How Cisco Canada’s I CAN Learn Program is Connecting Students to the Science of Sport, Virtually

Do sport wheelchairs have breaks?

How long does it take to make a sport wheelchair from design to manufacturing? What do you have to study to become a sports scientist?

And how long have you been training for the upcoming TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games?

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These were just some of the questions asked, and answered, by the over 1,200 students across Ontario who joined Cisco’s I CAN Learn Virtual Field Trip on February 11, 2015.

Students were introduced to research associate Jim Nikkel, from SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, who explained the process behind designing sport wheelchairs: from developing initial sketches, to using CAD modeling and building prototypes with 3D printers, to manufacturing the final prototype. They also got a rare look inside the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), a training facility for high performance athletes, and the opportunity to meet Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Team member, and Parapan Am athlete, Robert ‘Bo’ Hedges. Sports Scientist Devon Frayne also joined to teach students about the technology used to improve an athlete’s performance.

I CAN Learn

And, they did it all from the comfort of their classroom using Cisco WebEx.

This was the first in a series of eight Virtual Field Trips, which are intended to expose students to the real-world application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through the sports of the TORONTO 2015 Games.

Students were inspired by Bo, who talked not only about his love of basketball and training regime for the upcoming Games, but also about the engineering aspects of his sport wheelchair. For instance, did you know that sport wheelchair wheels are cambered (angled) at 20 degrees in order to provide optimal balance, turning ability and performance?

CSIO Sports Scientist Devon introduced students to the technology he uses to help athletes achieve podium performances, including motion capture and a Wood way blade treadmill. The treadmill is designed to be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs and is used to assess an athlete’s cardiovascular endurance. Bo thrilled students with a demo as he quickly accelerated to over 12 km/h on the treadmill, demonstrating his impressive athletic ability.

Judging by the response from the students and their insightful questions, the session was a tremendous success in getting students to understand the important role STEM plays in sports and sports performance. It also exposed them to exciting careers in the field.

But the outcome went beyond that. It broke down barriers to show students how similar disabled and able-bodied individuals are to each other. It built greater understanding and acceptance, an impact both Bo and Cisco are thrilled to have on our next generation of leaders.

To learn more about Cisco’s I CAN Learn program, visit

About Jenn Madden

Jenn Madden is a program manager for Cisco Canada’s Corporate Affairs team. In this role, she is responsible for leading programming in support of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Collaborating with leading non-profits and helping transform the way they work, by leveraging all of Cisco’s networks, is the best part of her job. Jenn is also responsible for leading public relations and social media for Canada’s corporate affairs group. She lov es sharing the stories of the organizations and people that are changing communities, lives and the world – it’s truly inspiring. Jenn Madden est responsable de programme, affaires générales de Cisco Canada. Dans ce rôle, elle est chargée de diriger les programmes de soutien des initiatives de responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE). Jenn est également chargé de diriger les relations publiques et les médias sociaux pour le groupe des affaires corporatives du Canada. Elle aime partager les histoires des organisations et des personnes qui changent les communautés, les vies et le monde – c’est vraiment inspirant.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Cisco, Cisco Canada, Education, Technology, TO2015, Video and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Cisco Canada’s I CAN Learn Program is Connecting Students to the Science of Sport, Virtually

  1. Pingback: Countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games: 100 Days Out | Cisco Canada Blog

  2. Pingback: Behind the TO2015 Games: Cisco I CAN Learn & I CAN Develop Programs | Cisco Canada Blog

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