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Back to School: Transforming the Classroom with IoE

With students and teachers heading back to school, I’ve been thinking about when attended high school and college. For me, collaboration meant getting together with study groups, phone calls for homework help and office hours with teachers. For my two children – one a college junior and one college freshman – I have seen streaming video, text messages and online sessions with educators thousands of miles away turn our kitchen table into a classroom with a simple click of a button.Back to School

Beyond convenience and the overwhelming coolness factor of being able to connect virtually with teachers and classmates, I often wonder how technology will impact education and careers in the long run. Collaboration software is pervasive on many campuses, transforming the learning process, academic research and the relationship between students and instructors. With the advent of BYOD and mobile technology, collaboration is even becoming more accessible.  Will the integration of collaboration in their education translate into career skills?

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Concert Connects Students, Celebrities on Virtual Stage

May 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm PST

Budget cuts are costing many American students their arts education. As a wanna-be artist and overall proponent of all things creative, I have long valued the impact of arts education – especially in public schools. Unfortunately, these are the programs that are too often cut when budgets are slashed and difficult decisions must be made.

OK, so you probably won’t argue with me that art is important – after all, as children, it’s how we learned a lot of things, right? Who doesn’t have at least one thing they use a song to remember? I only have to key into the tune of ’3 blind mice’ to remember how to calculate the area of a circle (thanks to Mr. Bowlware, my fourth grade math teacher).

LAUSD students participate in BridgingGapsconcert

Studies show, too, that arts-engaged students show more positive outcomes in a variety of areas than their low-arts-engaged peers – especially in socially and economically disadvantaged student populations. This is exactly what makes programs like Fred Martin’s Urban Entertainment Institute (UEI) so valuable – and inspiring. Read More »

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Connected Citizens. Connected City. What’s Next?

July 19, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

OK, so I don’t know anyone who would  ever say they enjoyed getting a traffic ticket, but technology is proving to at least make dealing with them a little more tolerable.  The city of San Antonio recently announced that it will begin implementing interactive video kiosks leveraging Cisco Connected Justice solutions. Somewhat similar to those movie kiosks you may see in your local grocery store, they will allow citizens to actually appear before a judge -- right from the grocery store.

Devised by Municipal Court Presiding Judge John Bull and court manager Jason Tabor, the kiosk, which is currently being tested with a local municipal court, allows up to 20 people to be linked via telepresence to the court. Read More »

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Reconnecting McDowell Boosts Education in West Virginia School District

June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm PST

For some, the economic hard times began before the recession hit. McDowell County, an ex-coal mining county in West Virginia, has been in decline since the coal industry began pulling out in the 1960s.

What used to be a town of 120,000 is now barely 22,000 and the county has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. But a new project launched in December is aiming to change all this.

Reconnecting McDowell is a comprehensive, long-term effort to make educational improvement in McDowell County. Under the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia State Board of Education, more than 80 partners from businesses, non-profits, governments and labor have signed a covenant illustrating their commitment to solving McDowell’s hardships by providing services, money, products and/or expertise to schools and students and their families. Read More »

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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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