Cisco Telepresence technology connects students in Kenya and UAE

Yesterday we defined what really is a telepresence technology and its critical role in modern day communication. Furthermore, we had covered on some of the phenomenal work being done by CISCO, the world’s currently leading network vendor where they are investing $10 million is Cybersecurity scholarships. But this time they decided to make history and do it big in Africa by connecting children of different races from two worlds apart via the Cisco Telepresence.    

By Deputy Editor – Shingie Lev Muringi 

As part of its efforts to inspire youth to consider careers in technology, Cisco brought together students from Jebel Ali School in Dubai with their counterparts from Makini School in Nairobi, Kenya through Cisco Telepresence.

Aligned with Cisco’s vision of ‘changing the way we work, live, play, and learn,’ the digital experience provided more than 140 students an opportunity to engage live across continents to share insights into their daily lives – while gaining first-hand access to the latest technology.

President Barack Obama greets Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project Founder, via robot, during the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary reception in the Blue Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) This photograph is provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of the White House Photo Office. This photograph may not be used in any commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. This photograph is provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of the White House Photo Office. This photograph may not be used in any commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
President Barack Obama greets Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project Founder via one of Cisco’s Telepresence Technologies 

Students first engaged in an interactive learning session that explored the accelerated pace at which technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our lives and the world. They were, according to Cisco, astonished to see and hear some of the unexpected things technology is connecting and enabling and the potential implications on the way we carry out daily tasks. Students then weighed in with their ideas on what they wished to see connected and how this would enrich their lives. A lively discussion ensued on the kind of innovations students would like to see implemented and why they selected specific ideas.

Den Sullivan, Head of Software, Cisco EMEAR stated that: “With more than 50 billion devices expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020, the Internet of Things is changing the world. All kinds of unexpected things are being connected, from toothbrushes to light-bulbs and basketballs to fridges, turning everyday items into much more useful tools.”

Sullivan added that: “By hosting students that are continents apart in our offices for the day, our aim is to inspire eager young minds and illustrate the power of technology and connectivity. It’s incredible to see the kind of ideas this generation is able to come up with once you spur their imagination and open their eyes to the possibilities. It was exciting to hear how they view IoT from unconventional, fresh perspectives.”

The students then connected with each other through Cisco’s Telepresence video technology at the company’s offices in Dubai, UAE and Nairobi, Kenya. They were excited to interact with their cross-continent counterparts in real time through a vivid and true-to-life experience as if everyone was in the same location. The students gave insightful overviews on what living in a vastly different country was like, including the different chores that their typical day entailed. This stimulated questions and a lively interaction in which some UAE students decided to show off their knowledge of Swahili and an impromptu recital of the well-known Kenyan “Jambo Bwana” song took place.

Jennifer Foote, teacher at Jebel Ali School stated that: “This session really left an impression on the students as it allowed them to share their experiences and culture with others thousands of miles away. It was like a school trip to Kenya, and then we’re back by lunch!”

“The impact can be seen in the energy of the students, the quality of discussions that took place, and the different kind of information that they have retained from students their age about how life and communities truly are thousands of miles away,” saod Foote.

“Technology is transforming our lives across so many domains and we, as educators, are constantly searching for new, impactful ways to inject inspiration into the curriculum. Cisco has been really supportive in helping us develop creative approaches to learning, particularly when it comes to getting students interested in technology,” concluded Foote.

According to Cisco, the activity was launched in order to familiarize students and youth with the power and appeal of technology and to spur interest in them at a young age to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and ICT.

The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Sub Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email shingie@technomag.co.zw or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.

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