We want to welcome you to our new education blog and hope that you will become an active participant and visitor to this community. We will be exploring topics that are critical to education and look forward to spirited conversations between you and those of us within Cisco who focus on the education market.
As the world shifts away from centralized, hierarchical control and puts more power in the hands of end users, we bring a practical vision and real solutions to help public sector innovators stay ahead of cultural change. We enable a connected way of living that can foster economic growth, expand access to public services, and keep people of all ages engaged.
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Tags: collaboration, education, learning, technology
As we face the combined challenges and opportunities presented by globalization, technology acceleration, and demographic shifts, competition is increasing, and innovation is becoming more and more critical for companies and countries to succeed and stay ahead of the curve.
This past week at Educause, we announced the availability of our new Research and Administrative Computing solution based on Cisco’s world-class Data Center and Collaboration technologies. This solution can help administrative leaders and research center directors save time and money and improve performance by working better together. By improving research collaboration within the university, and between universities, companies, and governments, we can improve the ability to innovate.
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Tags: administration, architecture, collaboration, communication, education, growth, higher, innovation, research
Our customers have deepened my perspective on Education. They help me to see the many different shades of change and what transformation is really all about. They have also given me a new understanding of the multi-faceted nature of technology and the role that it plays in changing education.
What is most evident to me lately is that technology can’t be relegated to a “role.” I used to think of technology as being one part of an overall transformation plan. Educational institutions need to have a solid network infrastructure, the right wireless and mobility technologies, a way to streamline communications and improve efficiency, a better way of doing online learning. It certainly does do all that. We have also thought of it as an accelerant: adding online learning courses will speed delivery of quality educational content, and web conferencing will make it faster and easier to deliver professional development to teachers, for example.
But, the dynamic nature of technology makes it a whole lot more than an accelerant, and it has more than just a “role” to play. Technology is the driving force behind the need for change. The onslaught of technology is giving us no choice but to change. It’s not just about disengaged or bored learners, it’s about learners who may stop going to the traditional classroom altogether because it has nothing left to offer them. The power of informal learning, and the technologies that drive it, threaten to make traditional education not only irrelevant, but obsolete.
Everyone knows that students are savvy consumers of technology, iThings, social media, mobile devices, and the like, but they’re also increasingly savvy navigators of content and information that is broadly available on the web. They have the access required to figure out what employers want, and they are going to learn how to give it to them, if they haven’t already.
You might say that students are too naïve to know what they don’t know, that they really don’t understand what it takes to be say, an engineer, without going to university. Or, you could say that there is almost unlimited information available on the web that can enable highly motivated individuals to become engineers: online courses, detailed, web-based technical information on a range of topics in many different engineering fields, and a variety of informal learning avenues. This all coupled with an increasingly competitive global community, will, I believe, drive people to avenues other than the traditional classroom.
Does this make education and educators obsolete? Absolutely not. Traditional education can be the glue that holds this all together, that frames employer requirements, makes faculty members facilitators and guides, and provides direction to students, placing them at the center of their learning, and helping them to define their life ambitions, working with them to design their curriculum, customized to meet their needs, and the needs of their future employers.
So let’s revisit the topic of technology. Yes, technology has a role to play, and it is an accelerant, but it is also the Trojan horse, sneaking not very quietly onto the school and college scene, and this horse is being driven squarely by the Trojans. Our students are telling us where they want and need to go. We can either get in the horse with them, or we can remain scattered outside the walls of Troy, looking in, and wondering what is going to happen next.
Tags: accelerant for change, Change, education, technology, transformation
As a part of my job here at Cisco, I have the opportunity to meet with a range of customers in schools, colleges, and universities across the globe. They have the wide and vast responsibility of educating students, preparing the workforce of the future, equipping students with different kinds of skills so that they can compete in the 21st century, ensuring that students are safe and secure, and a whole host of other responsibilities that will enable students to be productive and successful members of society. Most critically, they have to do all this with increasingly constrained, and in developing nations, often non-existent, budgets.
The requirements for education have shifted over time as we have become more globalized, technologically advanced, and demographically different. On average, people in the US change jobs about ten times before they’re 42. In China and India, there is a massive demand for higher education. And teachers are retiring in record numbers as the population of kids under the age of 15 has reached 1.8 billion.
Thomas Friedman has said that students today need to be special, specialized, anchored, or adaptable. Not everyone can be special, and certain components of traditionally anchored jobs (for example, hairdressers, restaurant workers, and trade workers) can be outsourced. This leaves jobs for which people need to be specialized or adaptable. And this is where education is critical: students have to be able to access education that provides them with the specialization required to help them differentiate the value that they provide. Think, tax planning for customers with major offshore assets, or biological technicians who are creating a biosphere in pace. Or, education has to be able to provide them with the ability to obtain lifelong learning programs and capabilities to adapt to a broad range of careers and jobs that they will have over their lifetimes.
Existing systems on their own will no longer be able to meet the growing and changing demands for learning. Educational institutions must necessarily deliver learning differently, and this is where technology can help. Today, Cisco is partnering with educators to create what we call The Learning Society: a new way of thinking that harnesses the power of technology to help transform learning and allow people to learn anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Not only does Cisco offer a change model that integrates “best-of-the-best” research findings to help students flourish in the 21st century – wherever they are and whatever their culture or socio-economic status, or the economic situation of their country, may be (Education 3.0), but it also details the integration of innovative pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment strategies across whole systems—accommodating learner differences, linking learning to the real world, and setting high, yet realistic, expectations for every student. We encourage you to learn more by joining our Virtual Forum for Education Leaders on April 28th.
Tags: 21st century skills, 3.0, collaboration, cost, cost-savings, distance, education, efficiency, increasing access, learning, lifelong learning, preparing students for the future, savings
In a good education system, students move through school, graduate, and somewhere between 30 and 50% complete university. Formal training is complete, education is finished. People who were once students could relax and enjoy the benefits of the skills and networks they had developed through learning, and any decline in their skills would be offset by gains in experience and compensated for by the new generation of graduates coming through the education pipeline. This was an education system which was quite effective until the 21st century where we live in a more globalized and interconnected world.
Now, globalisation, accelerating technological change and massive demographic shifts demand a change in education systems: its purpose, where it happens, when it happens, how it happens. Since new technologies are appearing at such a fast pace, formal education in the first 20 years of life will only form a foundation for future learning. Lifelong learning will become a necessity, not a nice-to-have. And as the world shrinks, people in India or china or eastern Europe are competing with those in Indiana for jobs and those in Copenhagen collaborate with those in Cape Town. It is no longer good enough to be second best: everyone needs 21st century skills – not just better skills, but different skills.
To respond to this socio-economic shift, our education systems need to change. Curricula and pedagogy must focus on building skills for life and instilling a love for learning. We need to think about new ways of organising learning so that those who are currently excluded by geography, poverty or learning style have a real chance. Schools, colleges and universities need to open their doors, and become accessible centres of learning throughout life. And new partners, from the private sector to non-profits, to foundations need to become part of a wider coalition to deliver learning and drive continuous innovation and improvement.
Without these changes, we risk a difficult future: weaker economies, fragmented societies, unhappy people. Incremental reform is no longer enough – we must jointly take on the task of becoming a learning society.
Director, Cisco Global Education
Tags: 21st century learning environment, brain drain, cost-savings, distance, education, generation, higher education, learning, next generation learning