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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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Could Grade-Schoolers Develop Cutting Edge Mobile Video Technology?

January 30, 2012 at 10:48 am PST

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 »

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As Hospitals Accommodate Technological Expansion, Could Telepresence Do More?

January 19, 2012 at 10:22 am PST

As hospitals and health systems continuously adapt to the changing healthcare needs and practices of the 21st century, technology takes on an ever-expanding role. According to the Hospital Providers on the Move report, completed by SK&A healthcare marketing company, audio visual and media systems accounted for one of the fastest expanding employment areas between March 2010 and March 2011 at healthcare establishments across the country.

We’ve seen how audio and visual media, especially telepresence, have helped patients access difficult-to-reach doctors for illnesses ranging from Parkinson’s disease to psychiatric disorders. Perhaps the hiring increase for Directors of Audio Visual/Media Services indicates that even more hospitals have found technology like telepresence can enhance patient care. Read More »

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Properly Placed Telepresence a Must-Have in Higher Ed

January 19, 2012 at 6:54 am PST

We’ve seen telepresence take off in higher education programs, as we shared in a post on how the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business uses the technology to connect its students with executives across the world.

As more and more universities, including Duke in North Carolina, Madison College in Wisconsin, and Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania join the ranks of schools with fully equipped telepresence classrooms, it’s exciting to think of how these institutions are forging global scholarly dialogues and worldwide collaboration.

Witnessing the power of video to connect the academic world made me especially appreciative of a recent informative story in University Business. Writer Kristen Domonell details the importance of installing telepresence equipment in fully operational telepresence rooms in order for higher ed students to realize the benefits of the video technology. Read More »

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USDA Grants Help Rural Communities Connect

January 12, 2012 at 7:37 am PST

A recent study from the U.K. Department of Health finds that using remote monitoring technology to keep tabs on patients’ blood sugar and cardiopulmonary disease can reduce the risk of patient mortality by up to 45 percent. With statistics like this, hospitals and medical clinics can’t afford not to embrace telehealth technologies. Not to mention, telehealth is quickly becoming a competitive differentiator in some markets around the U.S. According to Mark Probst, CIO for Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, “I don’t see how the hospital CEO can ignore telemedicine.”

While tech-savvy patients in urban areas will likely begin to demand more user-friendly access to healthcare, therefore driving the adoption of telehealth in metropolitan-area hospitals, the technology is more than just a convenience for residents in rural areas; it can be the difference between life and death. Read More »

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