A Cisco workshop offered on November 6, has inspired secondary teachers within the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board to incorporate 21st century learning into the classroom.
Providing some background, Cisco Manager Wadih Zaatar explained that Cisco is a global learning program focused on Information Communications Technology computer networking and career skills. The courses are pre-made, relevant, ministry-aligned course content, and free to educational institutions worldwide.
Organized by Susan Monachino, St. Jean de Brébeuf Department Head for Technology, the purpose of the workshop was to help teachers familiarize themselves with the Cisco courses so they can be easily integrated into curriculum and hopefully engage more students in learning.
Courses can range anywhere from eight to 70 hours with teacher-led or student-paced options.
Staff also had an opportunity to explore Arduino programmable circuit boards, which can be programmed to sense inputs, and produce an output. Arduino can interact with buttons, LEDs, motors, speakers, GPS units, cameras, the internet, and even smart-phones and televisions, explained Monachino.
"Use of the Arduino boards is the first step to understanding (and teaching) the Internet of Things, the fourth wave of the Internet," she said. "The Internet of Things adds sensors to inanimate objects to capture data that is sent over the Internet to be remotely processed."
"It is the goal that all secondary schools will be integrating this hardware into their curriculum by year end."
With 1.7 million world-wide students already connected to Cisco courses, classrooms are expanding beyond the traditional walls into a virtual space of endless possibility.
"It's absolutely brilliant," said Director of Education David Hansen.
"You have no choice in the tech world than to meet the student learner where they're at so you can move forward."