Polycom Turns on the Music

Polycom Turns on the Music

Polycom has specifically tailored its VSX 8000 group video conferencing system with custom features to meet the music application needs of the Manhattan School of Music, a preeminent international conservatory of music. In appreciation to Polycom, the student jazz ensemble gave a concert via video conference to the executive board members at Polycom headquarters in Pleasanton, California on Feb. 9, 2005. Invited press from both coasts who attended the virtual concert experienced TV-like video and near-CD sound quality in this most demanding of virtual collaboration applications.

Manhattan School of Music was the first conservatory in the country to incorporate videoconferencing into its music performance education curriculum, beginning in 1996. Polycom's technology enables the school to export and import music education to master classes at institutions of higher education including the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New World Symphony in Florida. Jazz clinics, workshops and music enrichment classes for K-12 students are also given across the country to schools from Alabama to Wisconsin. Additionally, on a daily basis, the school imports information from national and international institutions.

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"We want to give this concert to showcase the cutting edge, high-quality audio and visual capabilities that Polycom technology provides to virtual music instruction," said Marta Istomin, president of the Manhattan School of Music. "Their unique capabilities in delivering -- by video conference -- the same high fidelity sound and acoustical experience of the performers enables us to extend our distance learning program and educational outreach of world-class music programming."

Wednesday's concert will be led by world-renowned composer, arranger and soloist Cecil Bridgewater, a Manhattan School of Music jazz faculty member and Grammy nominated trumpet player. The student ensemble will be playing an arrangement of jazz tunes including "Straight, No Chaser" by Thelonious Monk and "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington.

"We are delighted to partner with the Manhattan School of Music. By collaborating with the school, we are able to customize a system that allows them to teach music performance education at a high level, connecting teachers and students in remote locations," said Bob Hagerty, president of Polycom, Inc. "This technology allows the school to explore and use more creative audio and video techniques never before imaginable in music education."

The VSX 8000 is specifically designed for more students and larger rooms and offers Siren 14 audio and StereoSurround for unprecedented sound quality and clarity that uniquely recreates for recipients the spatial sound that results from a participant's location in the classroom at the far end. It can allocate 96 kbps of sound quality, including full-duplex stereo echo cancellation. The 1U rack amount configuration of the VSX 8000 is ideal for integrated environments, such as universities and corporate training sessions that require state-of-the-art interactive distance learning video conferencing.

For additional information regarding Polycom products, or to speak to a representative, please contact IVCi at 800-224-7083, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.

SMART Board photo.

Canadian Schools Get SMART

SMART Technologies Inc. recently announced the installation of SMART Board interactive whiteboards in more than 300 classrooms in Calgary's Carlisle Area School District. A district standard now, 100 percent of classrooms will use SMART Board interactive whiteboards by summer of 2005. Each classroom is being equipped with SMART Board interactive whiteboards, leading-edge technology products that promote class participation and increase student retention. In addition to funds from a technology-dedicated savings account started in 1990, the district receives funding for these purchases through grants from the SMARTer Kids Foundation.

Six years ago, the district had only one SMART Board interactive whiteboard that was shared among teachers. News of the product and its benefits spread around the district and prompted a 38-teacher study on the use of the SMART Board interactive whiteboard and its effects in the classroom. That study resulted in a recommendation that all classrooms be equipped with SMART Board interactive whiteboards for daily teaching.

“We tried other brands of interactive whiteboards, but they didn't compare to the features and functions that a SMART Board interactive whiteboard provides. Without having to change the hardware, we can upgrade the software for free, adding the latest functionality,” says Stephanie Douglas, technology coordinator for the Carlisle Area School District. “SMART also impressed us because the company really listens to educators' advice. As a result, SMART's products, software and resources are relevant to our teachers, which helps us to improve outcomes in our classrooms.”

"Solid research over the last eight years shows that SMART Board interactive whiteboards help to motivate and engage students," says Nancy Knowlton, SMART's president and co-CEO. "The Carlisle Area School District recognized those benefits and has invested in making SMART Board interactive whiteboards an integral part of the daily teaching and learning process."

For additional information regarding SMART products, or to speak to a representative, please contact IVCi at 800-224-7083, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.

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