Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tandberg: Are You Using It? By: Becky Ranks
Today I went to visit my niece, Jaime Steward, at the Garrett Schenck School in Anson. Having heard so much about the Tandberg equipment provided by the RUS grants, I wanted to see a video-conferencing session in action, and also wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. Jaime is a technology specialist with RSU 74 and a real risk taker and role model for the rest of us as she single handedly put all of the equipment together and then scheduled video-conferencing sessions with an aquarium in Alaska, an all girls' school in Tennessee, and NASA. Today Kindergarten and First Graders talked to NASA and asked questions that ranged from; "What do astronauts eat?" to "How long does it take to get to Mars?" At the end of the session the NASA official switched the screen to a live feed of the Space Shuttle just after it had landed in California. Students were able to ask questions and view wonderful images provided by NASA. The NASA official talked and joked with them, and made them feel comfortable. It was a wonderful experience and thanks Jaime for inviting me. One session was featured on the front page of the Waterville Morning Sentinel. So, my questions are: How many schools with Tandberg equipment are using it in a similar fashion and having success? What are the obstacles if they are not? Many resources about video-conferencing and Tandberg can be found here: Especially check out the KC3 contest. Thanks to Jaime for being an exemplary leader in technology at a time when budgets are being whittled down to almost nothing especially in the area of equipment and other extras like field trips. She is taking students on virtual field trips and giving them experiences they otherwise would not have.