OPENING COMMENT: Anne, you have so many significant contributions to the industry and the educational community over a multi-faceted and very successful career. We thank you for taking the time to share your deep insights, experiences, and wisdom with our audience.
A: It is my pleasure.
Q1: From your remarkable past history, please share your general insights on IT.
A: The Information Technology industry has certainly broadened its base to include all industry segments (technology is not just in technology companies - it is used everywhere in governments, financial institutions, education, small to medium businesses, music and entertainment etc). In other words, technology is the enabler to communications and we see the ubiquitous adoption of voice, video at the fingertips of today's youth. Today, IT departments are stronger than ever before, supporting the technical and business operations of all companies.
Q2: Tell us more about your current role and your greatest challenge.
A: My role as a Manager continues to evolve. From launching the Cisco Networking Academy program in Canada 10 years ago the biggest challenge is to continually educate and update the marketplace, (K-12 through Post Secondary institutions, policy makers, Ministers of Education), about this unique IT training program and the many benefits it brings to today's students and communities across Canada.
Q3: What is the Cisco Network Academy Program?
A: Cisco is an enabler. Many years ago, Cisco partnered with educators to create a pedagogically sound on-line skills-based curriculum to train teachers and students on how networks were designed, built and managed. Actual hands-on skills in the classroom, state-of-the-art assessment mechanisms built into the content provide students and teachers with instant results and allow the learner to improve their understanding of the topic. This reinforces learning with great success. Teachers and students develop the technical skills and knowledge about how the internet and computers work. This continues today, and on a broader scale.
Today, we offer 18 IT-related courses that are available in classrooms around the country - teaching students about entry, mid to advanced level IT skills all that map to Industry-recognized certifications (A+, CCENT, CCNA, CCNP, Wireless and Security).
Q4: Please share some stories and the resulting lessons from your work in Education.
A: We have found many champions in education - Teachers, Principals, Directors of Education, Superintendents, Ministers of Education, Economic Development. They recognize that technology is an enabler and a tool; and most importantly, that partnering with Industry is a good thing because it helps teachers and students keep up-to-date with technology.
Over the past 10 years we have developed many, many success stories of how our Networking Academy program has impacted the lives of Canadian students. From high school students, adults taking continuing education, to students in post-secondary, to First Nations students learning in remote communities - it is all about access to these specialized IT training programs.
Cisco Canada has also been a proud sponsor of the Skills Canada organization. Skilled trades (IT trades are included in the competitions) are badly needed in Canada and around the world. Cisco Corporate is also a sponsor of the World Skills organization. www.worldskills.org, www.skillscanada.com
Q5: How does your work link to government, business, industry, media, and internationally?
A: As I indicated above, in today's world we are all linked together. Communications is heightened through the use of technology. All of Canada's provinces are interested in economic development and education. Partnerships with Industry, government and education are critical.
Q6: What are major challenges facing ICT faculty?
A: My personal response here is ICT faculty are operating with reduced budgets and don't seem to be able to keep up with changing technology and costs of equipment.
Q7: How can ICT professionals get involved in making a difference and how can they make contributions?
A: ICT professionals can volunteer at their local schools, become a mentor to students, and talk about the various careers one can have that involves ICT.
Q8: In your current role, what are the biggest challenges, and their solutions? How does this relate to business?
Q9: What are the five biggest issues facing society as it relates to education, and what are your recommendations for meeting these challenges?
CLOSING COMMENT: Anne, we thank you for sharing your time with us and we will follow your work in the educational community with interest.
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