Videoconferencing Comes to West Geauga
by Eric Leventhal, Editor-in-Chief
Normally a class trip to the across the globe would be a costly and inconvenient
affair. However, that is all changing for West Geauga High School. With the
new video conferencing unit installed two weeks ago, the library's media room
is now West Geauga's window to the world. With a grant from the state West Geauga
was able to purchase videoconferencing equipment and a new T1 line. In addition,
West Geauga has joined NEO-LINC, a local videoconferencing consortium. This
means that WGHS is now privy to the classrooms of twelve different local schools.
For example, students can participate in a Japanese class being taught at Perry
High School or a Genetics and Biology class at Kenston and Riverside. Other
local buildings such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Botannical Gardens,
the Health Museum, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Ohio Historical
Society are also linked to the network. However, as NEO-LINC Director Michael
Bloom said, "Videoconferencing can now connect [West Geauga] to anywhere in
the world; and with anyone that has videoconferencing." Some sites do cost money
though, Bloom said. While all this might sound quite complicated and high-tech,
it doesn't take a genius to operate the new videoconferencing unit. "It's very
easy to use," said sophomore Ben Zoldan. The unit mainly consists of two television
monitors, a microphone, and a camera. As one videoconferences, s/he will see
him/herself on one monitor and the person or place being "conferenced"
with on the other.
So how will videoconferencing be used at West Geauga? Already, the art department plans to use videoconferencing to participate in the Sacred Landmark program. "We gotta get the teachers interested," said Bloom.