In a recent post we discussed how STEM subjects are becoming increasingly important in preparing students for the hi-tech, hi-demand jobs of the future. The fact is, there is a renewed focus on STEM subjects, core curriculum and all subjects. That’s because American students are losing ground compared to the rest of the world.
This is why President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have fired the starting gun on Race to the Top, an initiative that will distribute $4.35 billion in grants intended to help revitalize and reform the American education system. The funds are to be spent on turning around low performing schools, improving teacher and administrator talent, establishing standards and creating systems to help monitor success and perpetuate best practices.
These aren’t small tasks to accomplish, but there are tools that school systems can acquire to help them along the way. One of these tools is video teleconferencing (VTC), which can positively impact schools and help them address every one of these areas.
When working to turn around low performing schools, VTC can have significant and positive benefits in the classroom, such as:
Virtual fieldtrips -- Virtual fieldtrips are inexpensive and efficient ways to give students first-person experiences and let them actively participate for real-life application of the lessons.
Credit replacement -- Students falling behind can utilize VTC for credit replacement and get themselves back on track.
Guest speakers -- Experts from various fields and anywhere on the globe come right into the classroom for interactive discussions.
Resource sharing -- Schools utilize VTC to share resources, including teachers. This means subjects frequently being cut -- such as art, music and languages -- can be maintained at even the most resource-strapped schools.
But the benefits of VTC in the educational environment don’t stop at the classroom door.
The Race to the Top initiative calls for improving teacher and administrator talent, which is yet another area where VTC can benefit schools. With VTC, teachers and principals can attend seminars, connect and share best practices all without expensive travel and missing school days.
By integrating VTC solutions across a region, school administrators can easily meet to discuss the establishment of universal academic standards and identify the practices that have been effective and ineffective at helping students reach those standards.
Here at TANDBERG, we commend the effort to improve America’s schools and give them the resources to make the necessary changes in the form of the Race to the Top funds. We’re also sure that America’s schools will regain top status. However, why race to the top when you can get there via video? It’s cheaper and faster and the views are the same. Now that’s a new way of learning.
Vyopta has developed a new app called vControl that enables anyone to control TANDBERG video conferencing systems directly from their iPhone. Watch the video to see how vControl utilizes the iPhone’s touch screen interface to act as a remote for operating the system and making calls.
This will definitely come in handy for times when the remote gets lost! I’ll be keeping my eye out for the new universal remote app for my home entertainment system…
As the nation’s primary homeland defense and the first line for bringing assistance, aid and relief to areas of America damaged by natural disasters, the National Guard and Air National Guard have an extremely important mission.
Situations where the National Guard and Air National Guard are needed are often chaotic. In fact, in times of attack and natural disaster, communication resources are often damaged and unavailable. This makes it difficult for communication and collaboration with controlling officers and even between units.
Luckily, some recent technological advances such as HD and mobile video teleconferencing (VTC) and satellite communication, are now available for the National Guard and Air National Guard to help them coordinate during attacks and natural disasters.
By utilizing mobile VTC solutions that receive and send signals via satellite, National Guard units can communicate face-to-face with their commanding officers and other units regardless of their location.
Our conversations with National Guard and Air National Guard IT personnel during the conference revealed a strong desire to see communication and collaboration increase, but many were concerned that disparate networks and firewalls could be a potential deal breaker in the implementation of VTC solutions.
In times of recession and tight budgets, many agencies are fearful to implement solutions that would require significant investments and overhauls in their network infrastructure. This is why interoperability is so important for the National Guard, Air National Guard and other agencies. VTC solutions, such as those offered by TANDBERG, are interoperable and can function with network equipment from many different vendors. This ensures VTC solutions can be implemented without significant investments and overhauls in the datacenter.
It’s the National Guard and Air National Guard’s mission to protect America from attack and disaster. At TANDBERG, we’re excited to be a part of outfitting a new Guard, one that communicates in the most chaotic of situations and more effectively and efficiently completes their mission.
In our country there are very few things held in such high regard as a child’s education. This is why America spends billions of dollars annually to educate its children and why parents scramble to procure educational products and relocate to areas with the finest schools.
The fact is, education is more than just opening a child’s mind to the world around them, it’s a prerequisite for success. An education does more than just fill the mind with knowledge, it imparts the skills and abilities needed to compete in the global business environment and job market.
Today’s high-growth industries, such as network security and biopharmaceuticals, require employees with a vast knowledge and understanding of what education professionals today are calling STEM subjects. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, which are all subjects that American children seem to be falling behind in.
With other nations fast eroding the edge that America held for years in science and technology, the need to refocus on STEM subjects and make them “cool” and exciting again is greater than ever. It’s in this area that video teleconferencing (VTC) can help.
Hands-on learning and the ability to see the things in action remains the most effective and efficient way to ensure that the message is retained. VTC gives teachers the ability to show students how the lessons they are learning in the classroom relate and apply to real life.
Some phenomenal examples of VTC bringing STEM subjects to life in the classroom are the programs being made available by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s VTC and Webinar programs bring real life experts and scientists into the classroom and help to illustrate the way subjects like algebra are essential in America’s space program.
By witnessing science, technology, engineering and math in action, students see the real world applications of the very subjects they’re studying. What better way to demonstrate just how directly related their coursework is to their career aspirations. This also helps to keep students focused and active in their own educations, and makes some of those boring subjects just a little more exciting.
After all…nothing makes rocket science more exciting than cool explosions. Now that’s a new way of teaching.
The truth is, that was then, and this is now. The VTC technologies available today have seen significant increases in picture and audio quality. Two major developments, the introduction of HD video teleconferencing and the rapid and widespread adoption of high-bandwidth broadband Internet access, have taken the already improved VTC technologies to unprecedented heights in picture and audio quality.
The improved picture and audio quality of VTC has led to doctors diagnosing via video, enabled students to tour the Great Barrier Reef from desks in Indiana, and is removing a major hurdle for government organizations that had concerns about embracing the technology due to perceived issues with clarity.
In fact, TANDBERG just announced that its Codian MSE 8000 Solution received Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification from the Federal government. The Codian family is the first and only truly high definition video conferencing bridge to be JITC certified. This certification acts as a virtual stamp of approval, and adds the Codian series to a list of pre-tested products that government organizations and defense agencies can purchase and implement quickly.
The value of VTC for bringing people together regardless of the distance that separates them, enabling collaboration and increasing efficiency while decreasing costs is documented. The rapid adoption and recent JITC certification of HD video teleconferencing solutions shows that the concerns are gone, and only the benefits remain.