Certain circumstances demand swift action. And there is nothing wrong with getting results when pushed by necessity. But real value comes when there are benefits that extend well beyond the original situation.
Take for instance our customer – the Wichita Public Schools. As the largest school district in the state of Kansas, it supports nearly 50,000 students and 7,000+ teachers and staff across more than 90 schools and special program sites.
When the pandemic hit, the school district needed to quickly switch to virtual learning and remote work. It was only natural for them to turn to NEC. After all they were already a customer and were successfully using our on-premises Unified Communications solution.
In just 4 weeks after the request for help came in, we were able to deliver a modern approach to hybrid accessibility and academic achievement with our Microsoft-certified NETWORK CONNECT for MS Teams intelligent call routing solution.
Teachers and staff could route calls directly to specific numbers in Teams as well as to their NEC UC platform’s desk phones, providing seamless accessibility regardless of location. Additionally with unmatched carrier redundancy, regulatory compliance and failover assurance, our solution successfully delivered rich and reliable home teaching, remote advising and simplified teacher-parent support.
But what started from necessity has also become a long-range win for the school district.
“The silver lining during these difficult times is that we’re better prepared for disruptions, weather emergencies and other fast-changing circumstances thanks to our partnership with NEC,” according to Rob Dickson, CIO of Wichita Public Schools.
Take a closer look at the Wichita Public Schools experience
NETWORK CONNECT Has So Many Uses To Keep Your Organization Up & Running
Interested in exploring what NETWORK CONNECT could do for your organization?
Previously in this blog we’ve covered all of the work that NEC Foundation of America does to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning in the communities where we live and work.
Last week, NEC witnessed first-hand how the foundation’s hard work in the STEM arena is paying off when a delegation attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the computer lab at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas.
Among the delegates and speakers at the event were Dallas ISD Superintendent, Michael Hinojosa, Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO, Lynn McBee, NEC Corporation of America CIO, Juan Fontanes and Lesly Zamora, an Irma Rangel student who interned in the IT department at NEC Corporation of America this past summer.
Dr. Hinojosa stressed the importance of Irma Rangel and applauded Principal Lisa Curry for her role in helping fill the jobs pipeline for young women in STEM careers. He also noted the fact that the school’s success is made possible by the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, and community support from donor organizations like NEC Foundation of America.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fontanes outlined a brief history of NEC’s relationship with Irma Rangel and the Young Women’s Preparatory Network. After a tour of the campus earlier this year, NEC donated dollars, employee time and IT expertise to redesign and procure new equipment for the Irma Rangel computer lab. The new lab sports 26 new Dell computers, updated furniture and an interactive projector at the front of the lab.
Event attendees, including local dignitaries and media, were also treated to a demonstration by Ms. Zamora, who showcased her ability to tear down and rebuild a computer in just six minutes. The Dallas Morning News has posted a time-lapse video of the impressive demo on their blog.
DALLAS – NEC Corporation of America President and CEO Shin Takahashi accompanied DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins during a tour of several S.T.E.M. programs at middle and high school campuses on Wednesday, February 24 2016. The tour provided an opportunity to see students in action and learn the positive impact S.T.E.M. education has on student achievement.
The NEC Foundation of America is investing $250,000 in the S.T.E.M. program of the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and will be recruiting two interns from the senior class. S.T.E.M. education is one of the main focus areas of the Foundation’s mission to contribute to the creation of social value and advance society through innovative giving programs. District leaders say they are working to expand S.T.E.M. initiatives in more middle schools over the next three years.
More than 125 top dealer organizations gathered in May to attend NEC’s annual Advantage Executive Conference, held this year in Phoenix. A total of 502 attendees came together to learn about NEC’s latest Smart Solutions for Smart Business, see demonstrations of the latest solutions, and network with counterparts from other organizations.
The annual event provides an excellent opportunity for NEC dealers and consultants to meet directly with NEC product and solutions experts and management. The exhibit area featured demos of not only NEC’s newest solutions, but also related products and services from vendors who work directly with NEC.
A highlight of this year’s event was the keynote address by Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova, who spoke on “Reading the Tea Leaves: Responding to the Speed of Business.” Bova addressed “keeping the customer as the true north” when preparing for the new business reality of what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces: the convergence of social, mobile, cloud and information.
A wide range of products and solutions for both enterprise and SMB organizations were showcased during breakouts and in the exhibit area, including:
NEC’s award-winning software-defined networking (SDN) solutions and its Smart Enterprise IT portfolio of SDN-ready UC solutions
Smart Solutions for verticals, including higher ed/K-12, hospitality, healthcare and government
“This year’s conference was probably our best ever, in terms of attendance and showcasing a wide range of NEC solutions,” said Larry Levenberg, vice president of sales, NEC Corporation of America. “Our Smart Solution portfolio, featuring innovative NEC technologies such as biometrics and SDN along with our communication networks and UCC solutions, received an enthusiastic response from our dealers.”
