During our previous series on distance learning, we authored a post that took a look at the National Parks Service (NPS) and their award-winning distance learning programs.

The NPS programs utilize video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions to deliver the agency’s 120,000,000 object museum collection, 68,561 archeological sites, 2,461 national historic landmarks, 397 national parks and 40 national heritage areas right into the classroom. This enables students from all corners of the map to experience these national treasures, regardless of how far away they are.

But educational content about our national parks is just one small example of what can be delivered via video. If one upcoming distance learning program utilizing VTC is any indication, this same technology can be used to deliver hope, inspiration and encouragement.

Polycom recently announced that it is partnering with Right to Play, a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity, to deliver unique content from this summer’s hottest event, the 2012 Olympic Games in London, to children in Rwanda.

The program will provide unprecedented access to Olympic athletes, such as Canadian cyclist Clara Hughes, an Olympic gold medalist. These athletes will speak to Rwandan children, whose lives are impacted by war, poverty, and disease, about their successes, how they’ve overcame obstacles and the importance of teamwork.

According to Johann Olav Koss, founder of Right To Play and a four-time Olympic gold medalist, “We use the power of sports and play to change the lives of children around the world…(the program) will help spread the spirit of this summer of sports across the world, and create a real and meaningful impact for children who will have a chance to speak with elite athletes.”

The program is an incredible example of the power of distance learning and VTC. Much like how VTC and distance learning can provide unique educational opportunities to students in classrooms, Right To Play’s program will give children in a region that struggles with poverty, political unrest and disease a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with some of the world’s greatest athletes in an atmosphere intended to inspire them to work together and overcome challenges to succeed in life.

VTC solutions are capable of overcoming the greatest logistical and geographic obstacles to bring people together. Polycom is extremely proud to be a part of this program that not only illustrates the power of today’s advanced Unified Communications (UC) and VTC solutions, but also brings the transformative power of sports to some very deserving children.