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The Global Education Leaders Program (Seattle 2011)

The fifth Global Education Leaders Program meeting recently convened in Seattle bringing the world’s best school systems face to face with the biggest: Finland and Korea, India and Brazil – alongside nine other systems, national, state and city. On the fault line between best and biggest, two points of stark divergence came through.

First, the case for change: hard to make if you’re topping  (PISA), easier if you’re anchored near the bottom.  Intriguingly the Finns are asserting a number of reasons why a traditional approach to schooling can’t be sustained. The country’s leading industries, lumber and technology, are weakening. Its place at the head of the education rankings is under threat and academic performance is becoming patchier – signs of that Anglo Saxon gap between top and bottom quartiles starting to spread.   Contrast that with Brazil, where no one doubts for a moment that the publicly funded school system must be rapidly transformed, to provide the country with a motor for sustainable growth.

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Reflections from the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)

Thirty thousand feet above Iraq, an hour out from Qatar and the Persian Gulf – a good place to look back on this week’s third annual WISE, the World Innovation Summit for Education. It is, bar none, the biggest education conversation on earth. It has the power to convene: the world’s leading educators implored the world’s governments to honor the 2015 Millennium Education goals. In my opinion, although WISE has done significant work in the past few years there is still  a lot to be done to create a coherent, systematic  approach to education transformation. Qatar and the Region as a whole need that desperately. Arab leaders know they have to create 75M jobs -  to sustain growth and meet the aspirations of countless young people. That means building a generation of problem-solvers and entrepreneurs. The precondition is better education.

WISE is pinning its hopes on new and innovative forms of learning – finding them, promoting them and scaling them. Charlie Leadbeater’s brilliant book on learning innovation was unveiled here this week. The Haiti learning initiative, built around inspirational new approaches to education, was launched with the WISE imprimatur. And innovative projects – from Afghan photography to smart-funded academies in America -- were hailed as game changers.

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Higher Ed Loves Video!

I recently got back from a successful east coast jaunt and wanted to share some thoughts on my first Educause experience while they’re still fresh.

After marketing video across many verticals, I have to say I was nothing short of impressed with the level of attendee engagement we received from the Educause 2011 crowd around video.

Video and higher ed are a natural pair in many ways — video is the cornerstone technology for lecture capture and also helps make distance learning aspirations a reality. Along these lines, our new Lecture Vision solution announcement and demo were very well received and it was great to hear how universities have already started down the path to pervasive video.

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WISE 2011 Debate “Adapting to the Future World of Work”

The World Innovation Summit for Education(WISE) is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. Launched in 2009, WISE is an international initiative and platform for a multitude of established and new educational actors to collaborate proactively all year round.  There will be 1200 attendees from 45 countries, including greater than 25 country-level Ministers of Education in attendance at this Qatar meeting discussing potential global and regional impacts on teaching and learning.  At the Wise Summit in Doha, Qatar, November 1-3, Cisco is one of only two major technology companies presenting at the conference. Another great visibility opportunity for Cisco in helping “transform Education, together.”

On November 1st, I will be speaking and moderating a session on “Adapting to the Future World of Work” Session: Adapting-future-world-work at the Wise summit in Qatar.  In this session, the panel and I will explore ways in which education, business, social and government leaders in different regions might work together more effectively to address them.  Learn more about related topics in the Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century White Paper

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Educause: What Was Your Word?

October 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm PST

I love Educause because there’s always buzz.  This year, it seemed to hit a high-pitched fervor.  The show comes alive and takes on a character of its own as technology leaders from across the country and globe share the challenges and issues that each of them is facing.  It takes on even more character in a city like Philadelphia where the sights and sounds of the Reading Terminal Market swirl around bustling show-goers who are trying to get in a quick Ruben sandwich in between sessions.  And, I was thrilled to know that the author of DIY-U, Anna Kamentz, would be there, imparting her unique perspective about students who will necessarily be designing their own unique ways to get a higher education.

One IT afficiando said to me, “It seems like each year, there’s a word that defines the show, and I think this year, it’s ‘cloud.’”  Someone else commented, “No, it’s the whole ‘open’ thing.” Another said, “Well, I think it’s really all about ‘remediation’ and ‘standards’ because our funding is going to hinge on this.”  It seems like everyone wants to find that one thing that will really impact them and their institutions, trying to get ahead of the wave so they don’t get engulfed by it.  Others said, “shared services, video, blended learning.”  I was most impressed by those colleges and universities that seem to be doing it all, driven by a unified vision around what’s really achievable.

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