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.
Video is not new in education. However, we continue to see innovative educators evolve their practice with new applications of video enabled teaching and learning. The Flipped Classroom is one of the hottest trends in education today and an example of how video technologies can serve as a catalyst for education transformation.
We spoke with Flipped Classroom creators, Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams at ISTE 2012. Listen as they discuss the benefits of the Flipped Classroom and offer tips to help you begin to flip your class.
Jon and Aaron’s sessions in the Cisco Connected Classroom at ISTE 2012, were jam-packed. If you were not able to take in these sessions at ISTE, you’re in luck! We recorded the sessions and are pleased to make them available.
Encouraging highly successful nonprofits to collaborate with each other on shared goals can often be a challenge. Part of their success hinges on laser-like execution of their own program and on getting results. But occasionally, two programs are so complementary that the combination greatly magnifies what they could ever achieve on their own. Cisco has been a longtime partner and supporter of bothCity Year, an education-focused nonprofit working in underserved schools, and MIND Research Institute, provider of innovative math learning software. Both held admirably strong track records with their approaches. City Year places young volunteers in schools to assist with multi-subject tutoring, before, during, and after school, in a Whole School, Whole Child approach. City Year staff measure their results by tracking what they call the ABCs: attendance, behavior, and classroom performance in literacy and math.
Photo courtesy of City Year
MIND Research provides ST Math, a set of cloud-based learning games for K-12. These games are non-language based, which has helped students succeed in learning math regardless of their language of origin, gender, and even, in some cases, learning disabilities. Two years ago, it occurred to Cisco’s Community Relations lead, Ricardo Benavides, that combining the programs in the same underserved Alum Rock district schools in the San Jose, California area might lead to even better outcomes. Read More »