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Special Needs School Uses Technology to Prepare Students for the Future

January 28, 2014 at 7:50 am PST

Berkshire Union Free School District (UFSD) isn’t your typical educational facility. It is located in Canaan, NY where poverty rates are over 90% and 85% of its students have special needs. Berkshire USFD provides an education to young men, ages 12-18, who have been classified as emotionally or learning disabled and have been unsuccessful at their local district due to poverty or a failed educational experience.

Although Berkshire UFSD is a specialized school, it is held to the same retention and graduation standards as other public schools. They realized that, in order to create an impactful program, they were going to need some assistance.

The Challenge

  • Offer education alternatives for at-risk students
  • Train special education students with technology
  • Improve graduation rates
  • Increase entry-level job acceptance for special education students

With these challenges in mind paired with about a year of research, Berkshire UFSD invested in the Cisco® Networking Academy. The Network Academy is Cisco’s largest corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. It, partnered with organizations to provide a digital learning environment for students.

The Solution

  • Prepare teacher with training to introduce new IT courses
  • Certify students with IT training programs
  • Implement job training rather than simple traditional education

Following the installation of Networking Academy, 100% of Berkshire UFSD’s students participating in the program passed the IT Essentials course, and had an 85% pass rate for online exams.

With support from the student’s families and the community, the school plans to expand the program to give additional students the opportunity to become college or career-ready in the field of technology.

“We learn every day from our challenges and our successes. The Cisco Networking Academy has given us one more tool to assist our students in becoming contributing members of society.” --  Bruce Potter, Berkshire UFSD superintendent

Read the entire case study on Berkshire UFSD, and let us know how your school is using technology to meet student needs.

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Using Advanced Technology to Build a 21st Century University Experience

Tom Hull at TechConnect

Florida Polytechnic University Vice President and CIO Tom Hull joined Cisco Vice President Pat Finn via TelePresence at the CSN Tech Connection at the College of Southern Nevada on January 15th.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s Chief Information Officer, my job is to ensure the University uses modern and emerging technologies to offer our students experiential learning opportunities. The higher education industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in which technology for teaching and learning is a part of the educational ecosystem and something that students expect. At Florida Poly, we need to use these technologies to give students the best learning experience possible.

Our Vision for the Future

Florida Poly’s vision is to be a bright star in the high-tech corridor we’re building in Central Florida, creating a Silicon Valley-like environment. We’re going to accomplish this vision by building an extremely modern campus (probably the most modern in the United States) with technologically advanced features available to students and faculty. In addition to the features our campus itself will offer, we have applied research, a bright faculty leading advanced programs and higher education partnerships with industry organizations to help us accomplish our mission and vision.

Our university’s architecture will be student-centric, and our technological foundation will be a Florida Poly cloud that includes all emerging technology in the world of higher education. This cloud will be accessible to both students and faculty and will feature a student information system that will provide an easy way for students, faculty and staff to obtain resources. This cloud will also include a virtual library environment that has access to digital databases and research repositories, essentially replacing the traditional library system. Read More »

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Big Data in Security – Part IV: Email Auto Rule Scoring on Hadoop

TRACFollowing part three of our Big Data in Security series on graph analytics, I’m joined by expert data scientists Dazhuo Li and Jisheng Wang to talk about their work in developing an intelligent anti-spam solution using modern machine learning approaches on Hadoop.

What is ARS and what problem is it trying to solve?

Dazhuo: From a high-level view, Auto Rule Scoring (ARS) is the machine learning system for our anti-spam system. The system receives a lot of email and classifies whether it’s spam or not spam. From a more detailed view, the system has hundreds of millions of sample email messages and each one is tagged with a label. ARS extracts features or rules from these messages, builds a classification model, and predicts whether new messages are spam or not spam. The more variety of spam and ham (non-spam) that we receive the better our system works.

Jisheng: ARS is also a more general large-scale supervised learning use case. Assume you have tens (or hundreds) of thousands of features and hundreds of millions (or even billions) of labeled samples, and you need them to train a classification model which can be used to classify new data in real time.

Spam

Read More »

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Next Generation Video-over-IP Solutions Change How Trainers Train

As educators increasingly take advantage of networked video technology to move their traditional classrooms online, there is a growing need for both instructors capable of engaging students in these next generation online classrooms, and skilled networking professionals with the knowledge to meet the growing demand to deploy, support and maintain networked video solutions.

In 2011, Learning@Cisco introduced a Leading Virtual Classroom Instructor course that teaches participants how to prepare and manage a virtual classroom, effectively deliver material online, and use video and collaboration tools to maximize student participation and comprehension.

As the paradigm of education continues to evolve to meet new institutional and business requirements, developing instructional strategies for new virtual education environments based on networked video is becoming key to improving student results. The Virtual Classroom Instruction Specialist training and certification help ensure that instructors have the most comprehensive understanding of the latest video technologies and effective classroom collaboration strategies.

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The Challenges Facing the Class of 2012 Mean a Lifetime of Learning

June 12, 2012 at 10:24 am PST

In the Fiscal Times News, the headline reads, Class of 2012, Don’t Even Think of Retiring at 60. The story congratulates this year’s college graduates and then gently lets them know that they will be working much longer than their parents. In fact, they might not ever stop.

That’s because our economy is changing.

Author Michael Hodin argues there’s no way for us to stay competitive if one third of our population is retired. This is a really interesting point. That affects tax revenue, social security and, more importantly, our greatest asset, our collective intelligence. His conclusion might surprise you:

So your challenge is this, Class of 2012: How can you help create a world where “seniors” contribute at the highest levels to social and economic life? How can you help recreate our 20th century institutions so that older generations remain vital, relevant, and productive? And how can you create new institutions for your children in the 21st century?

This is a great challenge.

At Cisco we have a bias for learning. Not only is it highly valued to keep our employees as current and developed as possible, but it’s also one of our core values around product development. We delight in looking for ways to bring information to remote learners -- regardless of age, location or ability.

WebEx helps people of all ages learn regardless of where they live or work.

Universities, like the California Baptist University in Southern California, use Cisco Webex systems to develop synchronous online learning. You no longer have to live near the source to participate in their program [watch video].

If you are done with school but want to continue to hone your skills -- or learn something new -- you can find a plethora of free online webinars and seminars delivered by our customers. We also offer online education via WebEx Channels where you can find content on management, leadership and much more.

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