Classes just got a little more interesting at Harvard Law School, Columbia University and Sciences Po, an elite university in Paris.
A 65-student class dedicated to making students think critically about reimagining society, “Progressive Alternatives: Institutional Reconstruction Today,” is using telepresence to create a discussion that transcends three campuses located in different parts of the world.
According to an article in The Harvard Crimson, the class is taught by Harvard Law School professor Roberto M. Unger and includes commentary from Columbia University professor Jeffrey D. Sachs and Laurence Tubiana, a professor from Sciences Po.
With its telepresence system, the instructors and class are able to interact in realtime. The first hour of the class is a lecture and comment from each professor and the remaining one hour allows times for questions and a lively discussion. Read More »
If you’re a parent, you might want to sit down. Some financial advisors predict a four-year college education that begins in 2015 will cost about $120,000. And that’s for public school. The private price tag runs closer to $230,000.
You can exhale now. Thankfully, the federal government has taken note of the ever-heavier burden families bear to cover college tuition. In his January 24 State of the Union address, President Obama challenged higher education institutions to find innovative ways to cut costs and acknowledged universities that have optimized their technology in an effort to lower student expenses. His praises echoed those delivered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the November 2011 Financial Student Aid conference. Read More »
Two classes of New Jersey middle school students recently enjoyed a unique opportunity for exchange with their peers. From neighboring towns, the eighth graders live worlds away from each other demographically—one town is largely affluent and white, while the other is mostly low income with a predominately black and Hispanic population. Each class studied John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and they visited each other’s schools to discuss perceptions of the novel.
As reported in The New York Times, the students at both middle schools found the interaction with their counterparts eye-opening and rewarding, both in terms of literary analysis and cultural understanding. The ability to see the text—and life—from a different perspective fostered a rich educational experience.
With telepresence and other collaborative technologies, students are able to mimic the exchange in which the New Jersey youth participated, except they could share ideas with and experience the cultures of peers not only across town boundaries, but also across state lines and country borders. Telepresence enables a real-time, high-definition connection that allows for a quality of conversation comparable to in-person interaction, creating a unified classroom across geographies. The telepresence set-up establishes an environment that feels inclusive and intimate—the students would feel as though they had traveled to each other’s schools. They could see the detail in each other’s settings, in clothes, hairstyles, facial expressions, and other aesthetics that make up parts of a culture. Read More »
A while back, we asked what features you think would make up a good video collaboration app for smartphones and mobile devices.
Do you have your list?
If so, you should submit it to this team of primary school students in Sutton Coldfield, England. The youngsters take part in an after school computer club, during which they design apps for smartphones and tablets. They’ve already come up with sound effects and “painting” programs; could video be next? Read More »