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Digital Promise Team Pushes Aggressive Agenda For Learning

Back in January, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski challenged schools and companies to get digital textbooks in students’ hands by the year 2017. Prompted by countries like South Korea and Uruguay -- which have made similar moves – the Obama administration is seeking to create momentum on this key topic.

Adam Frankel Opens the League Meeting at Houston ISD

Yet when we look around us, most educators and superintendents in the U.S. are left scratching our collective heads as we witness our glacial progress toward fully deployed digital nationwide learning. Lack of data on “what works”, lack of best practices in district-level leadership, and a splintered procurement process are often cited as three major roadblocks to progress. As mentioned in earlier blogs here, Digital Promise’s newly formed “League of Innovative Schools” is hoping to change all that.

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Bringing the Olympics to life

When one is fortunate enough to work on as exciting and mammoth a project as the London 2012 Games, it is easy to forget that while it might take over your life, for others it’s a distant and somewhat unattainable dream.

Certainly LOCOG are working hard to try and expand the reach of the Games beyond London and make sure other parts of the country benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity the Games coming to the UK brings. The torch relay alone will ensure that 95% of the UK population will be within a one-hour journey of the Olympic Flame, and that will certainly help.

But just this week the impact we, as Olympic and Paralympic Partners can have on people’s experiences and perception of the Games, was brought very much to life via feedback we had from our partner Pearson -- who are working with Cisco on the Out of the Blocks StemNet programme. This programme was launched in January, using London 2012 as a catalyst to encourage children aged 11-14 to get excited about learning maths and science. So far over 4,000 UK secondary schools have received a set of free Key Stage 4 activity books.

Our colleague visiting a remote school in Lincolnshire was delighted to see the teachers using the Out of the Blocks books and how the children were excited not only about science and maths, but also for the Games themselves. As one teacher said:  “We’re in an out-of-the-way area.  The children have never seen a major event, and there aren’t any children in my class going to the Olympics – this Series brings it to life for them.”

Another said: “Endlessly kids say, ‘when am I ever going to use this Maths in my life?’  Well, this book shows you where and how…  The diving lesson sticks in my mind.  The kids are intrigued by the formulas – it makes them think how they’re useful in real life.”

Nice – now we have a chance of a lasting legacy!

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Cisco – Gold Sponsor of the European University Associations (EUA) Annual Summit

March 19, 2012 at 11:44 am PST

As long-standing supporters of university-industry research collaboration, Cisco is proud to sponsor the EUA Summit being held at The University of Warwick on March 22-23.

This major event for European Higher Education leaders will address key issues on how forces including globalization, an accelerated technological revolution, demographic shifts and the impact of disruptive innovations such as high-quality online learning opportunities are dramatically redefining the world of higher education, the place of learning in our world and the role universities must play in order to be sustainable in this new millennium.

To learn more http://www.eua.be/warwick.aspx
Be sure to check back following the conference to hear key reflections from Cisco attendees.

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Cookbook For BYOD & Virtualization in Schools: “Teaching 24 X 7…”

Special guest interview with Charlie Kanavel, CEO of The Kanavel Group; former Director, Technology, Campbell Union High School District – Campbell, CA

Mr. Kanavel is CEO of The Kanavel Group, a consulting and services firm focused on technology in government and education. The Kanavel Group specializes in taking clients from “WOW” to “HOW”, merging cutting edge technology with its clients long term strategic objectives.

As the Director of Technology at Campbell Union High School District, he was responsible for notable projects in California and the nation:  through the development of on-line hybrid courses using Cisco WebEx, he was the first to deploy them in the California K-12 education space. Working with Sony Corporation, he was the first to pilot Sony eReaders to replace textbooks in K-12 education nationwide.  Mr. Kanavel was also awarded Honorable Mention at Citrix Synergy 2010 for deploying virtualization in education. Formerly Mr. Kanavel distinguished himself in IT and compliance leadership in financial markets worldwide.

Charlie, welcome, and thanks for joining us. In K-12 today, the #1 issue is BYOD. Unlike a full 1:1 rollout where every child gets the same device, under BYOD how do superintendents & IT leaders address the equity divide among students so we ensure all have equal access to the same content?

Thank you for having me join today, Frank. I think for the past 10 years we in education have done a lot to bring technology in education forward into the on-line world. However, we have also made educational resources inside and outside the classroom very broadband and computer-centric. So to have full access to the resources made available by most schools today, you need a computer at home. This digital divide is very real in today’s schools and BYOD as a strategy gives districts a real way to solve this problem.

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Minnesota Leads the Way in Rural Schools Innovation

If you caught Secretary Arne Duncan on the Jon Stewart show back on February 16th, the Secretary reiterated an education theme that has been common over the years for the Obama administration. When pressed by Stewart on how the U.S. Department of Education can help drive innovation in our schools, Duncan answered, the real creative breakthroughs “…need to spring from the local district, superintendents & principals themselves … and not the Washington bureaucracy.”

Enter Itasca Schools — in the very rural outstretches of northeast Minnesota. It’s another example, along with Mooresville Schools in North Carolina, of how local schools and school districts are doing exactly that.

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