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May 19, 2009

Atlanta Area School System Picks HD Videoconferencing

By Stefania Viscusi, Assignment Desk Editor

In a bid to improve communications, learning, and to save on costs, Gordon County School System, a rural district located north of Atlanta, has chosen LifeSize’s (News - Alert) HD Video conferencing systems.
The use of LifeSize’s video conferencing solution will make it possible for the district to connect its K-12 schools and its central administration office so they can better train remote staff and in the future, students can take virtual field trips or have class across campus.
Due to budget cuts, the school was limited in the traveling expenses it could afford for teachers to go to training conferences or other necessary staff meetings. Not with LifeSize video conferencing systems, they not only obtained their required Professional Learning Units, but can also meet with teachers from schools located 40 miles apart to conduct meetings whenever necessary.
Purchasing the systems was also easy not only because of LifeSize’s low price point, but also because the school system was able to utilize the federal E-Rate program for 20 to 90 percent discounts on approved telecommunications and other technology costs. With this, they said they were able to purchase two times the number of systems they otherwise could have afforded.
Gordon County School System now has 19 LifeSize HD video systems - two in each of its nine schools and one at the district's central administration office and a stationary LifeSize Room unit and a cart-based LifeSize Team system they can use in any room they need by moving it from classroom to classroom within the school.

"The value of the LifeSize HD video systems is two-fold: they've helped reduce the cost and administrative burden of travel and in-service teacher training, and they promise to help us become better teachers by keeping us connected," said Dr. Bill McCown, superintendent, Gordon County School District.
 "The addition of the LifeSize video experience to the classroom improves teachers' options to develop a rigorous and relevant curriculum, as well as build stronger relationships with their students. This is a significant enhancement to the ability of our schools to develop students who are critical thinkers that utilize teamwork as they prepare to contribute to and live in a global, technological society."
"Video conference technology isn't just a business technology; K-12 schools can benefit immensely from the ability to connect teachers and students from multiple locations and create a broader, more diverse educational program," said Craig Malloy, CEO, LifeSize Communications.

Commenting on the future plans for the LifeSize system, the school said they will integrate distance learning programs for students to take them beyond the walls of the classroom and offer virtual field trips as well as special lectures to help enhance the curriculum for their students. 

For more, be sure to check out the HD Videoconferencing channel on TMCnet
Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Stefania’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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