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Connected Justice: It’s more than simply cutting costs

June 1, 2012 at 8:34 am PST

As video becomes more pervasive in our daily lives, we increasingly hear about using live, interactive video to take students on virtual fieldtrips, connect colleagues across the globe and enable better access to healthcare for rural and underserved communities. Collaborative technologies connect people and cut costs across a variety of settings. Another area we’re seeing new, innovative applications is in courts, corrections and law enforcement.

In Dallas County, Texas, for example, 25 to 50 prisoners are processed daily, telepresence systems were installed in the courthouse, the county jails and the infirmary. As one might imagine, transporting prisoners who have already been booked back to the courthouse for another arraignment takes a significant amount of time and, therefore, cost. The process entails the Sheriff’s Office getting a list of all the prisoners facing new or altered charges; have a deputy gather them up from the various facilities in which they are housed and place them in a holding cell; and then bring them all back in to the courthouse together for their new arraignment. When all is said and done (secure a van, get two deputies to transport the prisoners in the van; get through traffic; and then go through security at the other end), it takes at least two hours. However, with the technology on-hand, the county has been able to re-arraign 700 prisoners a month without having to transport them. Also, by enabling court dealings via a secure network it reduces paper work, improves flexibility for the courts and dramatically decreases travel costs when working with geographically spread-out participants Read More »

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Congratulations to This Year’s Computerworld Honors Gold Medal Laureates

May 22, 2012 at 9:36 am PST

Each year the Computerworld Honors Program recognizes individuals and organizations that create and use information technology to promote and advance public welfare, contribute to the greater good of society and change the world for the better.

We are proud to say that four Cisco nominees from public sector, including one school district and one university, were selected as Gold Medal Laureates because of their innovative uses of collaboration technology. Brief descriptions of all four are listed below. Read More »

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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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