For generations, students starting out in school were expected to learn the three R’s: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. But in today’s educational milieu, there is a new set of three R’s, ones that have better alliterative qualities than their antecedents: rigor, relevance and relationships. It is this second group that Cisco Systems’ Networking Academy chose as criteria for a recently launched recognition program for students, instructors and educational institutions.
“About two years ago, we worked with our corporate folks to look at how the academy really up-levels the knowledge of students and really offers education with a different twist — not only having more academic rigor to the program but also the sense that students get really relevant skills for the marketplace,” said Gene Longo, Cisco Networking Academy senior manager. “You’ll hear a lot of companies and even educational institutions refer to the new three R’s. We thought we would take a spin on that and really apply it to the academy program: The rigor because there are really strong math, science and language arts curricula in the program, the relevance because it’s a very skill-intensive program and then relationships that are formed with local communities, whether it’s with economic councils or business partners.”
The Cisco Networking Academy, a global training institution that provides high school and college students with networking technical skills, intends to make its 3R Award Program an annual event.
“This is the first time we’ve launched an official recognition program for U.S. academy instructors, students and institutions,” Longo said. “We definitely looked at this as our first year out of the gate, and we’re looking to continue it with next summer’s conferences. We’re already starting to talk locations and dates, so schools can get it on their calendars.”
All candidates for awards were judged by a panel from the Cisco Learning Institute, a nonprofit foundation established by Cisco but run as a separate entity. Longo said the nominations process was encouraging, especially where instructors were concerned.
“It was interesting because when we first put it out there, we didn’t communicate this to students,” Longo said. “In our second announcement, we actually used the student distribution alias we have. We were overwhelmed by the number of students who nominated their instructors. It was pleasing for us to know that students thought that much of their teachers.”
For more information, see http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad.