Results and Benefits
- Foster critical twenty-first century skills with innovative learning experiences
- Collaboration with global experts
- Real-time information sharing between schools
Kettering City School District
Innovative education in action
Today’s global education systems have increasing opportunities to expand the minds of students by implementing the best learning technologies on the market. Kettering City School District in Ohio, a role model in innovative academia, is at the forefront of using technology to advance student learning while also reducing administrative overhead. Chris Merritt, Chief Technology Officer of the top school system, wanted to implement learning technology in the entire district so students could be competitive learners along with the brightest in the nation. The plan left no stone unturned. Students received a laptop or tablet to create huddle areas for collaboration, and classrooms used Polycom video solutions to enable access to experts and other students across the globe. Merritt believes that using video collaboration solutions encourages students to start “working together, collaborating, and communicating,” which he says are the twenty-first century skills that foster real world success.
Merritt had two criteria for the plan to provide students with world class learning experiences. The technology needed to be mobile to allow the district to stay within budget, and it had to have a quick adoption process. Merritt turned to the Polycom RealPresence EduCart, which was the perfect easy-to-use mobile and video communication solution. It reliably and seamlessly connected all classrooms at one school building, enabling instantaneous and rich learning experiences. The Polycom EduCart allowed teachers to simply roll the cart into any classroom, plug two cables into the wall and within moments connect to anywhere around the world. The plug-and-play solution let teachers immediately feel comfortable using it. The EduCarts have been in use for one full school year and already adoption is growing rapidly. “Trying something new is never easy, especially new technology,” said Kettering High School teacher Robin Holweger, “But my recent experience with Polycom was a piece of cake.”
Since it is so intuitive, teachers are excited to use their Polycom solutions as much as possible so they can empower their students with innovative learning opportunities. Megan Byer is a middle school teacher who takes advantage of every opportunity to use the EduCart. “It broadens the students’ view of what we are learning and applies their learning to real-world outlets,” said Byer. Kettering students have learned with NASA astronauts, Australian scientists, and NFL Hall of Fame players. They have even practiced yoga, and it all happened from inside the classroom. Before using Polycom solutions, bringing in these experts was impractical due to costs and scheduling. Now students can learn directly from experts and greatly enrich their knowledge. “We can connect with a school in Australia and it’s like they are right next door because of the high definition picture that this equipment gives us,” said Merritt. Quality and reliability are vital when trying to captivate a classroom full of squirmy kindergarteners or distracted high schoolers.
In addition to using technology to enhance learning experiences, the Kettering City School District looks forward to great savings in administrative costs. Before deploying Polycom video technology, teachers and principals were required to travel to the central office for training, district communication or other critical meetings. What used to remove teachers and principals from schools for an entire day can now be completed while on-site at the school during more convenient times. Now teachers are benefiting from more training opportunities and real-time information sharing between schools. Ultimately, Kettering City Schools is preparing students to be more collaborative with a better understanding of the world by expanding the classroom learning experience outside of traditional limits.