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Better education for country kids joined in virtual classrooms

Polycom improves teacher access to schools in remote NSW

Tiny schools dotted across remote New South Wales are being electronically merged, via the latest in video conferencing technology, to provide students with a better and more comprehensive education.
For the Distance Education Unit of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSW DET), bigger classrooms certainly are better for the most isolated schools.
The major problem the Department of Education faces is that it cannot provide wide curriculum choices in Years 11 and 12 in all the state's isolated schools without the help of modern interactive technologies.
However, integrated video, audio, and web conferencing provided by Polycom and Vantage-GVT is overcoming this dilemma. Students from schools hundreds of miles apart are now able to join together in a 'virtual classroom.'
The Department of Education can link up to seven schools and thereby greatly expand the contact between students and different teachers with different skills.
For example, School A has a teacher qualified to teach Year 11 & 12 English and hundreds of kilometres away at School B there's a teacher who can teach maths. Now with video conferencing they can both interact with students at Schools C and D and E.
So instead of having five schools each with four kids and one teacher, it's now possible to have a virtual classroom with 20 kids and five teachers.
NSW DET carried out a detailed analysis of eight video conferencing technology providers, and eventually selected Polycom and Vantage-GVT because of the wide functionality and interactivity they provide.
James Anderson, Polycom Country Manager Australia and New Zealand, said; "We applaud NSW Department of Education's vision for video conferencing and are proud of the role we play in helping to ensure that children in our remote communities get the same chance of a good education as kids in city schools."
For the Department of Education, Polycom's video conferencing technology is truly ground breaking.
Video conferencing has been a real piece of magic because it allows NSW teachers to teach students from remote areas with high levels of interactivity using video, audio, shared applications, chat functions and real time collaboration centred on visible and manipulable websites.
The use of this technology is the first ever within the schooling sector of the Department and it's been so successful that the Department is reviewing the possibility of its use in other areas of education.
Leading virtual conferencing solutions provider Vantage-GVT supplied and implemented the Polycom solution for the NSW Department of Education. This is a total video conferencing solution incorporating video as well as integrated voice, data and web functions.
About Polycom
Polycom, Inc. is the world's technology leader of high-quality, easy-to-use video, voice, data and web conferencing and collaboration solutions. The Polycom Office(tm) is our continued commitment to make distance communications as natural and interactive as being there by providing best-in-class conferencing solutions that are interoperable, integrated and intuitive to the user. The Polycom Office is based on industry standards and supported by an open architecture that promotes interoperability in multi-vendor environments and complements leading network infrastructure platforms. For additional information call 1-800-355-355 or +61 (2) 9978-8000, or visit the Polycom website at www.polycom.com.au
Polycom and the Polycom logo are registered trademarks and The Polycom Office is a trademark of Polycom in the U.S. and various countries. 2003, Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved.