first blog entry from the Education World Forum (EWF) reported how the powerful opening presentations challenged this high powered conference. By the half-way mark we have been given a fascinating snapshot of the issues and opportunities facing education systems all around the world.

Two founding presentations have set the tone for much of the event: from Russell Quaglia, the US’s foremost authority on student aspirations,  on the importance of valuing student voice not only to encourage and motivate the individual learner, but also to help drive education systems; and from Andreas Schleicher of OECD on the importance of developing 21st century skills to meet the challenges of a radically changing employment market where the need for routine manual skills is rapidly disappearing, and individuals will need to change jobs much more frequently.

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