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Smarter Education
November 24th, 2014

Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina

Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina

By Michael King

The bell has rung for the need to transform education.

Although elementary and secondary education has evolved significantly over the past decades, the near future of our industry is set to have even more impactful developments.

Technological advances in Big Data analytics, mobile proliferation in and outside of the classroom, and the emergence of cloud-based smart content is creating increasingly precise tools to determine which educational practices will prove most effective and radically transform current educational practices.

Such cutting-edge analytics and cloud-based smart content can help educators unlock deep insights that will transform our approach to learning and help move the classroom from assembly-line models into a truly personalized environment – environments that motivate and engage learners at all levels, from kindergarteners learning the alphabet to university students exploring majors. Continue Reading »

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Charity Wayua, Ph.D., IBM Research - Africa

Charity Wayua, Ph.D., IBM Research – Africa

By Charity Wayua, Ph.D.

I come from a family of educators. So when it came to choosing a career, it was natural for me to go into education. My vocation, though, is research. I study educational systems so that I can help re-imagine what they can be.

Few places can benefit as much from this kind of research than Africa, where I grew up and now work as a scientist at IBM’s new Research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. Africa is a paradox. It has seen tremendous growth during the past decade.

And yet half of the children in Africa will reach adolescence unable to read, write or do basic math. Two-thirds of those who don’t receive schooling are girls, because many of them have to stay home and take care of their younger brothers or sisters. Continue Reading »

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November 5th, 2014

Professor Ralf Steinmetz, Technische Universitat Darmstadt

Dr. Ralf Steinmetz, Technische Universitat Darmstadt

By Dr. Ralf Steinmetz

Today there are more than 9 billion connected devices such as, smartphones, sensors and more around the world. That number is expected to grow to between 50 billion and a trillion within the next decade.

These connected devices are at the heart of the Internet of Things and contribute volumes to our society’s growing mountain of Big Data, which provide insights to everything from biometrics to energy consumption, and trends to preferences.

This increasingly unprecedented amount of data is driving dramatic changes across industries and requires a new level of power to process and analyze it all: the cloud. Continue Reading »

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Rainer Pirker, IBM MobileFirst Leader and Mobile Ambassador

Rainer Pirker, IBM MobileFirst Leader and Mobile Ambassador

By Rainer Pirker

The next wave of mobile adoption for universities will require more than mere investments in infrastructure to support the rising demand on WiFi – it will mean elevating the user experience by constantly evolving application design strategies that reflect and resonate with the changing preferences of students.

These designs are increasingly transactional, like mobile wallet functionality, and incorporate greater data analytics and social tie-ins that further refine and improve the user experience and deliver new services.

For example, creating a fulfilling, dynamic learning environment requires building on mobile engagement strategies that link to social communities to engage on other platforms that students rely on for information and collaboration. Continue Reading »

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By Wim Steelant and Lu Wang

A lot goes into getting students excited about science and technology. One key way to do this is to get students involved in hands-on projects and be a part of environments where technology is at the center, so that they can see it at work and use it to solve problems, other than updating one’s social network status from a smartphone.

 At St. Thomas University in Miami we are focusing on bolstering our School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management capabilities. Our strategy rests on the promise to offer students innovative classroom curricula and collaborative research opportunities utilizing a cloud infrastructure aimed at getting them excited about the capabilities and potential of cloud computing within and outside university walls.

Continue Reading »

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Notre Dame High School 10th Graders, Filsan Nur and Erica Tan, in front of their mobile app: Burger Party, in Ottawa, March 27, 2014.

Notre Dame High School 10th Graders, Filsan Nur and Erica Tan, in front of their mobile app, Burger Party, in Ottawa, March 27, 2014.

By Rob White

What do Healthy Splash, Dance Penguin Style, Dino Boy, Burger Party, and Ziggy Bones all have in common?

They’re all mobile applications and they were all developed by a group of 3rd and 10th grade students in Ottawa, Canada, taking part in the program this week.

This pioneering program encourages the development of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills in young people. Specifically, it links primary students with high-schoolers and private-sector industry mentors to collaborate on mobile educational games and app development. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Christelle Scharff, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Pace University

Dr. Christelle Scharff, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Pace University

By Dr. Christelle Scharff

Mobile technology is closing the achievement gap and providing students and adults around the world with unprecedented access to education.

Mobile learning offers new ways to support learning through tablets, MP3 players and phones. It accommodates different styles of learning – anywhere, anytime and, particularly, on the go. Cloud technologies are at the root of mobile education’s rapid expansion, opening up new learning possibilities for people across the globe who previously had no access to any kind of education at all. Cloud technologies are used in solutions going from SMS services adapted to basic phones to sophisticated mobile apps for smart phones. Continue Reading »

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Evan Nisonson, Evan Nisonson, CEO, ConnectEDU

Evan Nisonson, CEO, ConnectEDU

By Evan Nisonson

A staggering one-in-three high school graduates who took the ACT tests in 2013 are not ready for college, the testing organization has said in a recent report. Of the 1.8 million high school graduates who took the test last year, only 26 percent achieved college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects of English, reading, math and science. Another 27 percent met two or three benchmarks, and 16 percent met just one.

This is a significant challenge to the expectations of policy makers, educators, parents and students themselves who look to our educational systems to better prepare the youth of today into the skilled workforce of the future. To be clear, the number of unprepared, or even under-prepared, college freshman can impact states even today through a rise in unemployment and a decrease in the number of much-needed skilled workers. We must do better. part of a solution is to arm our teachers with better tools, such as digital content, that would lead to a more personalized and more impactful curricula for students. The other is harnessing the multitude of data generated in education to establish linkages between K-12, postsecondary, and workforce partners.

The latter part of the solution is what the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has chosen to deploy to better prepare their students for college and careers. The aim of the project is to facilitate collaboration between educators, parents, and students to develop academic, financial, and future career plans that align with student aspirations. Continue Reading »

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Adalio Sanchez, General Manager, IBM x86 and PureSystems Solutions, IBM

Adalio Sanchez, General Manager, IBM x86 and PureSystems Solutions, IBM

By Adalio Sanchez

Forward-thinking academic institutions rely on advanced technology systems to support internal research programs and to improve their own IT operations. Just as importantly, the practical application of these technologies in the academic world plays a critical role in promoting the development and education of students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Throughout my career as a technologist, I’ve witnessed firsthand how the right technology solutions have the power to foster and advance STEM education and make our education systems smarter – from turning ideas into useful knowledge and practical business technologies that can benefit our economy and society, to filling the employment pipeline with workers equipped with the skills necessary to make them competitive and successful. Continue Reading »

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Jon Mogford, Vice Chancellor for Research, Texas A&M University System

Jon Mogford, Vice Chancellor of Research, Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System and IBM have created one of the world’s largest computational sciences infrastructure. Built on a mix of high performance computing technologies that include Blue Gene/Q, Power 7 and System x servers, scientists and engineers across the system’s 11 universities and seven state agencies will work on projects dedicated to advancing agriculture, geosciences and engineering. Early tests pitted the Blue Gene/Q, installed at TAMUS’s flagship campus in College Station, on a material sciences problem that previously took weeks. The Blue Gene/Q’s 418 Teraflops solved it in less than an hour.

Jon Mogford, the Vice Chancellor of Research for TAMUS, will play a key role in the coordination and success of these diverse projects, teams and technologies. He met with IBM Smarter Planet to discuss how the university system is putting this massive new infrastructure to work. Continue Reading »

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