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With Proper Set Up, Telepresence Need Not Pose Security Concern

February 14, 2012 at 11:36 am PST

In October, we wrote about the federal government’s move toward installing video and telepresence capabilities on mobile devices to improve communication, especially for law enforcement and defense purposes. With mobile telepresence, the government can enhance collaboration and response time during critical events.

A recent New York Times article reminds us, however, that to safely realize all of the benefits of telepresence, the government—or any organization—needs to ensure proper implementation of the video technology. Obviously, security concerns multiply when numerous mobile devices attach to a telepresence network.

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Telepresence Can Build Bridges Between Young Learners

February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am PST

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 »

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Telepresence Helps Cut Costs and Add Value to Summer School Instruction

August 8, 2011 at 9:22 am PST

For most students, summer school may not be the most glamorous way to spend the treasured sun-drenched days of the long-awaited summer vacation. But, summer school classes provide enrichment opportunities for many students, as well as crucial remedial instruction for students who have fallen behind during the school year.

Unfortunately, according to the New York Times, schools increasingly have to cut summer school funding to make up for budget shortfalls. In some districts principals and teachers have offered to work without pay, while other schools have shut down summer programs altogether. Read More »

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