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STEM Education Must be a Hands-on Approach

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are critical to innovation and the continued development of the U.S. economy. However, trends are showing that while there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs in these fields, many students are unprepared or lack the desire necessary for employers of the future to fill these jobs effectively.

In order to get more students interested in STEM, it is imperative that they learn through hands-on training, mentoring and demonstrations early in their education. In her latest blog, Amanda Williams, Community Relations Manager at Cisco, describes the importance of getting students physically involved in STEM to spark an interest for the future. Through the launch of the Cisco US2020 STEM mentoring initiative, Cisco employees are able work with students from various schools around the U.S. The students participate in activities such as robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring. Through this program, we are able to get students excited about the opportunities to learn more about STEM fields.us2020

While we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preparing and inspiring a future generation of STEM innovators, it’s encouraging to see students enjoying the learning process this new initiative provides. Read More »

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Exploring 2014 Digital and Social Media Trends

#Ciscosmt November 21st Twitter Chat

#Ciscosmt November 21st Twitter Chat

It’s hard to believe another calendar year is coming to an end less than 2 months. I’m amazed at the pace of which digital and social media continue to evolve and get excited when I think of what 2014 might bring in the way of further surprises.

As we continue to plan for the coming year and look for ways to continue growing the Cisco Social Media Training and Enablement program, I’ve been researching various 2014 digital and social media trends. From the “Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That will Dominate 2014” (from @Forbes) to the “6 Social Media Trends That will Impact You in 2014” (from @B2Community), there is a lot of speculation to weed through. Read More »

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Education Embraces the Mobility Excitement

November 4, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

Let’s examine and consider mobile devices in education. Students need to become more tech savvy to compete in today’s economy, and mobile devices offer supplemental learning and a new style to learn. A recent report noted that educators see great potential in mobile technology for transforming learning. The most commonly expected and desired benefits are that mobile technology is engaging for students (62 percent of respondents) and that the devices can be used to personalize instruction to meet the needs of different students. There is no question educational institutions need to seize this mobility trend for better learning and to ensure our next generation is tech savvy.

Does your child’s school provide mobile devices for their learning or does it require your child to bring their own mobile device? I know in my case, my son’s school has a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Yet some schools, whether higher education or primary or secondary schools, have made the decision to buy mobile devices for their student population. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the United States, headed down this path to offer all students and teachers Apple iPads — only to find some challenges like unseen costs, secure access issues, and unclear policies. Others, like Bucks County School District in Pennsylvania and McAllen School District in Texas, have enjoyed the benefits of providing mobile device usage (whether BYOD or school sanctioned) in a simple and secure manner in the education environment by leveraging Cisco infrastructure.

The use of mobile devices by young children, whether it be for education or entertainment, has soared. A new report from Common Sense Media, a child-advocacy group based in San Francisco, found that 17 percent of children 8 and younger use mobile devices daily, up from 8 percent in 2011. I am guessing that education and entertainment will continue to drive this number each year. What is your opinion on schools using mobile devices? Is this the shiny new penny to improve our education systems? And as an IT professional, what is your experience with the mobility and secure access considerations?

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How Can we Keep Skills In Step with the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a major accelerator for innovation of all industries and government. The idea of an increasingly digital world where mobility of applications and people are commonplace, where all types of things are connected and provide more intelligence and value is becoming the new reality.

Every industry vertical is leveraging this global phenomenon and the latest advances in Internet technology to increase innovation in an increasingly competitive world. We now see areas such as discrete and process manufacturing, retail, and other areas using IP network-based automation to improve safety on the factory floor, increase accuracy and speed of production and provide better intelligence through data analytics. Cities, communities and utilities are being connected to improve energy use, reduce congestion and create a better living environment for residents. Health care providers are virtualizing health care services to reach remote patients and provide the best possible care. Cisco expects more than 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020 in this paradigm, which will translate to a $14 trillion dollar opportunity for the global economy. Read More »

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Educause 2013: It’s All About Engagement

Educause 2013 brought together the country’s greatest minds in higher education to discuss the future of learning. We’ve come away from this year’s conference with a lot to think about – the role of mobile devices in the classroom, new technology implementations and turning the traditional classroom upside down. But throughout all of these different discussions, the common thread throughout the conference was engagement.

At the Cisco booth, we featured solutions that can help engage students through the use of video.  Cisco partner Vyopta demonstrated how Cisco® Lecture Vision and Vyopta vPublish, work together to manage the entire lecture-capture process, from recording content to managing media assets to streaming on demand. Read how San Jose State University is using this tool to deliver 51 next-generation learning spaces across campus.

Read More »

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