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Telepresence A Valuable Tool for Project-Based Learning

August 29, 2011 at 10:46 am PST
edutopia article on project based learning

www.edutopia.org

In school, you’re learning all about fish. Would you rather look at, hold, and examine an actual fish to determine its species or would you prefer to read a textbook about a bunch of different fish?

Sliminess factor aside, I’d vote for seeing the actual fish.

The students in science teacher Michelle Underwood’s class feel the same way:  They love the hands-on projects — fish study included — that Underwood has worked into her classroom, they said in a video. A self-described convert from “death-by-Powerpoint” lecture style teaching, Underwood now embraces collaborative project-based learning to increase the depth of her students’ understanding and ensure their sustained interest. She brings everything from animals, to computers, to video equipment into her classroom to facilitate engaging lessons.

According to the educators at Edutopia, George Lucas’s educational foundation, Underwood has the right idea. Project-based learning, as opposed to textbook-based work, helps students retain more material and better develop the ability to self-direct, said an article by the Edutopia staff. Hands-on activities provide students opportunities to experiment with technology and witness real-world connections to the information they encounter in the classroom, the article said. Read More »

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Chris P. and NBA Legend Bill Russell Go One-On-One… ūmi Style

Palms sweaty, nerves tense, Chris P. steps to the screen. Eyes fixed intently on the 1080p HDTV in front of him.  Chris steps back, fires the first question at 12-time All-Star legend and NBA champion Bill Russell. Swish.  Sixty minutes and a lifetime’s worth of basketball knowledge later, Cisco made good on introducing Chris in Los Angeles with Bill Russell hundreds of miles away in his home via Cisco ūmi home telepresence.

You may recall Chris was the winner of our recent NBA Sweepstakes in which our online fans and followers got the opportunity to enter to win the chance of a lifetime – meet Bill Russell live via Cisco ūmi.  We got the chance to catch up with Chris and hear what he had to say about the experience.  For starters, Chris had the same experience that many others have when they first try out ūmi. “I didn’t even realize I was in his house until he moved around and I saw the photos on his wall.”  On the man himself, Chris was effusive with praise, noting “He was very easy to talk to and makes you feel like he’s someone you’ve talked to before. Very casual.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvjhJobcc9Y

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The Power of Pervasive Video

August 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm PST

We’re having a great time in Baltimore this week at the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Customer and Industry Forum 2011 (DISA). We’ve had the opportunity to discuss telepresence with people from all across the defense industry, and we’ve learned a great deal about their innovative and enterprising communications practices.

All of these discussions of enhancing information exchange for better command and control of military operations and improving communication throughout the Defense Department highlighted, for me, the profound impact a wide video collaboration deployment can have on an agency. With telepresence connections available to all employees, business retains continuity during disruptions, teleworkers stay fully connected, and agencies fulfill their commitments to environmental sustainability, among other benefits.  Read More »

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Colorado Springs Provides Nursing Education to Rural Community

August 15, 2011 at 10:35 am PST

Rural communities are increasingly losing trained professionals to larger cities where up-to-date education & certification are more accessible. The Smart+Connected Community in Action video case study on Colorado Springs takes us to a smart+connected community in rural Colorado that is working with the bigger city of Denver to address this important issue.  

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Telepresence Primed to Optimize Multijurisdictional Emergency Response

August 15, 2011 at 5:13 am PST

When emergency strikes, people want answers. What’s going on, what is the safety threat, and perhaps most importantly, who’s in charge?

That last question can lead to some complicated answers when an incident occurs under multiple law enforcement jurisdictions. For example, take the pipe bomb scare in March 2010 at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. As Corey McKenna of Emergency Management explains, several units responded—campus police, a regional bomb squad, and the local police and fire departments—but these units did not have much history of working together. A fair bit of miscommunication and chaos ensued.

Thankfully, the above scenario proved to be nothing more than a suspicious empty suitcase. But the confusion among responding parties characterizes emergency response all too often. McKenna reports that problems with multijurisdictional response include “time and grind”—hammering out the details without the guidance of capable leadership—and “relationships”—knowing the people with whom you’re working. Read More »

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