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February 27, 2013

Cisco News - Cisco and Wharton School Transport Classrooms Virtually

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

Cisco (News - Alert) is continuing to put its telepresence systems to use in the realm of education, with a new partnership with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s installing its multi-camera video conferencing technology in the university’s classrooms, connecting students and educators in remote locations.

This “Connected Classroom,” as Cisco calls it, uses Cisco’s telepresence technology to project the images of those in other classrooms onto a wall-sized screen in 1080p HD.

Mind you, this is for both the front and back walls, providing the most immersive experience imaginable.

With these videos, classes in San Francisco and Philadelphia are connected by everything except physical location. Every monitor is projected clearly, with high-definition streams at a bandwidth rate of 1.5Mbps, and perfect, natural audio with no microphones needed.

This is not only useful for connecting separate campuses and classrooms, but also for bringing in guest speakers, who can make appearances at campuses across the country simultaneously from a single location. There are also plans for Wharton to expand its executive education programs for working professionals with it.

“The use of video is rapidly transforming classroom engagement and interactions, while fostering new methods of collaboration, enriching the in-class experience, and helping better utilize school resources,” said Inder Sidhu, Cisco’s senior VP of Strategy and Planning for Worldwide Operations. “Through technical innovations that aid in enhanced learning and teaching methods, Cisco, together with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is excited to showcase the power and impact technology can have within educational institutions.”

Of course, there are still some issues to be ironed out, but nothing is perfect. It does a remarkable job of providing an immersive virtual classroom experience, providing the same quality of education for students in a variety of locations.

How far this will spread has yet to be seen, but it’s an amazing step forward in both telepresence technology and education.

Edited by Braden Becker

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