UAE Students Engage Live with their Kenyan Counterparts through Cisco Telepresence
Over 140 students from UAE and Kenya engage in live, face-to-face interactions through immersive digital experience that removes boundaries, bridges time-zones and cultures
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 immersive 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.
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 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.
“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 lightbulbs and basketballs to fridges, turning everyday items into much more useful ‘devices’,” said Den Sullivan, Head of Software, Cisco EMEAR. “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 their typical day entails. 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.
“Today’s 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!” said Jennifer Foote, teacher at Jebel Ali School. “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.”
“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,” added Ms. Foote.
The activity is part of Cisco’s ongoing efforts 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.