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Education IT Leaders Innovate and Save

February 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm PST

Education IT leaders continue to be challenged by declining budgets, rapidly changing technology and increasing demands to deliver platforms for 21st century teaching and learning.  In this current environment, a growing number of  IT professionals in education and government are leveraging next generation technologies like virtualization, collaboration, mobility and video to transform their organizations.

We’ll be sharing these best practices during the National Townhall, Celebrating how the Public Sector Connects, Innovates and Saves on March 1st at 11 AM, U.S. Pacific Time. Education speakers include:

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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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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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Global Innovation in Education – an International Roundtable using Cisco TelePresence

At a conference on developing sustainable, connected and scalable cities, Cisco hosted an international roundtable using Cisco TelePresence, a high definition, life-sized video meeting solution, with education thought leaders from Amsterdam, Brisbane, Hong Kong, London and Lisbon.

Some participants joined via a Dialogue Cafe.  Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Dialogue Cafe Association is building a network of publically available, video-enabled spaces that make it easier for innovators, students, public leaders and businesses to connect and collaborate across geographical, cultural and sometimes political divides.

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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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