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Texas Schools Build New Learning Models for STEM Subjects

April 27, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

You probably saw the headlines about the devastating tornadoes that swept through the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area a few weeks ago. Our hearts go out to those who suffered damage.

As the Lancaster area of the storm-hit region undergoes its recovery, I recently read that at least its public school students have much to look forward to in the months ahead. Lancaster schools recently announced a plan to create a “STEM District”—a union of schools committed to systematically changing teaching practices to promote state-of-the-art education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. It’s an exciting opportunity for the historically economically disadvantaged district to become a national model for teaching these critical topics. Read More »

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Virtual Fieldtrips: Connecting students to culture, geography and the world

April 23, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

Ah, the fieldtrip! Brings back memories, doesn’t it? Well, actually, the memory I always recall is not entirely a happy one. Sure the zoo was fun, but what I remember most was the bus breaking down, the monkey hitting my friend in the eye with a butterscotch candy and a dark-haired boy promptly throwing up when we walked into the hippo area. It was still fun, though, to get out of school for the day and explore what we were learning hands on. An opportunity for real-life engagement in the learning process. Unfortunately, with budget struggles, time constraints and often just a school’s rural location, fieldtrips are few and far between for many schools.

More and more schools, however, as I’ve written before, are finding ways to take virtual fieldtrips (or VFTs) allowing students to participate in the same live, interactive experience without bus rides, transportation costs and loss of instructional time. Read More »

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Are You Ready for Some Football? Students Access NFL Inner World through Telepresence

April 12, 2012 at 8:26 am PST

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. As a child, did you dream of making it as a professional athlete? Or, perhaps, as you grew a little older and your own athletic prowess gave way to other skills, you wished to someday work among the sports stars you so loved and admired?

Thanks to the extensive education outreach programs provided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, today’s youngsters who aspire to careers in professional football can learn how to make these dreams into realities. Using telepresence, the Hall of Fame reaches students in all 50 states with virtual fieldtrips to National Football League (NFL) offices and museum collections and archives. The in-person, real-time telepresence connections let participating students speak directly with NFL doctors, accountants, public relations leaders, sales staff, and more, enabling them to learn how these employees earned their positions and what it takes to succeed. The telepresence links also let the Hall of Fame use special document cameras and computers to bring some of its 15,000 football artifacts “directly” into classrooms. Read More »

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10 years from today: Classrooms with different cultures

April 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm PST

What will our educational system look like in a decade? Will there even be physical classrooms? Will school have evolved into some sort of theme park full of interactive technologies and fun learning gadgets?

Technology will certainly play a part in creating the exciting atmospheres that educators seek to provide for their students. Educators and administrators have even taken the conversation about educating our youth to the next level by utilizing social media tools such as Twitter and Edmodo.com to communicate with each other for fresh ways to inspire youth to find their own education intriguing.

Read More »

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Video Blog: Been to the Great Barrier Reef Lately?

March 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm PST

A great discussion here following a virtual fieldtrip (VFT) to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia by a 5th grade class at Augusta Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina,  .

Cisco’s Dr. Lance Ford discusses the experience with one of the 5th grade students and her father who also attended the VFT.

Margaret Murphy, the 5th grade teacher who planned the VFT had this to say:

“Extending an opportunity to students to (voluntarily) come to school and immerse themselves in a foreign ecosystem is an amazing new method to reach our children…. Read More »

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