New Technologies for the Education Market Smash Barriers in Distance Learning

By Colbert, Russ | Distance Learning, July 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

New Technologies for the Education Market Smash Barriers in Distance Learning


Colbert, Russ, Distance Learning


A hush fell over a group of high-school students at Lakeside High School. The Ashtabula City School District classroom waited to be connected via videoconference to Japan and one of the last survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. This live, two-way interaction between students and a survivor of one of the most profound events in U.S. history impacted students in a way that no textbook or lecture ever could.

Because of advances in, and availability of, videoconferencing technology, similar interactions are becoming more commonplace in K12 and university classrooms. Polycorn, Inc., the world's leading provider of unified collaborative communications, has long served the distance learning market with its ClassStation(TM) solutions. Polycorn's products seamlessly integrate audio, video, and instructional multimedia tools to provide a comprehensive video communicationsenabled classroom in one system.

Through interactive distance learning, an instructor can motivate and expose participants to people, places, and experiences without the traditional restrictions of time or location. In less-advantaged school districts, the educational equity of videoconferencing gives students a high degree of classroom collaboration allowing students to interactively participate regardless of geography or classroom size.

MAKING THE DISTANCE LEARNING CHOICE

Budget shortfalls often make it difficult to achieve full educational equality. Therefore, interactive distance learning has proven to be increasingly critical for K-12 and higher education schools, corporate training, continued medical education, and military distributed learning environments.

By incorporating distance learning, teachers experience the technological freedom to teach the way they want to teach, enhancing both the participant and instructor experience. Real-time interactive communications sparks creative and responsive learning. With easy to use systems that bring high quality video reliability to every call, teachers can focus on the education and not on the technology.

Ruth Block, director of distance learning for Cooperating School Districts (CSD) of Greater St. Louis, a nonprofit educational consortium, knows that nothing sets a child on a path to success like a solid education. The work Block accomplishes, thanks to interactive video conferencing content and technology, enriches the curriculum for 300,000 students-one third of the public school students in the state of Missouri.

"Polycom's video conferencing products have enriched the lives of at-risk students, allowing an interaction different from what they get at home," says Block. …

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