Video Infrastructure Management – driving down costs, driving up standards

One of the more interesting solutions shown at WPC in Los Angeles was a Video Infrastructure Management system from Polycom. This system has enabled school districts to drive down costs and raise standards by providing a platform for easily creating content, and making it searchable and easy to consume.

One school district taking advantage of this is Gaston County in North Carolina. This school district is comprised of 54 schools with 31,416 students in disparate locations. Gaston County School planners realised that limited budget and resources would force them to find innovative ways to meet their ambitious academic achievement goals within aggressively constrained budgets.

The district had a legacy videotape loan network to enable students in multiple locations to participate in remote classes, so upgrading this became the focus of the solution project. The first step was to install video capture solutions in distance learning labs to capture the video and audio output directly while classes were in progress. This also included screen captures from computers, whiteboards, document cameras – even content from a graphic calculator. The system then converted the content into synchronized presentations that could be viewed live or on-demand through a browser.

These units are centrally controlled via a multimedia content management solution , which organizes and manages presentations via a customized search portal. The system then automates a variety of steps in the class capture and publishing process – including the scheduling of classes every day at specific times; publishing of files to streaming and web servers; and managing a storage area network located at the Gaston County Division of Resource Management Office. Reporting systems can show which students have viewed the online class archives.

As a result of implementing the solution, Gaston County’s distance learning courses doubled within a year. Now the county is expanding opportunities for more students to experience special programs and collaborate with local higher education partners, including taking advanced courses at the neighboring Gaston College.

Finally, the solution also enables professional development for the county’s 4400 employees and nearly 2200 teachers. According to Don Junker, Assistant Chief Technology Officer, “The school district is very spread out so when there’s a mandatory training program a staff member may have to drive 45-minutes to get there, or instructors may have to repeat the class dozens of times to ensure 100% participation. Now, we can save travel costs and staff wear-and-tear by using distance learning and archive the sessions for those who can’t attend in person.”

For additional information about Video Content Management Technology visit, http://www.polycom.com/solutions/industry/education/index.html. Also, take a look at this video that summarises the solution:

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