OK, we all see a lot of college-ranking lists -- everything from top technical schools to top party schools -- but most recently with the explosion of technology in higher education a new list has debuted, named the Most Connected Colleges. The listing, launched by U.S News & World Reports, is the first-ever ranking to honor schools that have successfully applied technology to improve the connections between students and educators.
We were excited to see Maine’s Bowdoin College rated right at the top of the list! Among many tech initiatives, Bowdoin College engaged Cisco to help extend a reliable and secure wireless network throughout its campus with indoor and outdoor access.
Mobile learning is an important trend in education today. The Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) is at the forefront of this trend with their successful “Digital Conversion” and 1:1 laptop initiative. MGSD embarked on this journey in 2007. Today, MGSD ranks second in the state in overall student achievement even though it is one of the lowest funded districts in North Carolina.
While much of the discussion around mobile learning centers on new devices, MGSD CTO, Dr. Scott Smith, is quick to highlight the importance of a robust network and wireless infrastructure that supports what teachers and students want to do in the classroom. In this video, Dr. Smith also discusses the importance of making strategic investments to “future proof” the network for evolving models of teaching and learning.
In a time of deeper and deeper cuts to education budgets, keeping community colleges afloat can prove challenging, but it’s a problem for which technology can provide one possible solution. The fiscal crisis has colleges experimenting with collaborative and virtual efforts to increase access to courses, as online education and mobile learning not only expands community colleges’ reaches, but also saves them money. Through one-time investments in equipment like telepresence endpoints, community colleges can set themselves up to offer increasingly desirable distance learning options for years to come. And, by embracing popular trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), community colleges can also configure their networks to support mass wireless connectivity and virtual access, mobilizing their academic offerings and making them more attractive to potential students.
Always interested in the unique ways telepresence is being used in education, I recently heard about one of Georgia’s technical colleges with six campus locations using telepresence in a unique way. With video communication, staff advisors and registration personnel work from one main location and use video to connect to students across the state to assist them with the often stressful registration process.
The college is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), which is the agency responsible for Georgia’s technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and many economic and workforce development initiatives. As recently published in an interesting case study, the TCSG works to unify the education system across 25 technical colleges in Georgia, representing 100 campus locations and more than 170,000 students and 11,000 employees. The TCSG team wanted to provide a technology solution to streamline internal communications between administrative staff at each college. Its goal was to migrate campus infrastructure from the older Centrex architecture to a next-generation technology model, which would help enable the efficient provisioning of student and administrative services and increase opportunities for collaboration between campuses and colleges. Read More »
As we look seriously at connected learning, the influx of notebooks and mobile learning applications has been astounding. This week, in fact, Apple took over much of the news with the launch of its iPad Mini. In the previous weeks leading up to this launch, I heard and read discussions around education being a key target audience for this new iPad offering, which renewed my intrigue in the use of handheld devices & mobile learning.
Bloomberg discussed the rise in iPads being used in the classrooms due to its “cool factor” and ability to encourage students to learn by increasing engagement. More than 2,500 classrooms currently utilize iPads as learning tools, and this number is expected to increase with the continued growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District in Texas was quoted saying, “We’re moving away from desktops and laptops. Ninety percent of the work is now being done on mobile devices.”
Think about that for a minute -- ninety percent -- wow. With mobile learning amongst Forbes recent list of Five Technologies to Watch, it is obviously only going to increase in momentum. In addition, the potential revolution in digital textbooks is primed to change the entire landscape. The jury is still out on when that revolution will take place, but it’s looking more and more like a reality.
Are you, or do you know, an educator who is formatting educational materials for mobile devices and planning learning activities that leverage multimedia, videoconferencing and other features of smart phones and tablets? Tell us your story! (and what you think of the new iPad mini)