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.
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.
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.
London 2012 is here, schools are out and I'm reflecting on the successes of a very popular Games initiative. Cisco's promotion of STEM skills – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – has just reached a fantastic conclusion with lots to celebrate.
Two years ago, we set out to use the Games to focus and sharpen young people's STEM skills. We wanted to inspire budding scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and tomorrow's big thing. We knew students seeking to further their studies in STEM-based subjects could be boosted with a little imagination and creative thinking – plus some incentives. The debate continues, as the BBC reports a call for immediate action to boost student numbers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Some of the most compelling memories I have from my school years involve trips away to see amazing things, or special visits to the school by amazing people. I still have vivid memories of the sights, sounds and even smells of some of the fascinating places we went to, and I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach as I met my favourite author and had him personally autograph some of my most treasured books.
To me, what made these experiences successful was that they lifted my sights and gave me something to aspire to. Unfortunately for many students living in rural areas, these boundary-breaking experiences are few and far between, either because of funding constraints or simply the lack of appropriate people or places to see.