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Cisco Show and Share expands education for Texas schools through video

Denton Independent School District selected Cisco Show and Share for expanding student access to 'teacher's class materials for 'flipped learning.'

Collaborative video technology has its uses beyond the traditional enterprise. Video-sharing and conferencing applications are helping educational institutions by changing the way teachers and students use class time, engage with one another and access content while outside the classroom.

[Cisco Show and Share] is ... like having a district-wide YouTube Channel.

Barry Fox,
director of instructional technology,
Denton ISD

Educators at Denton Independent School District (ISD), a 33-school district in Texas, wanted to alter the way students consume class materials and information regardless of the students' skill level. The district chose the Cisco Show and Share application to fulfill its goal of offering "flipped learning" for its 28,000 students, said Barry Fox, director of instructional technology for Denton ISD.

The flipped-learning method allows students to access content and lesson information prior to class. Rather than students using homework to prove they can apply their knowledge on a topic, teachers and students can work together through guided practice because the student is already up to speed with the day's lesson, Fox said. "Students are getting the lecture at home, and doing the homework at school," he said.

Cisco's video-sharing and webcasting software application gives teachers and administrators a secure platform to record and share class materials securely for their students to view from any location or device.

Cisco Show and Share: A private 'YouTube' for the school district

Teachers needed help embracing the new flipped education model. After researching video technology, Fox and his team selected Cisco Show and Share and rolled out the application to help teachers curate content to accompany their lesson plans for students.

The video-sharing application can be launched in a Web browser; through Denton ISD's Google+ pages, website or learning management system; or via the Cisco Show and Share mobile application. Show and Share allows teachers to upload videos created from any webcam, desktop or mobile device, and edit and tag the video to make it more easily searchable. Teachers also have their own pages with their videos, or students can search by school campus or topic.

"Students can go into [the application] and watch the video as many times as they need to achieve a deeper understanding of the content," Fox said. "The student can also go to another teacher's Show and Share page for another viewpoint -- because sometimes [a lesson] clicks when you hear it from someone else."

Cisco Show and Share, a software offering that is preloaded on Cisco servers, also integrates with Cisco Telepresence and WebEx tools in Denton's data center. The integrations with other Cisco UC tools are especially helpful for teachers recording classes for absent or homebound students, said Roy Verges, video specialist for Denton ISD.

"Teachers have the option of recording their classes for absent students to watch later, and the integration with our Cisco Jabber tools is very convenient for the long-term, homebound student," he said.

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Denton ISD is encouraging a bring-your-own-device policy throughout its 33 schools for both teachers and students so that students have access to Show and Share in the classroom, at the discretion of the teacher, Fox said. "It's like having a district-wide YouTube Channel," he said.

But Fox and his team also kept security and privacy in mind for their students. Cisco Show and Share lives within the Denton's IT infrastructure, ensuring that the district owns its video content. The software has reporting capabilities that grant administrators visibility into traffic and viewing activity -- such as what videos were watched by whom and length of time users viewed a video, said Denton's Verges. While teachers have content-authoring and publishing privileges, students can have different levels of access based on school campus or grade, he said.

"We were really concerned for the safety and security of our children, so we wanted something we owned, that we could control and that also followed the guidelines," Fox said. "With our system, we don't have to worry about our content being stumbled upon by anyone else."

Expanding access to video-sharing applications for teachers in the future

Most teachers currently have to submit content to the school administration for approval before publication, and Denton ISD understands that adoption will grow if teachers aren't waiting on their videos to be approved. The Cisco Show and Share platform is purchased as a perpetual license and allows for an unlimited number of content authors, but limits the number of publisher licenses.

"The teacher that has to wait for approval won't make use of the system as much," Denton's Fox said. "We are working on giving teachers more privileges and access to be publishers of their own content faster."

As more teachers embrace the video-sharing application and flipped-learning style, students will have faster access to an innovative educational style, Fox said.

"Students are digital natives," he said. "Rather than using outdated means of instruction, we can start teaching them using technology they are familiar with, with added layers for more advanced learners or students that may need a little extra help."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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