This morning I'm so excited about the possibilities now that some of our districts are "going mobile" with their Polycoms. Up until April we were using V.35 to connect fixed distance learning rooms at the high schools in our two counties. Now that we have new IP infrastructure installed here at the ISD, we're converting all of our districts to IP. So far, that has mainly meant the high school distance learning room is now connecting via IP.
But two districts, Bridgman and Lakeshore, have taken the leap to converting their Polycom to a mobile unit. Pack up the Polycom, take it to the middle or elementary school, plug in power, network cable and an existing TV or data projector in the building, and voila! They are up & running with IP VC in this building! (Ok, there's a few little IP address settings to fix too.)
I'm just delighted with the possibilities. Lakeshore has already tried their first connection truly classroom-to-classroom with the Worm Farm VC I blogged about earlier. Bridgman is taking 3 middle school classes to COSI for Gadget Works on June 2.
Getting transportation over to the high school has been a major barrier in both of these districts for using VC in the curriculum. It's a pain to schedule a bus and deal with the cost of the bus (even if it is small). Then there's the lost instructional time in getting to the HS. It's just tons better to have the equipment in the building. Or even better in the classroom! And the middle school issues of being able to schedule the program during the class period and for several sections of the class are now reduced to just the cost of repeating the program. If we can select/create good free programs, we can now have great VC experiences for all sections of a middle school class!!!
One big step forward for using VC in Berrien and Cass counties! I'm excited about the increased use I KNOW will happen next year!
So... note to Polycom & Tandberg. How about a feature where you can select the IP settings for the unit from a location list and it automatically changes it?