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FCC Decision Opens the Door for Rural Broadband Access

December 13, 2011 at 6:37 am PST

I heard an NPR story the other day about the FCC‘s recent ruling that diverts monthly fees from rural telephone service to rural broadband service. The “Universal Service Fund” or something similar has been around since the early 20th century, charging a small fee on our phone bills to subsidize phone service for rural areas and the poor.

The newly minted “Connect America Fund” now allocates this money for mobile telephone and broadband in rural communities and needy areas. As I’ve discussed in a blog post earlier this year, access to the internet can not only offer rural U.S. citizens access to critical information, but it can provide them health care benefits that could literally save lives.

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The Virtues of Video

This article has been written by Jan Zanetis, Education Advocate for Cisco in Australia.  The original article was published in the December/January edition of Educational Leadership (EL). Visit EL to read the full version.

The Virtues of Video

Video-on-demand tutorials. International student collaborations. Virtual field trips to Australia. Schools can use interactive video to enrich students’ learning.

What if your struggling students could view demonstrations of difficult math concepts as often as necessary? Picture your students asking questions of an expert diver as she explores Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Or imagine a motivated student in a remote location attending an advanced placement physics class without leaving home.

Providing such enriching learning activities, even with limited funds, is no fantasy; it’s possible through live, interactive video.

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Education in Brazil

I flew into a gloomy Sao Paulo last weekend. People were mourning the death of former Corinthians footballer Socrates -- and scanning figures just released showing flat GDP growth.

Brazilians have got used to living in one of the healthiest economies in the world, so what’s going on? In one sense the problem may be transitory. Yes, the crisis in the Eurozone is damaging export markets, and yes, Brazil has raised domestic interest rates to choke off the inflation caused by an over-heating economy. But most observers expect growth this year to settle at around 3% -- a figure most national treasuries would willingly accept.

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Public Sector Experts Weigh In on Virtual Desktops and the New Virtual Workspace

Have you ever sat in on a TelePresence meeting? It really makes you think about how technology can make distance disappear, and bring together people across a wide geography for the purpose of collaborating and sharing ideas.  Such is the case with the National Townhall on Desktop Virtualization I participated in recently, along with VMware.

Seven industry experts from seven US cities, discussing the impact or key learnings of implementing desktop virtualization in government, healthcare and education.  I was joined by my colleague Chris Westphal of VMware, and our panelists, bringing firsthand experiences of their journey to desktop virtualization.  If you want to attend the interactive webcast of this event, please click here – I think you’ll find it incrementally valuable if you’re on the verge of a pilot, proof of concept or just researching your options.

This experience reminded me of something important regarding the transformation of the user desktop as we know it. Immersive business video is increasingly becoming a modality of enterprise collaboration that workers will depend on to be productive.  Consider the fact that ten people had meaningful discourse in this session, without any of them having to board a plane.  IP telephony is the same – we can’t imagine a day without access to our phone.  So when we talk about using virtual desktops making people more productive, and making business more agile, it makes total sense that we expect by extension of that premise, voice, video and virtual desktops to converge in a single workspace that’s accessible on any device, anywhere.  We depend on all of these modalities to be effective, not just one.

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The League of Innovative Schools Frames up at Mooresville (1 of 2)

Mooresville staff discusses 1:1 computing with DOE's Karen Cator

Aiming to accelerate the ways in which technology is used and adopted to help drive next generation learning outcomes in K-12, the newly chartered “League of Innovative Schools” framed up last week in Mooresville, North Carolina. A new group emanating from the recently announced White House-backed Digital Promise team – the League met to review core challenges, establish a charter, and get after answers to tough questions on how to streamline “outcome difference-makers” in school technology identification and deployment.

The result? A promising beginning, as 30+ superintendents from around the country, US Department of Education personnel, foundations, funders and vendors coalesced for a tough, issues-oriented two-day launch. Lead vendors attending included Apple, Cisco, Discovery, Intel and Pearson. Read More »

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