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What Helps Students Love Math?

multiply impact on students math skills

Photo courtesy of MIND Research Institute

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 both City 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 »

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Cisco Social Media #smtraining Twitter Chat

Cisco #smtraining Twitter Chat

Cisco #smtraining Twitter Chat

As social media continues to grow and gain even more momentum, organizations need to find ways to empower their best brand ambassadors with the right tools and to create more impact.  From creating guidelines, to setting as examples, to training others, there are many ways organizations can enable their employees.

In a recent blog post “Creating a Social Media Training Program that Works”, we outlined a social media training program we’ve implemented at Cisco. Now that it’s in place, we want to hear from you, share more insights, and exchange new ideas.

Join @petra1400, @elhoust, and @christyjpark for a  special @CiscoSocial Twitter chat on Thursday, August 2 from 9-10a.m. PDT, following the #smtraining hashtag directly on Twitter or another Twitter application. We will dive into the following areas and encourage everyone to participate in the lively discussion!

  • Setting the social media training strategy
    • What goes into it?
    • How does it work?
    • Who’s involved?
  • Creating the appropriate content
    • What’s the framework?
    • What’s in it for the participant?
    • How does the content come together?
  • Sustaining the program
    • How is it maintained?
    • What are key tips to keep in mind?
    • What does it take to implement the program?

Let’s get the conversation started before the @CiscoSocial #smtraining Twitter chat. Share your ideas (through the comment section below or on Twitter using #smtraining) regarding ways your organization is including social media training or pose questions you would like to ask the panelists. We look forward to your participation and lively discussion!

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Dr. Mark Edwards Talk On Student Achievement Gains at Mooresville GSD

For a shining example of public education in the United States, watch the talk that Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, gave at the recent ISTE Conference in San Diego. Yes, Mooresville is a Cisco customer, and yes, how they have used technology to improve student outcomes is big part of their success story (Dr. Edwards has the metrics to prove it). But the real key to their effectiveness as a high-performing public school is the holistic approach they take to educating “every child, every day”, their “can do” attitude, and “culture of caring” that Mark and his team have created at Mooresville.

Watch the video of Dr. Edward’s ISTE presentation — it runs just under an hour and is well worth your time.

Most exciting to me is that  so much of Mooresville’s approach is replicable.  Dr. Edwards is writing a book and I hope every educator, and prospective educator in the country buys a copy.

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Virtualization: Enabling Availability and Efficiency in Higher Education

Imagine a school where computer labs are obsolete. Imagine if every student had their own personalized workspace, without having to rely on their school’s computers. Imagine if schools or colleges could avoid upgrading, maintaining, and housing thousands of computer units; network administrators could update programs and information available on every student’s device with the click of a button, and students could use their personalized desktops at anytime from anywhere. Many institutions around the world are beginning to embrace technologies that transform this dream into a reality, and often times, this transformation is one made out of necessity.

I’m currently third year student at the University of Oregon and a Cisco intern. I support Cisco’s Education Marketing Team. While at Cisco, I’ve been able to observe many forward-thinking higher education institutions and compare their initiatives to my own education experiences. The following passage notes the successes had by two higher education institutions when implementing virtualization programs into their IT systems.

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BYOD and Back to School…Already?

Popsicles, water balloon fights, fireflies and staying up past your bedtime. These summertime rituals haven’t changed since I was a kid. What has changed is technology and the buying cycle for back-to-school.  Last week in Target I saw an entire wall display of back packs.  My kids have been out of school for exactly one month and retailers are already pushing school supplies! 

Sunday I woke up brewed a pot of coffee and sat down with my iPad to check Facebook and peruse my email. Cisco has embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), so I have secure access to my work email on my iPad at home. I checked a few work emails, but I just couldn’t resist the Red, White and Blue 20% off coupon in my inbox.  Had I not seen the back-to-school display last week and received the coupon in my inbox would I be buying khaki pants and blue shirts the 2nd week of July?  Shopping on a laptop is easy. Shopping on an iPad is just downright dangerous!  Consumerism was starting to take over, but in my mind I justified it as one less thing on my to-do list for August.

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