When it comes to our current educational system, there is certainly no shortage of opinions. Realistically, we need a more efficient, better way of educating young people and adults. Fortunately, there are some forward-thinking innovators who are up to tackling the task of improving how we educate and teach.
For many students, and instructors, memories of the classroom are comprised of boring lectures and staring at the clock waiting for the torture to end. Traditionally, the classroom experience has been very linear with the instructor providing lectures, students taking notes, and of course, the dreaded pop quiz or exam. However, with the continued adoption and advancement of technology, learning experiences are changing for the better. A recent article in Fast Company magazine covered the information provided from the world’s most innovative companies in education, which outlines some of the innovations we can expect over the next five years. These include:
Students will interact with others remotely.
Success of technology in the classroom will still rely on skilled instructors.
Degrees will be unbundled, and we’ll think about diplomas differently.
Students will have a voice.
Educators and institutions will be forced to adapt.
Many of the innovations these companies expect to see are available now, including the advent of collaborative learning and online communication for the classroom. The progression of learning is now a multi-dimensional process where teachers and students pull together to enhance the learning experience. It is critical for learning management systems (LMS) to begin working toward how individual students learn, rather than a providing a traditional classroom format online.
For these reasons, NEC has created a collaborative tool that literally flips the classroom, thereby allowing students and teachers to collaborate in a way that is powerful while really improving learning opportunities.
Knowledge is Power
NEC recognized that educators were looking for a solution that provided faculty a tool to expand upon course curriculums through the addition of content. Currently, teachers are working to flip the classroom using multiple resources and platforms such as YouTube, Google Drive, and Schoology. They need a way to provide a cohesive student user experience while minimizing the amount of time students spend visiting multiple sites. Therefore, NEC constructed the Collaborative Content Management Solution (CCMS) and has joined with PassTheNotes (PTN) to offer cloud-based learning management and leverage the best existing educational solutions.
It’s an integration of technology that empowers both students and instructors to “flip the classroom” in a way that now incorporates students in the process of creating curriculum. Using the foundation of PTN, NEC embeds the collaboration solution into our user interface, providing an efficient method for faculty and students to use the entire solution easily and seamlessly.
The effect is a “flipped” classroom, where students and teachers collaborate during classroom time (either in person or online) and students not only listen to lectures during their own time, but they can also contribute to the next class lecture by uploading content into an online folder. Think of it like this – what was normally lecture now becomes an interaction between students and faculty to really drive home learning, and what was normally homework time is spent listening to faculty lectures and allowing students to add their own input to the next classroom experience.
Today, the Internet and social media are a huge part of almost everyone’s daily life. Younger generations are constantly glued to their multiple portable devices. NEC is giving students the ability to be a part of their own educational experience by gathering existing industry knowledge to develop integrations to meet the ever-changing educational needs.
The benefit to faculty and students is tangible and already being realized for those institutions adopting a flipped classroom model.
Teachers and faculty are not only able to follow the core curriculum in a more organized and simplified manner, but also are provided with the flexibility to add and expand upon their teaching elements. NEC helps faculty expand on course curriculums through the addition of content that better connects with students. In addition, NEC’s CCMS includes comprehensive training and professional development so that teachers can focus on education rather than the technology.
Students are developing a desire to be more engaged in their education. Through the flipped classroom, students can make this desire a reality. For instance, if a student is browsing the Internet and comes across a blog, video, or article that reminds her of something she is learning in school, it can easily be uploaded into the class folder. If a teacher is providing a history lesson, students are given the opportunity to collaborate on the curriculum by uploading videos from current day events that tie in with the lesson. Then, not only are students more engaged, but teachers are able to help them draw conclusions in a real-life manner that was not previously available. Through this process of sharing information, students are actively participating in their education. This creates a more personal learning experience whereby students can relate events in their life with classroom material.
Flip the Script
Education is rapidly becoming a #collaborative interaction between teachers and students. It is now moving toward a workgroup team dynamic that is focused on the educational experience and leveraging technology to increase student engagement. Students are now finding that the subjects they are studying are not only interesting, but are also relevant in everyday life.
Plus there are additional benefits beyond the improved learning environment. Students are learning to work in a virtual environment, something employers will desire in future employees. In addition, they learn valuable teamwork and collaboration skills that will help them with their future endeavors.
If you desire more information on NEC’s CCMS and how we are flipping the classroom, check out the information on our Collaborative Content Management Solution page.