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Harvard connectivity opens up a new world to Boston and Cambridge students

September 28, 2010 - 0 Comments

Boston is known for many things. The television show Cheers, the Red Sox, baked beans, college hockey. Above all else, it’s known for the incredible institutions of higher education that call the city home. Among those institutions is the pinnacle of Ivy League education in the United States, Harvard University.

Having Harvard in your backyard has many perks for the city…least of which is the perception that there are a lot of really smart people in town. One of the largest perks is something that came about approximately one year ago.

That’s when Raytheon BBN Technologies, an advanced networking research company, donated the networking equipment that would enable Boston and Cambridge to connect to the schools super high-speed Internet2 network connection. The incredible bandwidth available to Cambridge and Boston high schools as a result has led to some interesting applications that are going to open an entirely new world of learning to the students there.

Cisco has taken advantage of this amazing bandwidth to install Telepresence solutions in a handful of Boston and Cambridge area high schools. Cisco has contributed Telepresence solutions to the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, which are enabling the students and teachers to experience previously unavailable and unheard of educational opportunities.

Using Cisco Telepresence solutions, students at these schools can take virtual fieldtrips to places that the school system would never get the money or permission slips to send the students. They can bring in professionals from a wide range of fields to discuss careers and the schooling necessary to enter them. They can even share resources and deliver courses and lessons previously unavailable on their campus, but offered elsewhere.

All of this is possible thanks in large part to Harvard sharing its Internet2 network, which is a high-speed, high-performance national network dedicated to serving the research and education community. The link between Harvard and the Cambridge and Boston public schools is nothing new, with 123 Harvard educational programs that take place in Boston schools or engage Boston students.

By sharing its network and empowering the use of Telepresence technology, Harvard is giving students at Cambridge and Boston high schools the ability to learn without walls or limitations. Telepresence is breaking down the walls between students and previously unimaginable educational opportunities. Now that’s a new way of teaching.

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