Featured Article from Conferencing

Videoconferencing Gets Educational

November 25, 2015

Those in the business world know the full value of videoconferencing in terms of speed, accessibility and cost savings. Now it seems that those in the education field are learning as well.

A report out of Alaska notes that a local school board will use federal grant money to add videoconferencing capabilities to its communications efforts.

“The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is one of six Alaska school districts that will receive a portion of the United States Department of Agriculture’s nearly $22 million available through the Distance Leaning and Telemedicine 2015 grant,” wrote Kelly Sullivan in the Peninsula Clarion.

The report notes that 13 different sites will get gear from a grant valued at more than $350,000.

“As we look to the future of education, technology and blended learning opportunities are important aspects for our students’ success and this grant allows us to better equip our classrooms to meet the personalized learning needs of our students,” Director of Secondary Education John Pothast told the Clarion.

Besides just for educational purposes, the current video system has been expanded and used for peninsula-wide public forums, such as budget discussions, and connecting with congressional offices in Washington, D.C. “It also has helped administrators attend on-site events that weather has prevented physically flying to, as happened when Nanwalek School was presented with iPads through Apple’s ConnectED initiative,” Sullivan noted in her report.

“Technologically, this project brings exciting new resources to the schools in our project,” the school district’s grant application read. “Simply by downloading an ‘app’ from the App Store, students can turn their laptops, tablets or phones into personalized distance learning devices, connecting to other students for the sake of collaboration, or to counselors or special educators. For students in some of our smallest locations, this capability opens a world of opportunities.”

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere