by Julie Zellman, Marketing Communications Coordinator, LifeSize
The Virtual Researcher On Call program, also known as VROC, is an educational initiative under Partners in Research, a charity organization based in Canada. The mission of Partners in Research is to help the children of today become the leaders of tomorrow, especially in the fields of math and science. VROC itself contributes to that vision by connecting students with experts in those particular subject areas.
Soon after the program began, the leaders at VROC realized that video conferencing could play a beneficial role in this endeavor by allowing students to meet these experts, face to face, rather than over an audio call. They quickly began researching MSN, Skype and other standards-based H.323 equipment. Though video conferencing equipment was being used in schools across Ontario, it was typically utilized for administrative purposes and not in the classroom.
“Our challenge in the early days was to convince schools to bring the equipment to the classroom and give educational value to it” said Kevin Cougler, national program manager, VROC.
Though the program worked well in the beginning, it soon became apparent that video endpoints would be too expensive to implement in all 150 schools in the district. VROC needed another alternative that could function under appropriate bandwidth and utilize the webcams and audio systems that partner schools already had in place (via their desktop and laptop computers).
VROC turned to LifeSize® ClearSea™, which provided all of the features it needed. Not only does LifeSize ClearSea work on Macs and PCs, it also connects to Android and iOS tablets, smartphones and any other existing standards-based SIP/H.323 video system. Beyond that, it is extremely flexible and can operate on LAN, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile networks.
After implementing LifeSize ClearSea, VROC was able to produce a new series of podcasts entitled, “This Week in Technology and Education,” “This Week in Science and Education” and “This Week in Engineering and Education.” This podcast series allows students to interact with the specialist in real time and interact with them face to face. These videos are also available on-demand for later viewing.
“ClearSea plays an important role in the production of our podcasts, as we invite experts that might be anywhere from their laboratory to their homes,” says Cougler.
VROC has held sessions on hundreds of different topics in schools across the country. On-demand videos have been downloaded or viewed more than 10,000 times.
To learn more about VROC and how they use LifeSize ClearSea to connect students and experts, read Canadian Education Initiative Utilizes ClearSea to Enhance Student Experiences Through Expert Podcasts.