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Educating Millennial Learners with Technology

October 14, 2011 at 9:56 am PST

In the first video blog from his office in Howe, Oklahoma, Cisco education advocate Dr. Lance Ford interviews Mike Harttree, an engineer at Cisco, about the importance of utilizing technology in engaging today’s tech-savvy students. Mike encourages teachers to do anything they can to advance the types of media and devices they use in the classroom and promote communicating visually. I love the story Mike tells about his seven year old son and his friends making stop action videos with Legos – and even making money at it.

Check out the video now!

What other value do you see in utilizing telepresence and other technologies in the learning process?

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Evaluating School Leaders with Telepresence

October 7, 2011 at 6:32 am PST

We read a lot in education news about evaluating teacher performance, and I wrote a few months back about how telepresence could help with assessing and developing classroom leaders.

But what about the top school leaders? Education Week’s Christina Samuels wrote a recent article about the need for re-vamped evaluations of the people who manage the teachers: school principals.

According to Samuels, school districts struggle to design and implement effective principal evaluation systems. Today, most principals have annual reviews with district-level administrators, but these meetings do not serve to adequately assess the principals as instructional leaders, she writes. Samuels notes that Delaware has made some progress to improve evaluation procedures by developing a system that measures principals’ abilities to analyze school data and use it to set goals, as well as coach teachers to improve their practice. Read More »

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Leading by Example on Energy Reduction

October 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm PST

Cisco’s TelePresence product is helping organizations around the world reduce their carbon footprints. A perfect example is the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which just held its annual global launch through video conferencing for the first time ever.

Where once executives and speakers would have flown in from far-flung locations around the globe to attend the meeting, people from nine locations on four continents gathered at a virtual conference table to discuss the challenging environmental problems facing our planet. Read More »

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Cisco Live On-Demand: Powered By Cisco TelePresence

If you have attended Cisco Live, you know that Cisco technology powers many different features of the show.   Digital media signage, IP phones, VXI thin clients, hundreds of wireless APs, and of course the enterprise-grade Cisco network.

At Cisco Live 2011 in Las Vegas, we activated more Cisco technology, this time from the TelePresence family.    Each Cisco Live event has up to 500 breakout sessions for attendees to learn and interact with Cisco experts.  Recording those sessions for on-demand viewing has always been a priority for our team, and using Cisco technology is always a win for our attendees.    During this event, we put our Cisco TelePresence products to the test, bringing together codecs, HD video, automation, and transcoding systems together to create a unique experience for our virtual audience.

For this pilot capture project, we focused on four session rooms.   Each room was outfitted with a Cisco C-Series C40 or C90 codec, connected to the following:  laptop VGA feed, presenter audio feed, and our Cisco network.   Each codec comes with an HD camera, which was placed on a tripod and connected to the C40.   The camera sits unmanned, and can be controlled remotely.   Once the audio levels are set, the system in the room runs unmanned at this point.

In our control room, we ran a Cisco Video Communication server,  which registered the units onto our network, as well as handled call routing.   With over 40 sessions to record over three days, we looked to automate the system where possible, so we turned to the Cisco TelePresence Management Server.  This device allowed us to program in all session metadata as well as start/stop times.   This reduced the possibility of human error, and enabled the crew to focus on other duties.   To facilitate the recording the sessions, we used the Cisco TelePresence Content Server.  This device has two main functionalities- session recording and transcoding.   It can record multiple sessions at once, and can transcode to just about any format.

A few moments before the session began, the TCS connected to the corresponding room, and began recording both the video and the VGA feed.   At the end of the session, the TCS disconnects and begins to transcode the video capture.   Once the video is transformed into an editable format, a technician will edit the file and then place it back into the transcode queue for the final pass. The slides are captured in real time, allowing perfect sync with the presenter discussion.

The output you see here is the final version.

This pilot session capture project demonstrated the versatility of TelePresence to go beyond just video conferencing, to a system that creates, transforms and shares content.    Our team plans to increase the use of this system at future events across Cisco, enabling us to further bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual world.  You can watch these sessions, as well as over 1000 others at www.CiscoLiveVirtual.com.

If you have questions or comments on these Cisco TelePresence systems, please respond in the comments.

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Defining a New Playing Field for Telepresence

Video is becoming “The New Voice” in our personal lives as well as in business, with more companies realizing its ROI potential.  We see this  trend towards visual communications as part of the changes in the collaboration space.  Cisco TelePresence is at the center of this trend and we’re committed to delivering the easiest-to-use, highest quality and most compelling experience across our collaboration  portfolio, which by the way is the broadest in the industry.   I invite you to view and listen to an interview I did on this topic at Cisco Live this past July.

Delivering telepresence to everyone.

Cisco is focused on accelerating the adoption of telepresence across all industries, and companies of all sizes everywhere in the world.  Our approach and focus is clearly working, as we’ve seen rapid global adoption of Cisco TelePresence and continuous market share growth. We can see this in the recently published Wainhouse market share report which shows that we are the clear #1 player in telepresence with 52% market share.   This jump in telepresence market share underscores Cisco’s ability to extend our technology to a wide range of new customers, including small and midsize businesses (SMBs). We have the breadth of endpoints, deployment models and interoperability to make telepresence everywhere for everyone a reality.  We are seeing significant growth from customers who are new to telepresence and now see the value Cisco can deliver and the flexibility to meet their unique organizational needs.

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