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Spotlight Sessions at EDUCAUSE 2011

Higher education IT leaders from around the world will be converging in Philadelphia on October 18 -- 21, for EDUCAUSE 2011. One look at the conference program is all that it takes to conclude that “EDUCAUSE 2011 is the best thinking in higher education IT.”

With such a robust program this year, deciding which sessions to attend is harder than ever. Make sure to take in these sessions that showcase the use of video and collaboration technologies to transform teaching and learning and expand education opportunities:

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STEM and the U.S. Manufacturing Conundrum

The Conundrum

In my most recent blog “U.S. manufacturing: is it sustainable?“, I referenced an article about how U.S. manufacturing has been leading the economy out of the depths of the Great Recession.  The authors put forward a thesis with supporting data that suggest Americans believe the manufacturing industry is the basis for wealth creation and is fundamental to a sustained and successful U.S. economy.

The rub is that only 30% of Americans said they have or would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Why such a discrepancy? An answer to this question is not simple. However, I do believe we must seek that answer and address the gap, if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Being an engineer myself--a manufacturing and controls engineer no less--I know the first and most essential step to a solution is making sure we’ve defined the problem well.

A 2009 survey by the American Society for Quality, as reported on manufacturing.net, helps to shine a light on our problem.

According to the survey, the top three reasons why kids aren’t interested in engineering:

  • Kids don’t know much about engineering (44 percent).
  • Kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering (30 percent).
  • They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21 percent) to be good at it. This is despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22 percent) and science (17 percent) as their favorite subjects.

Survey findings on the adult side:

  • Only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their child(ren) to consider an engineering career.
  • The vast majority of parents (97 percent) believe that knowledge of math and science will help their children have a successful career.

So, while American children and adults both feel that math and science are important (even enjoyable), there is an ironic disconnect (cognitive dissociation?) between recognizing the importance and committing to pursue a career in engineering and manufacturing.

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Turkish University Grooms Students for Roles in Modern Life

September 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm PST

It is heartening to note that education systems around the world are seriously working towards achieving the goal of helping students excel both academically and as members of society. Yasar University located in Izmir, Turkey is one of the leading education institutions that aims at creating an infrastructure and environment that not only has the capacity to meet future growth but also prepare students for their roles in modern life.

Izmir is a large metropolis with a population of 3.35 million, making it the third most populous city of Turkey. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, Izmir is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Turkish cities in terms of its values, lifestyle, modernism, dynamism and gender roles. The city has always been governed by fresh inspirations which stems from the readiness of its citizens to adopt novelties and new projects. A modern, cutting-edge, smart education system being one of them.

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Back to School with Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus Switching

September 1, 2011 at 8:00 am PST

Guest post by Omar Sultan, Senior Manager for Cisco Data Center Architecture

Seattle University’s CTO Dan Duffy believes Cisco UCS and a VDI will improve students’ experiences in classes within every college on campus.

It’s that time of year again:  Back to School. With all kinds of technology providing new ways to learn, today’s students are taking advantage of mobile devices and tablets to log on to classes remotely from home, using online learning tools, and turning in assignments virtually.  For example, The Network, Cisco’s technology news site, recently posted an article about innovative ways in which students are learning:  How Cloud Computing is Revolutionizing Education. This article describes how cloud computing provides an innovative alternative to bricks-and-mortar schooling and enables personal and interactive learning.

We’re seeing more educational customers evolving their data centers to take advantage of the latest trends in cloud computing and virtual desktop solutions, to support new student learning approaches.  In addition, of course, saving IT costs is a key priority for these educational institutions.

Let the class begin!

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Colorado Springs Provides Nursing Education to Rural Community

August 15, 2011 at 10:35 am PST

Rural communities are increasingly losing trained professionals to larger cities where up-to-date education & certification are more accessible. The Smart+Connected Community in Action video case study on Colorado Springs takes us to a smart+connected community in rural Colorado that is working with the bigger city of Denver to address this important issue.  

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