Wales Welcomes the Age of the Virtual Exchange Student
The two organisations have secured a deal to build a video communications network that will reinforce Welsh educators as leaders in the use of videoconferencing for distance learning.
The contract, signed on January 31, 2008, will see an initial investment of £2.2 million in the Welsh Video Network, in the form of videoconferencing suites, lecture theatres and network infrastructure, together with portable and software based videoconferencing systems.
Mike Phillips, Direct Visual chairman, says: “This is one of the most complex videoconferencing projects that the UK has ever seen, designed to meet the geographical challenges facing education in Wales. With so many multi-site colleges, videoconferencing can cut down on travel time for teachers and bring groups of students at different locations face to face.”
The Welsh Video Network is one of the largest and most advanced internet based videoconferencing networks in Europe, with 160 studios scattered across all HE organisations and FE colleges in Wales. The project, expected to be ongoing for the next three to five years, will refresh 44 of the studios and pave the way for a time when the majority of educational establishments will adopt visual communications technology.
Tim Kidd from JANET(UK) says: “Direct Visual was chosen to partner JANET due to its proven experience and knowledge of the video communications industry, and its ability to deliver robust and reliable technology. Working together, we will ensure that the Welsh Video Network sets the standards for the rest of the UK to follow.”
Videoconferencing is being used in education for everything from research projects and virtual field trips to bringing in guest lecturers and virtual teaching.
Mike Phillips adds: “The visual element of videoconferencing can bring other cultures and communities into the classroom, and you don’t need to be a technical wizard to use today’s software. Our ‘transparent technology’ lets teachers and students forget about the ‘tools’ they are using and get the full benefit of being part of a networked learning community.”
- ends -
Notes for editors
For further information, please contact:
Glen Sykes, technical services manager
Tel: 01422 315240
Shirley Wood, head of communications and support, JANET
Tel: 01235 822 251
Site: http://www.ja.net Permalink: http://pdpr.uk/en91576/wales-welcomes-the-age-of-the-virtual-exchange-student.html