Polycom Programs Spur Classroom Video Collaboration Globally
Ninth Annual Read Around the Planet connected 58,000 students in six countries.
PLEASANTON, Calif. - An increasing number of primary and secondary schools are leveraging video conferencing for classroom-to-classroom collaboration as a way to expand their curriculum and give students memorable learning experiences by interacting with students and teachers in other cities, states and countries. Each year hundreds of schools get their first experience through Read Around the Planet, a free, annual video conferencing event sponsored by Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the leading provider of visual communications solutions, and Two-Way Interactive Connections in Education (TWICE), Michigan’s K-12 video conference organization. In its ninth year, Read Around the Planet 2010 took place between Feb. 22 and March 5 and involved more than 58,000 students in six countries.
Read Around the Planet is an international video conferencing event designed to promote reading and the opportunities for classroom collaborations in education. The program is timed with, and in celebration of, the National Education Association’s (NEA) 13th annual Read Across America Day, which takes place on or near March 2, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss; and also timed with World Book Day, which took place March 4.
Each class that registers for the Read Around the Planet program is matched with a class in another state or country based on student age and curriculum interests. The two classes connect by video conferencing and each call is unique with content and activities determined by the teachers. This year, nearly 2,000 classes participated from six countries - the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Schools get involved in Read Around the Planet through a unique professional networking tool for educators called Polycom Collaborations Around the Planet (CAPspace). Sponsored by Polycom and administered by TWICE, CAPspace is a free tool that more than 6,000 educators from 26 countries use to easily find colleagues with similar curriculum needs who also have access to video conferencing equipment. Through CAPspace, educators can register for events like Read Around the Planet, Polycom special events, and TWICE events, or arrange to collaborate with other classes anytime throughout the year to enhance the learning experience and expand cultural awareness.
In addition to CAPspace, Polycom offers a range of programs to help educators get involved throughout the year and make the most of their video conferencing systems. Additional programs including a searchable database containing nearly 250 video-enabled content providers and more than 2,100 active programs such as zoos, museums, authors, experts in a given field, etc.; an assistance program to help new users arrange virtual field trips; free special events; and a grant assistance and E-rate information program to help schools find funding for new equipment.
* Debbie Huxohl, teacher, Willow Creek Elementary, Houston, Texas
“Video conferencing is helping to open new opportunities in learning and inspire our students. We have participated in the Read Around the Planet program for three years and find the programs very impactful. We have done several collaborations with classes in Canada, which is a great way for our students to learn about another country and culture, and a good opportunity for the students to get additional experience with research, writing and public speaking. Read Around the Planet is an excellent program and something students get excited about.”
* Janine Lim, board member, TWICE
“Since launching Read Around the Planet with Polycom nine years ago, the project has grown from 200 U.S. classes to almost 2,000 and now includes classes from six countries. TWICE embraces this project as it continues to grow every year and Polycom’s investment in the CAPspace program has been instrumental in our ability to scale the program. Seeing students unite, share, collaborate and learn from each other is a wonderful and memorable experience for everyone involved.”
* Elaine Shuck, global market director of primary and secondary schools, Polycom
“CAPspace is a wonderful tool for teachers interested in enhancing the classroom experience through distance learning. It makes it simple for teachers to find colleagues with common curriculum interests, share ideas and then collaborate. Use of video conferencing within schools is expanding from popular virtual field trips with great content providers like NASA and museums to include more direct collaboration between classrooms. Programs like Read Around the Planet are a great way to engage students and expand the possibilities for classroom education.”
* Dennis Van Roekel, president, NEA
“Regardless of whether a student’s favorite subject is math, science, music or English, the common thread to academic success is reading. NEA’s Read Across America cultivates a joy of reading in students at an early age to help create life-long readers and learners.”
About NEA Read Across America
The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss’s birthday, expects more than 45 million readers, both young and old, to pick up a book and read. To honor the good doctor and celebrate the fun and value of reading, NEA and many of America’s leading literacy, youth, and civic groups are bringing a nation of readers together to show America’s children the joy of reading-on March 2 and every day. For more information visit www.nea.org/readacross. NEA is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, college faculty, school administrators, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers
Two Way Interactive Connections in Education (TWICE) is Michigan’s organization for videoconferencing in K-12 education. TWICE promotes and supports collaborative connections for the benefit of all students. To learn about TWICE, visit www.twice.cc
Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Please visit www.polycom.com or www.polycom.com/education for more information.
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.