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September, 26th 2014
8:00
 

Perth – Australia’s most westerly capital city – is known for its sunshine, its natural beauty and its relaxed pace. With an estimated population of a little over 1.97 million, Perth is Australia’s fourth most populous region and is growing rapidly. And that growth requires a strong and considered strategy for city development.

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Perth team with the Lord Mayor of Perth and Council project sponsors

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Perth team with the Lord Mayor of Perth and Council project sponsors

To ensure that we provide the best possible services to our citizens now and well into the future, it was clear to us that Perth needed to be smarter in the way we collated, distributed, accessed and used key infrastructure data. Transport, water, energy and other infrastructure utilities need to be in sync with each other for us to be able to plan and use resources in a valuable and efficient way.

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As in many parts of the world, India is experiencing challenges in delivering quality education to all children. In a recent skills assessment, for example, a random sampling
of students performed significantly below expected levels in mathematics, geography, general science and social studies – all in spite of a 12.3 percent increase in nationwide education spending.

Young learners explore math and science concepts on IBM KidSmart modules

Young learners explore math and science concepts on IBM KidSmart modules

To secure its future in the global economy, India needs to focus on outcome-based approaches to education, writes GMR Varalakshmi Foundation Community Services Director Dr. Meena Raghunathan. In her latest article for the Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs blog for IBM in India, Dr. Raghunathan praises the use of IBM KidSmart computer learning modules as an effective way to attract and engage young children in math and science education. Through the holistic approach of KidSmart, she writes, technology becomes part of a child’s “overall experience” – engaging the senses and opening the door to future learning.

Read “What Are Students Learning?” here.

Nitin Bhargava is a Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager with IBM in India.

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(La versión española más adelante)

IBM’s breakthrough technologies in cloud, analytics, mobile computing, social computing and data security are transforming the way companies do business and governments serve their constituents. That’s why IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs was so excited to work with the government of Córdoba Province, Argentina to improve the teaching of English in more than 100 public schools across the province.

The author outlines the benefits of IBM's new technologies during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week

The author outlines the benefits of IBM’s new technologies during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week

I recently had the chance to discuss IBM’s new technologies with more than 100 educators and members of the general public during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week – the largest technology event in a city with global aspirations to become a hub for innovative technologies. IT Education Week is hosted by education and technology specialists with the goal of raising technology awareness among the general public and decision makers in the public and private sectors.

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September, 18th 2014
8:00
 

As IBM announces Watson Analytics – developed to make sophisticated data analysis more accessible to non-technical users – more than 40 IBM Watson employees are collaborating with students at The City University of New York (CUNY) to focus Watson’s cognitive computing powers on improving higher education and the delivery of city services. Today’s IBM Watson Employee Day of Service at CUNY will complement IBM Watson Case Competitions held at colleges and universities across the U.S. to increase awareness of the transformative power of cognitive computing.

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The Watson Case Competitions also will inspire students to advance their skills related to cognitive computing, and help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace as they prepare for 21st century careers. The case competitions are part of IBM’s global commitment to advancing the academic rigor and economic relevance of education, and providing graduates clear pathways to good jobs.

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Joe Keenan, executive vice president of The Nature Conservancy’s Latin America region, leads a staff of more than 320 people based in sixteen countries. Under Keenan’s direction, the Conservancy designs innovative strategies focusing on water, food, and infrastructure: collaborates with indigenous communities to help protect their rivers and forests; and establishes partnerships with the private sector to foster sustainable business and agricultural practices. IBM’s Corporate Service Corps interviewed him in connection with our engagement with TNC in the Amazon.

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A visitor to the small town on the outskirts of Midland might wonder what kids here do for fun. In this town comprised of 16 dusty blocks in the middle of the Texas high plains, “it’s a big deal if one of these kids gets to go to the gas station to buy a burrito,” says a science teacher at the local high school. But with the support of industry partners like IBM, science and math students here and across Texas are anything but bored. They’re busy learning about engineering, building robots and dreaming big.

Award-Winning Future TAME Scholars at the 2014 Texas State Math and Science Competition

Award-Winning Future TAME Scholars at the 2014 Texas State Math and Science Competition

With a focus on engaging girls and students from historically underserved groups, the
Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) has provided innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs for K through 12 kids since 1976. TAME designs programs that spark kids’ interest in STEM early on, and later connects them with education and employment opportunities. Industry partnerships ensure that TAME program participants have access to leading-edge resources such as IBM TryScience – an online platform for science exploration. And it’s not just the students who benefit. IBM’s platform for teachers – Teachers TryScience – enables ongoing professional development in STEM education.

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American students generally lose about two months’ worth of grade-level learning equivalency over the summer months. This summer learning loss is especially problematical among low-income children, who often lack access to learning opportunities outside of school. That’s why Camp Fire actively engages children in central Texas through our Camp Fire Summer Camp. Our goal is to expose children to STEM disciplines such as environmental science, biology, physics and engineering in an environment that’s instructive and fun. We want to help ensure that a child’s summer break from school isn’t a break
from learning.

Camp Fire Kids engaging with IBM Watson

Camp Fire Kids engaging with IBM Watson

This summer, IBM invited our young campers to participate in the refinement of leading IBM Watson technology that will enable computers to respond to children’s verbal cues – essentially allowing children to converse with and learn from computers using natural language. IBM Watson technology was developed to analyze unstructured data, so getting unadulterated input from our summer campers was a great way to teach Watson about how children think, and how to communicate with them.

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September, 9th 2014
8:00
 

 

Five IBM volunteers and I recently traveled from Shanghai to the Jiangxi Province city of Jinggangshan (population 156,000) to deliver and install 10 KidSmart early learning computer systems at two local Kindergartens. KidSmart is designed to help young children explore math and science concepts through interactive games. The systems also give many young learners their first exposure to computer equipment – technology that will play an essential role in their educational, personal and professional lives in the 21st Century.

IBM volunteers assemble KidSmart computer learning centers

IBM volunteers assemble KidSmart computer learning centers

We used to outsource KidSmart delivery and installation, and then conduct teacher training in Beijing. But this time IBM volunteers did the set up, making use of the IBM On Demand Community Introduce KidSmart Early Learning Activity Kit. It took five of us six hours to assemble the 10 KidSmart units, but it was worth it to spend that time on-site with our clients – the young learners and their teachers.

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It can be challenging for a small country like the Czech Republic to compete in the global economy. As a country of just 10 million inhabitants, it’s important for our educational system to prepare graduates for 21st century jobs. In the same way that many trends and measures of liberal capitalism have developed here since the fall of the communist regime 25 years ago, it is now time to evolve our educational system to keep pace with the times.

Students experiment with robotics during an IT summer program at IBM in the Czech Republic

Students experiment with robotics during an IT summer program at IBM in the Czech Republic

To help make this happen, IBM joined parent groups and nonprofit organizations to launch Czech Talks About Education in 2012. The program was part of a national campaign to redesign the country’s educational system, and IBM has been instrumental in attracting broader stakeholder engagement and driving the discussion of how to modernize our approaches to teaching and learning.

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In 2008, when 36 Amazon municipalities were put on the Brazilian government’s
blacklist as the country’s worst deforesters, they didn’t just have a reputational problem. The government also curtailed the ability of farmers and ranchers in those municipalities
to sell their products.

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The Nature Conservancy’s Amazon team had already started working on a solution. It’s PAM– an environmental management portal designed to help municipalities enforce Brazil’s Forest Code, help landowners comply with the code, and make it possible for municipalities to issue land-use licenses much more quickly.

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