PSC News Center

Pittsburgh students to participate in Megaconference Jr.

PITTSBURGH, May 19, 2005 — On Thursday, May 19, 2005, students from the Pittsburgh Public Schools will participate in the second annual Megaconference Jr., an online videoconference that facilitates communication between international students using advanced multi-point video conferencing technology.

Students from Allegheny Traditional Middle, Burgwin, Clayton, Conroy, Grandview, Greenway, King, Lemington, the Middle Alternative Center, Peabody and Weil Technology Institute will view presentations by students from 200 schools in 47 states and 10 countries around the world.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Director of Instructional Technology Peggy Shields said that the Megaconference Jr. is a good opportunity for students to interact with other students from around the country and the world. "These kinds of cultural exchanges open up the world to our students and help to give them a better understanding of the global community," she said. "It also personalizes the learning for students, thus further engaging them in the learning process."

Participation in the Megaconference is made possible by the Pittsburgh Public Schools' partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. CMU and PSC sponsor the District's access to Internet2 and its research network Abilene, services that enhance education through Distance Learning and other technological applications. "Internet2 provides the Pittsburgh Public Schools with the bandwidth to be able to seamlessly participate in distance learning activities," Shields said. "While Internet2 is fairly new to K-12 districts, the District's Office of Curriculum and Office of Technology will be providing additional learning opportunities for our students using these emerging technologies."

James Marsteller, manager of the Three Rivers Optical Exchange at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, said that an aim of the partnership is to improve technology education. "One of our goals is to bring technology to schools and enhance education," he said. "Megaconference Jr. will expose Pittsburgh students to many diverse and unique cultures and, furthermore, with Internet2, gives them the opportunity to get to know other students and form long-term relationships that deeply enrich learning."

The Megaconference Jr. will last from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. eastern standard time, involving students from a range of time zones. For information, contact the Pittsburgh Public Schools Office of Instructional Technology at 412-390-2791.


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