Kenai Peninsula Borough School District of Alaska

At a Glance

  • Team teaching allows teachers to play to strengths
  • Students use cutting-edge tools to collaborate
  • Virtual field trips

Huge Alaskan school district connects their students with the world through their Classroom Without Walls Project

Kenai Peninsula Borough schools reach across an Alaskan district as wide, remote and diverse as the Czech Republic classes they share through their Classroom WithOut Walls project.

Jun 20, 2012, SAN JOSE, Calif.

A grassroots effort to use video collaboration for teaching history and social studies is helping a southern Alaska school district turn high school students into lifelong learners. With video collaboration solutions from Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open standards-based unified communications (UC), teachers at separate high schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) are enabling students to understand history and cultures from different perspectives, learn collaboratively with classmates from rival schools, and engage face to face with youths and teachers from as far away as the Czech Republic.

Today, the teachers conduct roughly a third of their classes over video, taking turns leading lessons with students at multiple Alaska schools as well as other schools around the world and even students at home or on the go. All the students participate in the same exercises, projects and discussions, and can share content using Polycom's smart technology white boards.

Called Classroom Without Walls (CWOW), the program enhances learning by allowing instructors to focus on specific areas of expertise. One of the teachers, Gregory Weissenberg, for instance, grew up in Soviet Russia and can draw from his own experiences to teach about the Russian influence in Alaska. Another teacher, Rob Sparks at Skyview High, usually leads economics classes because that is one of his specialties.

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