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Working Together in Education: Broadening Curricula and Increasing Access to Foster Innovation

April 15, 2011 - 0 Comments

Last month’s Boston Globe included an interesting Op-Ed titled “Riding the Innovation Wave” written by Drew Faust, president of Harvard University and Susan Hockfield, president of MIT. It’s a call to action that the US invest in education and research to propel us beyond the current state of affairs. A quote from the piece reads:

America’s current circumstances are certainly serious. But there is a proven path forward, one that the United States has traveled with great success before: the rising path of innovation. After the Civil War and World War II, in particular, America restored its economic momentum with great bursts of technological innovation, paired with ambitious national commitments to education.

There is a key role that telepresence can play here to help us all work together for education and innovation. When you eliminate the barrier of location and connect directly with experts, students, and so on from any place on the planet, you open up a whole world of opportunity including increased collaboration, access to global experts and partnerships between schools, colleges, universities and others.

On a global level, an example of this is The Darla Moore School of Business at University of South Carolina which is known for its outstanding leadership in international business education and research. Since 1997, the school’s undergraduate major in international business has been ranked No. 1 in that specialty. Using telepresence, the school brings together globally distributed students and world-class subject-matter experts, such as corporate executives and business school faculty in other countries, into business education programs.

On a more local level, an example of this is The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA), one of the nation’s top secondary schools for gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors. ASMSA’s residential program is completely free to students, so when ASMSA recruiters began visiting high schools around the state, top students were eager to participate, creating concern with some school districts that test scores would suffer and state funding would decrease. To alleviate these concerns while continuing to recruit the brightest students, ASMSA created the Office of Distance Education (ODE) to offer instruction to students without taking them out of their local high schools.

You can see that telepresence is one tool to help us work together to drive forward research, bridge gaps in education and increase collaboration for a more competitive future. Visit this link for more information about how different educational institutions have approached this.

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