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New World of Education Driven by Internet of Everything

November 26, 2013 at 10:31 am PST

In his blog post yesterday, Wim Elfrink shared the recent news that the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the State University of New York (SUNY) will join The Global STEM Alliance. Since I had someone ask me this week -- “what exactly IS the Global STEM Alliance?”, here are the basics.

Unveiled last month at the Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Barcelona, Spain, The Global STEM Alliance is a joint initiative founded by The New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) and Cisco. This initiative recognizes the importance of working together, in both physical and virtual communities, to bring Internet of Things (IoT)-based curriculum resources, local and remote mentorship, and access to universities to the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, and innovators around the world. Read More »

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MIND Research Institute: Removing Barriers to Learning

November 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm PST

How exciting it is when we see student gains in math that are consistent regardless of language, culture of origin, gender, and even learning disability!

As Peter Tavernise wrote this week in his blog post, it is even more exciting when we are able to support the learning models that have created such gains. Since 2004, Cisco has supported the MIND Research Institute to help them “move from an inherently limited client-server architecture to a fully cloud-based solution, increasing program quality, decreasing their costs, and allowing them to rapidly scale.”And ultimately to bring their Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math solution to every student on the planet. Read More »

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Investing in Innovation Pays Off for Math Students

This week, Cisco will receive the National Partner in Innovation Award from MIND Research Institute, based in Southern California.

We are honored, but that’s not what is most important.

While many such awards are given annually by nonprofits to recognize their donors, this award actually acknowledges a decade-long partnership between Cisco and MIND to improve student math achievement.

Such a long-term funding relationship is rare; most giving spans at best three to five years. But MIND is rare, too. We have been supporting the organization this long because they have developed one of the best and most effective approaches to helping students learn math that we’ve ever seen, with rigorous and significant student outcome data to prove it.

Our introduction to MIND’s work was at one of their annual meetings, back when they were still serving a relatively small set of schools in their local region. Flying into Orange County, California, I recall remarking to a colleague that there had already been many unsuccessful attempts to technology-enable math learning, and I did not expect to see anything new at the conference.

I was never so happy to be proven wrong.

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STEM Education Must be a Hands-on Approach

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are critical to innovation and the continued development of the U.S. economy. However, trends are showing that while there are and will continue to be plenty of jobs in these fields, many students are unprepared or lack the desire necessary for employers of the future to fill these jobs effectively.

In order to get more students interested in STEM, it is imperative that they learn through hands-on training, mentoring and demonstrations early in their education. In her latest blog, Amanda Williams, Community Relations Manager at Cisco, describes the importance of getting students physically involved in STEM to spark an interest for the future. Through the launch of the Cisco US2020 STEM mentoring initiative, Cisco employees are able work with students from various schools around the U.S. The students participate in activities such as robot building, engineering demos of circuit building, 3D printing, and pedal-a-watt to make a phone ring. Through this program, we are able to get students excited about the opportunities to learn more about STEM fields.us2020

While we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preparing and inspiring a future generation of STEM innovators, it’s encouraging to see students enjoying the learning process this new initiative provides. Read More »

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Removing Language Barriers from Math Education Improves Student Achievement

What if your biggest challenge in learning math was that you could not understand the words that the teacher used to convey math concepts? That the language in the math book was not your first language? Or that your learning disability involved difficulties with words and reading?

Dr. Matthew Peterson, co-founder and COO of MIND Research Institute, knows what that’s like. He is dyslexic. But after completing an undergraduate triple major and a Ph.D. in visual neuroscience, he decided to try to figure out a way to teach math that minimizes the use of words, but maximizes student understanding and achievement.

 

Dr. Peterson’s stunning innovation is called ST Math, a web-based, self-paced software program that uses language-free animation to help students grasp key math concepts. This resource is offered to students in addition to regular classroom instruction, twice a week.

It turns out that all students, regardless of language or culture of origin, gender, and in some cases even learning disability, do far better at math when they have additional help from solving the ST Math exercises.

As we outlined in an earlier blog post, Cisco’s initial expansion support for ST Math in Silicon Valley and in Arizona has shown strong student performance gains of double to triple growth in math proficiency. Our newly supported 22-school Virginia ST Math pilot sought to replicate these successful outcomes.

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