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Connected Health Pilot Telepresence Program

The Connected Health Pilot Telepresence Program for high school students at the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine and Early College High School at John Hay has laid the foundation for a larger scale program.

Sometimes we have to wait for technologies to catch up with our expectations. Over the past few years we’ve seen telepresence technologies (video conferencing) move from stilted, “walkie-talkie” like interactions to smooth, conversation-like experiences, mostly because of new  telepresence technologies that are taking advantage of ultra high-speed broadband. These advances provide K-12 schools with the opportunity to increase the use of telepresence technologies to have their students engage with Northeast Ohio’s world-class institutions to create a new era of connected collaboration.

During 2013, high school students at the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine and  Cleveland Early College High School at John Hay participated in a pilot program in which they engaged via telepresence with medical students from the Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and health professionals from the Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Civic Education.

The pilot was built on infrastructure donated by Cisco and served as a catalyst for a public/private partnership to utilize telepresence for students to explore community health issues and encourage  underrepresented youth in becoming ‘next generation’ medical and health professionals in Ohio.

Building on the success of the Connected Health Pilot, a consortium of 21 schools and 16 institutional partners have assembled and are seeking funds to scale the pilot to create a Connected Collaboration Platform (CCP). The CCP will provide schools with a growing repository of resources to enable student-centric learning that extends beyond the classroom.

Connecting Ohio Students

In 2014, in an open-bid competition, OneCommunity leveraged the existing fiber-optic network infrastructure it owns and operates to win a $1.2 million bid to install and maintain dark fiber connecting Northeast Ohio schools to the State of Ohio’s high-speed OARnet backbone.

The project is administered by the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network (mc*oecn) with state funds from the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet). The mc*oecn is an Ohio council of governments supporting the efforts of the Ohio Education Computer Network (OECN). It supports statewide technology programs and initiativves for schools and regional Information Technology Centers (ITCs).

Three ITCs are already benefiting from new 10 Gbps connections: the Stark/Portage Area Computer Consortium (SPARCC) in Canton; the Northeast Ohio Network for Education Technology (NEONET) in Cuyahoga Falls; and the Northern Ohio Educational Computer Association (NOECA) in Sandusky. Future installations under the grant will include the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Canton City Schools and Akron Public Schools.

Since the contract also includes 10 years of maintenance, the new network infrastructure allows for a long-term broadband solution for thousands of Northeast Ohio students.

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