Over 35 000 students, teachers and representatives of public organizations from federal Russian districts are benefiting from a ground-breaking “Gymnasium Union of Russia” (GUR) program. Developed by non-profit organization Russian Foundation for Education Support, the GUR program is powered by video collaboration solutions from Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq:PLCM), the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C).
Shown here: seminar held about the safety on the roads. Polycom video meetings are held with student ...

Shown here: seminar held about the safety on the roads. Polycom video meetings are held with students, heads of schools, teachers, education officials, and police officers. (Photo: Business Wire)

Today the Gymnasium Union of Russia is the largest national educational project in Russia. The pilot project began with seven schools in St. Petersburg and now has approximately 350 regional education centers. All centers are equipped with videoconferencing solutions and the services are used by more than 1,400 schools - including high schools, military schools and colleges of teacher training. The strategic aim of the GUR program is to organize the professional network of gymnasiums and lyceums in Russia through videoconferencing solutions. To date, the Foundation for Education Support is in active cooperation with the countries of near and far abroad countries: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, and Australia.

More than 350 educational institutions are members of the GUR and each has one video-enabled classroom with Polycom® RealPresence® Room video solutions (including the Polycom VSX® 7000 and HDX® 6000).The GUR infrastructure is built on the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform, open, standards-based video infrastructure that provides the security, scale, manageability, flexibility, and high-definition (HD) quality required to enable large numbers of students and teachers to collaborate with virtually anyone via video in any work or classroom environment, using any type of device. Another key component is Polycom® RealPresence® Media Manager software, which allows classes and seminars to be recorded and made available to students and teachers who want to catch up on classes they missed or simply review material on their own time.

“High reliability, functionality and continuity are crucial to us when it comes to choosing technologies for our teachers and students across all education institutions,” said A. K. Fedorov, Vice President of the Foundation for Education Support and Head of the GUR. “When we analyzed the technical means by which we could unite different schools via video we reviewed various videoconferencing solutions. We picked Polycom because their solutions met all of our requirements and offered the most scalable, interoperable, and flexible solutions for the most reasonable cost. We take into account the key characteristics of equipment, as well as the cost when thinking about new purchases every year.”

The information network has an important impact on the entire education system of the Russian Federation, benefiting both the students and the educational institutions. Students and teachers now have the opportunity to attend lectures and participate – from wherever they are – in seminars from the best teachers and education professionals in the regions. Over 35,000 users, including students, teachers and representatives of public organizations, as well as state bodies across more than 1,400 institutions, appreciate the benefits of the new educational information network. As one teacher said, “I do not want to come home from a meeting and read the synopsis again in order to conceptualize and formulate something for myself. I can now make decisions in real-time during the video call.”

In the last five years the GUR has held over 2,000 video sessions across Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, many with over 70 participating locations. For the GUR, the power of face-to-face, real-time video collaboration:
  • Enables a new approach to learning at schools.
  • Extends the reach of experienced, qualified specialists.
  • Aims to improve teacher training for college graduates within any given specialty by pooling resources.
  • Reduces the costs of training courses and of collaborative development of educational resources.
  • Benefits teachers with continuous professional development.
  • Makes users and managers more efficient while saving valuable person-hours for technical engineers, experts, policy makers, and educators.

Students and teachers are also utilizing the solutions for videoconferences with guest speakers from external organizations. For example, one of the latest seminars held via video was "Providing safe and comfortable travel for groups of children during summer vacations 2013; the organization of children's leisure in transit." The audience for the seminar included vice-governors, education and recreation officers, healthcare, emergency and police officers, firefighters, representatives of the parent community, heads of schools, teachers, and students.

About the Foundation for Education Support and Gymnasium Union of Russia

“Gymnasium Union of Russia” consistently implemented by Foundation for Education Support ( www.fobr.ru) since 2007 in response to the request of the First Prime Minister of the Russian Federation D. A. Medvedev with the support of JSC “Gazprom” within the framework of the national project “Education.” The strategic aim of the program is the organization of continuing professional networking of gymnasiums and lyceums in Russia through video conferencing. Saint-Petersburg State University, the guarantor of the quality of video conference substantive content, performs scientific and methodological support of program and coordination with the leading universities in the country.

About Polycom

Polycom is the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions for voice and video collaboration, trusted by more than 415,000 customers around the world. Polycom solutions are powered by the Polycom ® RealPresence ® Platform, comprehensive software infrastructure and rich APIs that interoperate with the broadest set of communication, business, mobile and cloud applications and devices to deliver secure face-to-face video collaboration in any environment. Polycom and its ecosystem of over 7,000 partners provide truly unified communications solutions that deliver the best user experience, highest multi-vendor interoperability, and lowest TCO. Visit www.polycom.com or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn how we’re pushing the greatness of human collaboration forward.

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