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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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City of Chicago: Transforming the 21st Century Workforce through Education

Guest post by Todd Huston, Strategic Business Development Manager, Cisco Systems. Todd helps Higher Education and K-12 customers transform their operations and the student experience with technology.

Preparing the next-generation of students for the workforce is a critical responsibility.  Without skills in science, engineering, math and technology, innovation cannot advance at the rate needed to sustain the economic growth we are all working to foster.

—     Wim Elfrink, Cisco

As a part of my job at Cisco, I have the opportunity to meet with IT professionals and school administrators to discuss how students are being equipped with the necessary skills to compete in the 21st century. Earlier today I visited the Chicago Vocational Career Academy where Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an initiative to help better prepare high school and community college graduates for the 21st century workforce.

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Get Your Learning Game On: Gamification of Education

I ran across this great infographic regarding the potential for gamification to have a truly meaningful impact on education. Some key stats that stuck out for me:

  • 1.2 million fail to graduate high school each year
  • 3B hours are spent on playing video and computer games

Gamification of Education

Of course gamification isn’t the end all, be all solution for upping the students investment in their education. I read a great post about 3 Reasons NOT to Gamify Education and the quote that stuck out for me was:

“I don’t think just because you offer an award, like a badge, it will motivate students intrinsically or help them at all. But, tying it into your classroom to make the overall experience fun, meaningful and a challenge can help.”

I think this is a key point that anyone considering gamification of their product/training/event/etc. should consider. Basically slapping on a gamified approach won’t make it successful. Serious thought should be applied to what it is you are most wanting your demographic to think/know/feel/do and when appropriate a gamification tactic can be deployed to motivate your demographic accordingly.

Jesse Schell breaks down how gamification and games can make a significant impact on education. About 14 mins in he talks about one of my favorite example Quest to Learn, which I have blogged about previously, and another example I recently became aware of called Khan Academy.

So what are some examples of good vs. bad gamification for education? Surprisingly I found my good and bad examples, of course this is in my opinion only, from the same company. Read More »

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Brisbane Girls Grammar School Embraces and Enables Mobile Learning

Have you seen the video of the one year old child trying to use a magazine like an iPad?  It makes for fascinating viewing and an indication that while today’s students consider the internet to be important in their lives, many of tomorrow’s students will not know a world without internet, particularly mobile internet.

Some schools are already tackling this mobile experience.  Brisbane Girls Grammar School is a secondary school in Queensland, Australia with 1000 students.   It has recognised the extent to which mobile devices, communications and technology play an integral role in business and consumer lifestyles and recently implemented a “bring your own device” strategy for students and teachers. It runs a wireless network across its campus that supports two personal devices per person — whether laptop, mobile phone or tablet — as well as school owned devices.  Up to 3,000 devices are supported on the network for educational purposes at one time.

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Education IT Leaders Innovate and Save

Education IT leaders continue to be challenged by declining budgets, rapidly changing technology and increasing demands to deliver platforms for 21st century teaching and learning.  In this current environment, a growing number of  IT professionals in education and government are leveraging next generation technologies like virtualization, collaboration, mobility and video to transform their organizations.

We’ll be sharing these best practices during the National Townhall, Celebrating how the Public Sector Connects, Innovates and Saves on March 1st at 11 AM, U.S. Pacific Time. Education speakers include:

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