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Lessons from the DOD: Energizing and Engaging Students through Technology

November 10, 2011 at 5:31 am PST

A recent American Forces Press Service article reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) launched a visionary program to renovate or replace 134 of its 194 schools worldwide. The DOD allotted  $3.7 billion to bring all of its schools up to the highest technology levels by 2016 and Congress appropriated nearly $400 million in fiscal 2011 to aid the effort. This is a fantastic program that builds on the Department of Education’s current initiative to prioritize technologies such as telepresence for K-12 schools.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has embraced multiple initiatives, from building robots to teaching Japanese in a virtual learning program. According to the story, military children move an average of six to eight times over the course of their school careers, making these programs particularly important. Read More »

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Evaluating School Leaders with Telepresence

October 7, 2011 at 6:32 am PST

We read a lot in education news about evaluating teacher performance, and I wrote a few months back about how telepresence could help with assessing and developing classroom leaders.

But what about the top school leaders? Education Week’s Christina Samuels wrote a recent article about the need for re-vamped evaluations of the people who manage the teachers: school principals.

According to Samuels, school districts struggle to design and implement effective principal evaluation systems. Today, most principals have annual reviews with district-level administrators, but these meetings do not serve to adequately assess the principals as instructional leaders, she writes. Samuels notes that Delaware has made some progress to improve evaluation procedures by developing a system that measures principals’ abilities to analyze school data and use it to set goals, as well as coach teachers to improve their practice. Read More »

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Solving Education Budget Crises with Telepresence

September 9, 2011 at 7:28 am PST

As we’ve talked about before, Hillcrest High School in Riverside, California has state-of-the art facilities. But, it has no students. Financed with $105 million of bond money allocated in 2007, the school now lacks the $3 million it needs from the state to operate for one year. California state budget cuts of $18 billion, one-third of the state’s education funding, keep Hillcrest’s halls and classrooms empty.

In similar dire straits as California, Minnesota’s state government this summer borrowed $2.2 billion from its public schools to end a government shutdown. The state has not set a date by which to pay the schools back.

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A Student’s Perspective: We Need More Technology – Faster, Part 1 of 2

My name is Tom Patton, and I am a student at the University of Oregon. Presently, I support Cisco’s Education Market Management team and work on a variety of U.S. and International Marketing projects. My first project was to analyze, organize and portray data from Cisco’s recent International Education Survey. The survey is a compilation of over 1100 interviews with education officials and IT decision-makers from 15 countries. The research explores key ideas regarding education and technology.

Working on this project caused me to reflect on my own experiences with technology and our education system. This blog is the first of a two-set series that portray my experience as a student, and my opinions of the potential benefits of further utilization of technology by students and teachers alike.

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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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