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Scaling Education Innovation, the Mooresville Summer Connection 2012

August 8, 2012 at 8:34 am PST

Innovation is alive and well in education. You don’t have to look far to find teachers using technology to personalize teaching and learning in their classrooms. There are also many outstanding examples of schools of distinction that have integrated technology into curriculum and instruction. However, there are precious few examples of school districts that are systemically employing technology as a foundational strategy to improve student achievement. That’s why the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) stands out as a shining example of 21st century education and why their recently concluded Summer Connection 2012 institute is so important.

A vision of “every child, every day”, digital resources and a culture of caring are keys to the success of the Mooresville Digital Conversion. However, reform does not happen without leadership. Mooresville is fortunate to be led by one of the most innovative educators in American education today. Listen as Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of the MGSD describes the impetus and impact of Mooresville Digital Conversion.

MGSD ranks 100 out of 115 North Carolina school districts in funding yet ranks 2nd in student achievement and its graduation rate is also the 2nd highest in the state. Can these results be replicated in other districts? Is there a way to scale the Mooresville model? That’s where Summer Connection comes in.

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#smtraining Twitter Chat Recap

It’s been a whirlwind week for the Cisco Social Media Business Group. We completed a 2-month, internal core course series, that included over 30 introductory to advanced level offerings for employees. And we held our first @CiscoSocial #smtraining Twitter chat with @petra1400, @christyjpark,  and myself (@elhoust) just yesterday! We appreciate everyone’s participation and insights!

Building on our initial training blog post, Twitter chat framing, and 13 tips and tricks post,  here are some of the interesting key takeaways.  For those that would like to access the #smtraining Twitter chat transcript, here is a handy link.

@CiscoSocial #smtraining Twitter Chat Key Takeaways Read More »

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Is Keyboarding in the Classroom Archaic?

I was on one of my tech teacher forums – where I keep up-to-date on changes in education and technology – and stumbled into a heated discussion about what grade level is best to begin the focus on typing (is fifth grade too old – or too young?).

Several teachers shared that keyboarding was the cornerstone of their elementary-age technology program. Others confessed their Admin wanted it eliminated as unnecessary. Still others dismissed the discussion as moot: Tools like Dragon Speak (the standard in speech recognition software) and iPhone’s wildly-popular Siri mean keyboarding will soon be as useful as cursive and floppy discs.

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Katy ISD: “Re-Inventing” Education

Forty-three years ago my parents sat on their couches in front of a black and white snowy television. They watched intently as Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the surface of the moon. Fifteen years later, they bore witness to the invention of the first Macintosh personal computer. Five years after that, they stood by as the Internet was made available to the public. Last night, I watched as my mom used her iPhone to connect to an Apple TV unit via Wi-Fi. In doing this, she was able to flip through online Netflix movies on our Television. In the past 50 years, technology has evolved exponentially; the world and its inhabitants have evolved with it.

I am a student at the University of Oregon and a Cisco intern. Currently, I support Cisco’s Education Marketing Team. This blog portrays my thoughts on the technological transformation to a BYOD teaching model made by the Katy Independent School District.  I will also discuss my perspective on why technology in teaching and learning is a natural and important step in the “re-invention” of the traditional education model.

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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

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