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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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Educause 2013: It’s All About Engagement

Educause 2013 brought together the country’s greatest minds in higher education to discuss the future of learning. We’ve come away from this year’s conference with a lot to think about – the role of mobile devices in the classroom, new technology implementations and turning the traditional classroom upside down. But throughout all of these different discussions, the common thread throughout the conference was engagement.

At the Cisco booth, we featured solutions that can help engage students through the use of video.  Cisco partner Vyopta demonstrated how Cisco® Lecture Vision and Vyopta vPublish, work together to manage the entire lecture-capture process, from recording content to managing media assets to streaming on demand. Read how San Jose State University is using this tool to deliver 51 next-generation learning spaces across campus.

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Sci-Fi Turned Real Life: 5 ‘Spooky’ Innovations in Science and Technology

Happy Halloween from all of us at Cisco!

To celebrate, here’s a fun list of the top 5 ‘spookiest’ tech innovations –those inspired by sci-fi, made real life through incredible advances in STEM research and the growing connections in the Internet of Everything:

1. The Bionic Man:  Not quite Steve Austin, Roboticists at Shadow Robot Co. in England have created the world’s first robot human made entirely of prosthetic parts. He can walk, talk, and even has a beating heart and circulatory system. We have the technology…

2. Invisibility Cloak: While Hogwarts might not be accessible to us muggles, scientists at HyperStealth Biotechnology have been working on the best camouflage fabric yet- it makes you invisible. Now if we just had a time-turner for some of those incredibly busy days!

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#ExecInsights: Innovating in Education – Girl Rising!

“I even believe that a woman is more powerful than a man,” said young activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai to talk show host Jon Stewart last week.

Powerful and truly inspirational words, especially coming from a 16-year-old victim of violence.  Her comments left millions speechless (including the not-often-speechless Mr. Stewart) as she spoke eloquently about the power of educating girls. If you haven’t seen the interview, I recommend you do.

This past Friday was the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl and just recently the breakthrough documentary “Girl Rising” began screening worldwide, using the power of film and storytelling to demonstrate a simple truth: educate girls and you will change the world. The message is clear, now what are we going to do about it?

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Cisco Partners Recognized for Promoting Achievement in K-12 Education

This week, 2 of Cisco’s current or former education nonprofit partners were recognized by Business Roundtable for their work to prepare U.S. K-12 students for college and the workplace.

  • MIND Research Institute. MIND’s Spatial Temporal (ST) Math program is a language-free, web-based software program that uses animation to help students learn key math concepts. Cisco support helped MIND convert ST Math to a web-based platform, enabling it to expand its reach from 55,000 students in 2007 to 500,000 today—a 357 percent increase. Students using the program have, on average, doubled or tripled their growth in math proficiency on standardized tests. Learn more.
  • New Teacher Center. This nationally recognized nonprofit partners with states and districts to design and implement comprehensive new teacher induction programs that provide face-to-face and online mentoring with highly skilled educators. Cisco supports the organization’s Teacher Assessment Tool and its online mentoring solution. Learn more.
A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

As a technology company, Cisco views STEM education as a business imperative, and these organizations all recognize the urgent need to encourage students to pursue STEM subjects, said Alex Belous, a program manager for Cisco and the Cisco Foundation who has worked closely with these nonprofits to facilitate Cisco’s support.

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