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Bringing Gaming to the Classroom

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

As I’ve been reading about technology in education, one of the most interesting trends that keeps popping up is gaming. As a casual gamer myself, I’ve heard the arguments about how gaming improves hand-eye coordination and problem solving and all the rest. (In fact I tried many of them with my mom when I was 12 years old)

But the arguments for gaming in education today are far more advanced and compelling than I’ve realized. A lot of very smart people are working on this subject, and a lot of innovative educators are putting it into practice.

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What Really Matters in Collaboration

On the eve of Microsoft’s first Lync User Conference, I think it’s a great time to start a frank and direct conversation about what’s changed in collaboration and, because of those changes, what’s really important for IT decision makers to consider as they evaluate collaboration vendors and solutions. This conversation, which I’m confident will spark a lively and healthy debate, will last for weeks and will include input from a variety of Cisco Collaboration leaders.

So, to start, what has changed in collaboration? At the macro level, I would argue that collaboration has evolved from a tolerated office tool into the single most important technology investment that an organization can make. Why? Because the next breakthrough levels of performance and productivity needed in business won’t come from a better-looking web portal or a bigger Inbox — they’ll come from the ability to tap into the collective knowledge and creativity of our people.

But, here’s the catch: not all collaboration solutions are designed to help people engage the way they want to engage, and they’re also not architected from the ground up to cater to IT’s needs and requirements.

Customers tell us time and again that a modern collaboration platform needs to deliver more than the basics like IM, conferencing and VoIP.  It needs to offer flexibility and choice in support of trends such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), high-quality video, and cloud-based deployments (private, public, hybrid, and hosted). The modern collaboration platform needs to be usable not just by office workers but by anyone, from physicians to customer care agents, executives, mobile and desk-less workers. And it needs to be as complete of a solution as possible — including the underlying infrastructure, a wide choice of compatible endpoints, and world-class support and maintenance — to maximize business and IT value.

Which brings me back to Microsoft and Lync. We believe Read More »

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Survey Reveals Key Considerations in Collaboration and It’s Not First and Best on Windows

February 18, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Every day I hear from customers who want to make collaboration more pervasive across their organizations. How do they take advantage of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Does it make sense to move some solutions to the cloud? What about video?

Those are all good questions, but as my colleague Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, said today, this is just the beginning. Cisco commissioned a global survey of 3,320 IT leaders from nine countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., Sweden, Germany, India, Russia, New Zealand and Australia) to find out what’s really top of mind for them. The survey, conducted by Redshift Research, revealed some interesting observations, not only about what matters to IT leaders, but about the differences between Cisco’s and Microsoft’s approach to collaboration. Here are some of the top findings: Read More »

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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Execute

January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm PST

This is the last of a four-part series. The previous posts introduced decision-driven collaborationengagement, and evaluation.

Evolving your organization’s ideas around collaboration is an important element of connecting people and empowering them to work together to make better, more-informed decisions. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines within it three core elements that build upon one another in decision making:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to EvaluateShape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Execution is more effective when the context, rationale, success factors, expectations, dependencies, and so forth are transparent to those affected. As the IBSG report outlines, this level of transparency requires that leaders: Read More »

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Mobile Business Users Embrace Wi-Fi

Once the exclusive domain of senior executives, mobile devices are now indispensable to most employees for conducting both their business and personal lives. The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. In parallel, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Once shunned by corporate IT departments, Wi-Fi increasingly has made its way into most businesses.

Business users are the most valuable customer segment for mobile operators. Changes in mobile behavior and usage, particularly with regard to Wi-Fi, could have a significant impact on service providers’ (SPs) bottom line. However, there is little research on how mobile business users are actually using Wi-Fi, how they want to employ it in the future, and, more specifically, what is driving them to connect their devices to the Internet using Wi-Fi.

To learn more, Read More »

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