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I’d like a side order of “tweets”, a blog, and a dozen “likes” please.

October 5, 2012 at 9:41 am PST

Like most social media users, I use sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogger, to reach out to family and friends, network with colleagues, and share personal blogs.  These venues make my social conversations both manageable and enjoyable.  However, when I sought to utilize social media as a way to market our department brand, I went from a fast food menu of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to a dizzying array of social media networks from which to select.  Google+, Chimein, Dribbble, Picasa, Pinterest, Digg, and Instagram are just the tip of the iceberg in a sea of social media networks that number in the hundreds.  Add in the many international social media networks found around the world and what were a few simple choices, became an overwhelming social media menu; and new social media networks continue to pop up faster than I could say, “I’ll have fries with that.”

With so many choices, how would I pick and choose the most effective social media networks that would provide the perfect social media options for my branding plan?  After all, part of the “mystique” is the desire to utilize the next social media network de jour.   An impossible task that would have had me spending more time on investigating every social media option rather than actually using available networks productively, so I backed away from the menu and outlined a social media strategy by asking the following questions:

  1. Who was my audience?
  2. What was the purpose of using social media?
  3. How would I dedicate and manage my time resource and stay involved?
  4. Budget – do you have one?

My audience is made up of fast moving and customer driven, professional technical teams who digest information quickly and move on.  Social media is the vehicle that would put the information I need to get into our engineers’ hands at real time speed and with interaction exchange.   I listened to their conversations and identified topics of interest and will present information in an engaging format that will enlist their attention.  Visuals, such as pics and videos, and sound bite titles, such as tweets with links, are most successful for this group.  Additionally, by employing gamification methods as a fun teaching tool, I would build awareness in a group that is often too busy to engage.  Factor in that I had both a finite amount of time I could dedicate to these resources and encourage active participation and no budget, I would have to use free, social media resources and utilize the tools they provide for metrics oversight.

Being able to answer the above questions allowed me to narrow my choices, from the many social media networks available, to purpose-specific and globally popular social media platforms.  With recognized voices such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, most of my audience was already familiar with these social media networks and would provide an easy learning curve to those who were not.

There are countless social media tools out there and not every tool works best for all business plans.  Define your social media goals and the outcome you want before you begin selecting from the social media menu and if you are still not sure what to do, invest in a social media agency.  They can assist you in defining a social media plan with the outcome you desire.

Resources:

  1. Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
  2. Building a Successful Social Media Program – Cisco Learning Catalog Course

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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Impact of Video in Education

According to Cisco’s most recent Visual Networking Index (VNI) report, video now accounts for more than 50% of all consumer Internet traffic. By 2013, 91 percent of global Internet traffic is forecast to be video. Through my work with government and education leaders from around the globe, I believe that video technologies are now viewed as a fundamental catalyst for driving education transformation in schools and universities worldwide.   Which is why I am proud to introduce a new infographic based on  Cisco’s newest thought leadership research: “ Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Challenges: The Impact of Video in the Education.”

The infographic provides a visual summary of the research report on the impact of video in education, how to strategically adopt video technologies into teaching and learning, and how to best guide students in the development of 21st century skills to prepare them for their role as global citizens. I truly believe it’s a perfect moment for educators everywhere to re-assess their use of video and to make the key decisions about how best to incorporate it into their students’ learning experience.

How will you transform your classrooms with video technologies?

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Classrooms Go Mobile to Enrich Student Learning

October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am PST

School is back in session, and from all the parents I’ve talked to, there’s been a new addition to the old school essentials list -- notebook, lunch and now,  a smartphone. We’ve reached a time where mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are entering classrooms at an accelerated rate. In fact, recent numbers in Canada showed that the back to school season is starting to rival the holiday season for buying cellphones.

In 2011, we asked nearly 3,000 college students and young professionals how fundamental they feel the Internet is. An astounding one in three respondents equated the Web’s importance with air, water, food and shelter. It’s safe to assume the younger set feels the same:  Research conducted by Project Tomorrow found that from 2009 to 2010 smartphone use for middle and high school students jumped 42 percent, so younger student are obviously adapting early expectations of anywhere, anytime online access.

If schoolchildren are using mobile devices on their own time to connect with parents and friends, it makes sense for schools to be working these devices into the learning mix, too. In fact, according to The Journal’s Mary McCaffrey, schools must go mobile to better personalize their students’ learning experiences.

Here are three ways mobile collaboration contributes to the learning environment: Read More »

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San Jose State University and the New Economics of Higher Education

Public higher education institutions in America are being squeezed with vice-like force unlike anything they’ve experienced before.  Legislatures are reducing their funding, for profit and not-for-profit competitors are proliferating and many civic and business leaders are questioning the very value of a college diploma.  University presidents and the regents or boards they serve are stuck in an “iron triangle”:  on one angle is access, their raison d’être and why their respective legislature chartered them in the first place – educate the people in our state. On the other angle is cost, which using conventional thinking rises when one provides access to the masses. The third angle is quality, which also is thought to be compromised when access – and costs – rises. What’s a university leader to do?

Invest his/her way out of the “iron triangle” and change the economics.  This is precisely what President Mohammad “Mo” Qayoumi of San Jose State University (SJSU) is doing.

Read More »

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Keeping Schools Safe in a BYOD World

It’s no secret that when schools embrace technology, students and teachers win. The introduction of digital trends, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and flipped classrooms, has engaged students and improved education. We’ve frequently referenced the success found at Katy Independent School District (KISD) with their BYOD strategy. After seeing how ingrained technology was in students’ day-to-day lives, Katy ISD launched a program that leveraged mobile devices as an educational tool. The resulting improvements in student engagement and test scores were so astounding that their strategy continues to be mirrored by schools nationwide!

However, in a BYOD world it’s even more important for schools to ensure that its infrastructure is not compromised by the mobile devices students bring into the network. IT departments are eager to implement security policies, like filtering search results and regulating network access, on all personal devices.  On top of that, schools need to continually comply with federal regulations that protect student privacy like the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Thankfully for IT professionals, Cisco understands the need for a network architecture that can grow to encompass a range of security challenges. From blocking malware and illegal sharing of copyrighted material to supporting BYOD programs and federal privacy standards, Cisco’s holistic approach solves the security needs of modern schools .

It is clear that technology is revolutionizing education and it shows no signs of slowing down. For IT professionals tasked with supporting the demands of modern learning now is the time to invest.

 

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