Cisco Unveils Packetville to Promote IT for Youth
Cisco’s Networking Academy, an online learning program that teaches students fundamental IT skills, announced the launch of Packetville, a Web portal with interactive educational content designed for schoolchildren ages eight through 14, and their parents, instructors and guidance counselors.
“It helps them understand how the Internet changes society, makes a difference with real-world problems and those types of things,” said Carroll McGillin, education specialist at Cisco Networking Academy. “We see kids on their own using it, and we see it in the schools. It also could be used by associations like the Girl Scouts. At the elementary-school and middle-school level—where this is targeted—what educators have asked us for are tools to help them understand the Internet better that they can really incorporate and embed in the core academic subjects like math, social studies and things like that. A lot of the research in education is showing that the middle-school age is a particularly important time to really reach students at that age to help them understand that IT is cool and exciting.”
The portal will include different customized areas for the wide range of users (students, teachers, etc.) that visit the site, McGillin said. “It’s not a structured, step-by-step course, as we have in the Cisco Academy program. These various groups of users will be able to explore technology and the different ways that IT helps communities around the world.”
One of the features available on Packetville is a series of articles that spotlight “‘IT superheroes’—notable young people who excel in technology. The site also includes two learning games featuring animated characters Peter Packet and his niece Penny Packet, respectively, who explain the Web, routers, switches, packets, viruses and other topics in the context of real-world problems. Peter Packet, which was first introduced two years ago as part of Cisco’s “Take Your Children to Work Day,” and its sequel were developed by the same creative learning studio at Cisco that built the Learning Games Trilogy on Cisco’s certified community Web site. “The feedback we got from the educators and students in the Academy program who saw it was so phenomenal that we extended access to that to the entire public,” McGillan said of the Peter Packet game.
For more information, see http://www.cisco.com/en/US/learning/netacad/index.html.