Hilliard City Schools’ slogan is “Ready for Tomorrow.” The district is making good on that promise by using innovative technology to connect with other schools, teachers, and field experts to bolster students’ educational opportunities. Video conferencing is one way the district is preparing students to succeed in a world where global collaboration is the future.

The ninth largest school district in Ohio at 16,000 students, Hilliard City Schools began by using Polycom video conferencing to expand the reach of Mandarin Chinese instruction. One unit was placed in each of the three high schools to link them together daily during multiple periods for Mandarin Chinese class. A certified Chinese instructor taught remotely via video conference and supplemented the lessons with periodic in-person visits to each school.

Mark Pohlman, Director of Instructional Technology for Hilliard City Schools, says that currently, Polycom units are signed out for special video conferencing connections with places like the Cleveland Clinic and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or when collaborating with teachers from other districts who also utilize video conferencing to bring real-time experiences to their students.

At the elementary school level, Media Specialist Stephanie Miles, alongside her technology integration specialist, use Polycom to connect her students with opportunities by way of CAPspace, a social networking portal for educational video conferencing that offers more than 2,000 programs from over 300 different content providers like zoos, museums, authors, and field experts.

Recently, students at Norwich Elementary worked in groups to craft questions for Laurie Keller, author of the book Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners. Soon, students will interact with Iditarod experts to learn more about the famous dog sled races.

“We love how Polycom broadens the world and experiences for the students. The students learn to generate quality questions for the authors and experts. The two-way conversations are so valuable! They become informed in writing process, and are inspired by the information and careers they learn about,” Miles says.