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Using E-Rate to lead a Digital Transformation in Education

For many businesses, technology has become an integral part of operations, transforming the way people learn, think, and do their jobs. With the right tools, K-12 school districts can experience these same transformational benefits. Digital transformation in education means using technology to create better access to educational experiences for students. That can be using mobile solutions to allow students to access anytime, anywhere learning in a secure way. Or it could be using collaboration tools to create a shared learning environment, or data analytics to help teachers fill in gaps in students’ skills and knowledge.

While the benefits of digital transformation for students are vast, one of the biggest hurdles schools face in their quest for transformation is funding. It requires a significant investment to ensure network infrastructure is adequate, to purchase technology tools for students and teachers, and to train educators on how to best use the new technologies in the classroom.

Schools facing this hurdle should consider leveraging the E-rate Program. USAC just announced that the window for filing E-rate applications for Funding Year 2016 will open on February 3, 2016. The window will close 87 days later on April 29. If your school meets the criteria for the program, you can save anywhere from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. These discounts can ease the financial burden of upgrading network infrastructure and put schools on the path to a successful digital transformation. To learn more about digital transformation in education and how the E-rate Program can help, check out this special report from Cisco and eSchool News.

On Tuesday, February 9, Cisco will host a webcast on E-rate and the digital transformation. The webcast will feature Scott Smith, the CTO of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, and John Harrington, CEO, Funds for Learning. Scott will discuss how their all-digital curriculum has led to more personalized, student-centric, and data-driven approaches. John will provide a briefing on current status of the E-Rate program—including procurement best practices and current filing deadlines. To register for the webcast, click here.

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BYOD helps boost creativity and sales for family-owned midmarket furniture manufacturer.

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Vitra is a renowned for producing quality furniture. Their designs are well known for innovation and style. What makes Vitra unique is that they not only encourage creativity from their employees but they also invite visitors to participate in their creative process.

Vitra is headquartered in Switzerland and their flagship store, Vitrahaus is located in Weil am Rhein in south Germany. Vitrahaus embodies the company’s vision and this is where visitors get to experience the company’s creations in real life settings.

Vitra has been partnering with Cisco for over a decade. Communications and collaboration are integral to their success and their latest strategy is to embrace the megatrends in mobility and wireless to improve their guest services by enabling BYOD access for employees and customers with simple management. These trends are gaining popularity in midmarket businesses.

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BYOD Solutions at Johnson City Schools: Improving Communications and Enhancing Information Access

The Johnson City School District transformed its students’ learning experiences, teachers’ teaching experiences, and parents’ academic insights with BYOD applications, allowing them the freedom to learn and connect anywhere, anytime and on any device.

With wired Internet access readily available in each of the 11 schools, the district took its first steps into wireless Internet access in its elementary schools. The city teamed up with Cisco to implement its BYOD Solutions for K12 Education to advance the schools’ wireless networks. The flexible network access allowed teachers to use laptops in their classrooms, stream online video, and adopt testing applications that used iPods, tablets, and other mobile devices. The schools’ networks also addressed the previous network limitations such as security measures preventing access for students and guests. Read More »

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Is Keyboarding in the Classroom Archaic?

I was on one of my tech teacher forums – where I keep up-to-date on changes in education and technology – and stumbled into a heated discussion about what grade level is best to begin the focus on typing (is fifth grade too old – or too young?).

Several teachers shared that keyboarding was the cornerstone of their elementary-age technology program. Others confessed their Admin wanted it eliminated as unnecessary. Still others dismissed the discussion as moot: Tools like Dragon Speak (the standard in speech recognition software) and iPhone’s wildly-popular Siri mean keyboarding will soon be as useful as cursive and floppy discs.

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Katy ISD: “Re-Inventing” Education

Forty-three years ago my parents sat on their couches in front of a black and white snowy television. They watched intently as Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the surface of the moon. Fifteen years later, they bore witness to the invention of the first Macintosh personal computer. Five years after that, they stood by as the Internet was made available to the public. Last night, I watched as my mom used her iPhone to connect to an Apple TV unit via Wi-Fi. In doing this, she was able to flip through online Netflix movies on our Television. In the past 50 years, technology has evolved exponentially; the world and its inhabitants have evolved with it.

I am a student at the University of Oregon and a Cisco intern. Currently, I support Cisco’s Education Marketing Team. This blog portrays my thoughts on the technological transformation to a BYOD teaching model made by the Katy Independent School District.  I will also discuss my perspective on why technology in teaching and learning is a natural and important step in the “re-invention” of the traditional education model.

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