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This Week at Cisco Live 2011: Networking, Cloud, Virtualization, and More!

July 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm PST

I’m here in Las Vegas and aside from enjoying a frosty beverage or two by the pool and betting my next paycheck at the Black Jack tables, I’m attending Cisco Live 2011. This annual education and training event is like the World Cup of networking events, where IT, networking, and communications professionals join Cisco experts and partners to learn, connect, and collaborate.

There are so many different sessions and keynotes taking place at Cisco Live this week, but don’t worry if you can’t attend every event. I’ll be posting daily recaps here on the Channels blog, talking to partners at the conference, covering the big news, as well as sending out live tweets.

Cisco Live 2011 officially kicks off tomorrow with a keynote and welcome address from Chairman and CEO John Chambers. John is slated to discuss the future of networking and communication technology, and the ways it will transform business practices, education, and social relationships.

What else is taking place at Cisco Live this week? Read More »

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Inner-city Schools Concert Inspires, Engages Kids

The bright hot autumn sun burned down into Compton, California – right onto the shoulders of a busy nine year-old boy. The boy was respectful, working on hurrying up his chores for his mother so he could play ball with friends.  The boy eyed the last pile of leaves and thought “last one, then I’m done”. He heaved the rake over the pile and pulled back – and stiffened in shock as the rake revealed two automatic hand guns, still warm, hidden in the leaves.

To this day Fred Martin does not like leaves.  Buried under high piles of leaves are where the Compton gangs he grew up with hid their guns – at the safe house of “the Church family” – Fred’s family. The police never searched there; his father was a minister. Soon enough at ten years age Fred, a music prodigy, found himself playing organ in church on Sunday mornings – he later figured the music carried him away from the leaves.

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Connected Kids can be Safe Online

Let’s face it; today’s kids are more connected than ever before.  In fact, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between the ages of 8-18 spend more than 7 ½ hours a day with those electronic devices, not including the hour and a half they spend texting, or the small amount (30 min) they actually talk on the cell phone.

And these kids are truly digital natives. To them, online access is ubiquitous and expected.  Internet access is everywhere and like oxygen  -- they rely on it, crave it. Whether they tweet, text, update statuses, post pictures, chat and video chat, kids are using their devices to connect, to explore, to share, and yes, to learn.  In fact, a new study has shown that users of social networking sites (SNS) such as Twitter and Facebook, are better off socially, are more trusting of other people and are more civically engaged. Even in classrooms today, teachers have found that using technology has increased their student’s motivation, provided new outlets for student’s creativity, and helped the teachers become better organized. (Read more)

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Telepresence Fosters Real Learning Through Virtual Exposure to Science

June 24, 2011 at 9:44 am PST

Have you ever explored one of the first rockets to launch into space? You haven’t? Then what are you waiting for? Go to the New York Hall of Science!

Oh, you don’t live in New York. No problem, the museum will come to you through one of its Telepresence virtual tours.

With Cisco TelePresence, the Hall of Science takes remote visitors all around its museum floor. People in places like Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; St. Joseph, Michigan; Ontario, Canada; and Mexico City, Mexico have gone to the Hall of Science to dissect cows’ eyes, learn about the phases of matter, and study the science of sports—and they haven’t set foot on an airplane.

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Another Look at the Mooresville Story – Connecting the Millennials

On July 19th, the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina will be hosting a 3-day symposium called “Summer Connections 2011”.  The training program will detail how Mooresville took a technology initiative four years ago and transformed itself into one of the largest success stories in USA K12 public education today. The symposium will bring together superintendents, administrators, technicians, teachers – and millennial students -- all interested in learning the Mooresville recipe, and how to bring that back to their home districts.

What is the story? It’s simple, really. Two points – 1. Test score changes over the four-year period have been profound -- proving the technology initiative was wildly successful, and 2. It’s a district-wide success  story – all 8 schools have seen a significant rise in test scores. Not just a high school here or intermediate school there.  Since 2007, Mooresville district-wide dropout rates are down 20%; at the Mooresville High School graduation rates are up from 64% to 86%; District North Carolina composite scores are up from 73% to 86% in 2010, with the District arcing toward 90% in 2011. It’s now the 4th highest achieving school district in North Carolina, even though it ranks 99th out of the 115 state districts in school funding.

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