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#ISTE2014 – Beyond Connectedness to the Internet of Everything

July 1, 2014 at 11:29 am PST

ISTE2014 logoISTE 2014 marks the launch of summertime for many educators as they come together to connect and share ideas about technology and innovation.  Unsurprisingly, the theme of “connectedness” continues with this year’s show in Atlanta.  The ability for schools to connect to the Internet and help make access to technology ubiquitous is changing learning in ways we probably never imagined: students can now take virtual field trips; they can access almost any information any time with the touch of a button, and traditional textbooks are going digital.  Rapid advances in technology are accelerating change.

In 2015, 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet.  More things are connected to the Internet than there are people in the world.   By 2020, that number will double to 50 billion devices, and each person will have an average 6.58 devices.  We know that Internet of Things (IoT) connections will grow from two billion to six billion in the next five years, producing an enormous amount of information. Read More »

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Washington State Puts Cisco Solutions to the Test

January 23, 2013 at 10:17 am PST

Every day educators and students from more than 400 locations across Washington State have world-class educational resources at their fingertips, and every day they rely on the same network to access it.

In 1996, Washington legislators and educational leaders saw the Internet’s potential to transform learning. To guarantee that students across the state would always have equal access to online courses, resources, programs and degrees, they passed a bill to create a single broadband network that would connect all educational institutions.

The project, dubbed the K-20 Education Network, required a network that was high-performing, cost-effective, secure, scalable and reliable. Six years after the bill was passed, Washington State has a fast and reliable network that connects 99.8 percent of the state’s schools, community colleges, universities and libraries giving 1.5 million students access to the Internet and voice and videoconferencing services.

Read More »

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Challenging Colleges to Cut Costs Through Technology

March 5, 2012 at 9:24 am PST

If you’re a parent, you might want to sit down. Some financial advisors predict a four-year college education that begins in 2015 will cost about $120,000. And that’s for public school. The private price tag runs closer to $230,000.

You can exhale now. Thankfully, the federal government has taken note of the ever-heavier burden families bear to cover college tuition. In his January 24 State of the Union address, President Obama challenged higher education institutions to find innovative ways to cut costs and acknowledged universities that have optimized their technology in an effort to lower student expenses. His praises echoed those delivered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the November 2011 Financial Student Aid conference. Read More »

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Telepresence Can Build Bridges Between Young Learners

February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am PST

Two classes of New Jersey middle school students recently enjoyed a unique opportunity for exchange with their peers. From neighboring towns, the eighth graders live worlds away from each other demographically—one town is largely affluent and white, while the other is mostly low income with a predominately black and Hispanic population. Each class studied John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and they visited each other’s schools to discuss perceptions of the novel.

As reported in The New York Times, the students at both middle schools found the interaction with their counterparts eye-opening and rewarding, both in terms of literary analysis and cultural understanding. The ability to see the text—and life—from a different perspective fostered a rich educational experience.

With telepresence and other collaborative technologies, students are able to mimic the exchange in which the New Jersey youth participated, except they could share ideas with and experience the cultures of peers not only across town boundaries, but also across state lines and country borders. Telepresence enables a real-time, high-definition connection that allows for a quality of conversation comparable to in-person interaction, creating a unified classroom across geographies. The telepresence set-up establishes an environment that feels inclusive and intimate—the students would feel as though they had traveled to each other’s schools. They could see the detail in each other’s settings, in clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and other aesthetics that make up parts of a culture. Read More »

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Cisco TelePresence Turns Cities “Smart”

June 2, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

A trip to the DMV -- a thought that causes mild apprehension and dread -- can require a lofty time investment. By lofty, I mean that if you go on your lunch break, don’t count on being home for dinner. It’s just one of those necessary hassles we’ve come to grudgingly accept.

But behold the DMV in the energy efficient city of the future, and behold it from your living room couch: a Cisco TelePresence connection that lets you renew your license in your PJs. No emissions from the drive to the office. No lines once you get there, which helps to conserve your energy -- and sanity.

It’s all part of the development of Smart Cities —energy efficient urban centers of the not-so-distant future. With telepresence, Cisco is on the cutting edge of these cities’ evolution.

Witness Songdo, South Korea, a new city built with the “greenest” of standards. Cisco is working with Songdo’s developers to put telepresence technology in every home, with the aim of reducing energy consumption. At the GigaOm GreenNet conference in April, Cisco’s Marthin De Beer discussed telepresence’s role in Songdo and 100 other urban development projects, including a retrofit of Charlotte, North Carolina. In Charlotte, Cisco partners with the city and its utility to decrease building energy use by 20 percent.

De Beer noted in his remarks that telepresence has saved Cisco $800 million in travel expenses during the last five years, writes Greentech Grid’s Eric Wesoff. Translate those savings into municipal dollars, and you find more money for education, infrastructure, and countless social services. Cities adopting Cisco TelePresence technology stand to not only curb energy consumption, but also to enrich the lives of their residents (and DMV employees) in many ways.

I don’t know about you, but the grass sure is looking greener on the smarter side of town.

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