As schools nationwide struggle to meet performance standards as they watch their budgets shrink, Colorado’s largest school district is finding ways to stretch resources, spread teaching expertise across schools and geographies, and save time and transportation costs with mobile and desktop video solutions from Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C).
At Jefferson County (Jeffco) Public Schools, which serves nearly 86,000 students across half of Denver and into the mountains west of the city, educators and staff members are connecting securely face-to-face through video with colleagues, classrooms and district offices on the same mobile devices and PCs they rely on every day. Jeffco has embraced the burgeoning BYOD (bring your own device) movement by welcoming employee-owned devices and over 3,000 iPads currently being used by employees.
“School districts everywhere are adopting tablet technology because teachers and students want to work and teach on the devices they use at home,” said Steve O’Brien, Jeffco’s director of data center operations. “We’re leveraging that BYOD phenomenon to put Polycom video in the hands of more teachers and staff. It’s just right there where and when they need it.”
O’Brien said more Jeffco employees are using the Polycom® RealPresence® Mobile app on their iPads and Polycom® RealPresence® Desktop software on their PCs – environments that augment the district’s six administrative conference rooms and one high-tech classroom equipped with Polycom® HDX® Series group systems. “In the past three days, 51 percent of the people who logged into a video conference were using the RealPresence Mobile app on an iPad, and 49 percent were using RealPresence Desktop solutions,” said O’Brien. “Virtually everyone who taps into our video conference network was using video right in the classroom or the office. They don’t even have to go down the hall.”Video Collaboration Reaches a Tipping Point Video usage at Jeffco Schools has reached the tipping point the district has worked toward since it first adopted Polycom video solutions in 2009. The goal then was to reduce the need for employees to move between the district’s 150+ schools and administrative sites, with some teachers having to make a 90-minute round-trip commute to attend an in-person meeting or teach a class at another campus. Today, four years and 10,000 video conferences later, Jeffco operates 154 schools and programs at 185 campuses. Now communicating and collaborating over video isn’t just convenient – it’s strategic.