GSSM uses cutting-edge technology solutions to bring students and instructors together in ways that promote learning, collaboration and achievement.
Statewide Video Conferencing Network
Accelerate students attend class, participate in discussions, work on group projects, and get after-class help through GSSM’s innovative, statewide, high-definition (max 1080p30) video conferencing network. Students from several schools connect simultaneously with advanced engineering, math, physics, chemistry and English courses that earn college credit, while preparing them to enter college ready to succeed in a demanding engineering curriculum.
Global Application Infrastructure Network
Students also use GSSM’s Global Application Infrastructure Network (GAIN) to access modeling and design tools like MATLAB and SolidWorks while at school or at home. GAIN allows students to collaborate and complete assignments from nearly any Internet-connected computer or tablet in the world. Files are stored in the cloud and student work is safe from loss due to power outages or computer failures. GAIN allows teachers across the state to watch over students’ shoulders as they complete problems, offering advice or even direct assistance by temporarily controlling the student’s mouse and keyboard.
Class Recordings and Simulcasts
Each lecture and seminar is recorded and streamed simultaneously. Students who are unable to be in class can watch the live simulcast on their computer, tablet or phone. Students who are sick, or who wish to review a class, can watch and hear the recording at their leisure.
The Technology Behind Accelerate
For a scalable video platform, we turned to Vidyo, a leader in next generation online collaboration, and the technology behind Google Hangouts. This technology provides a top-quality video and sound experience for teachers and students, whether they are using room-size video facilities, computers, tablets, or phones. Teachers and students report that the technology soon “disappears”, and that they feel closely connected with those who are miles away.
Our engineering classes require the use of MATLAB and SolidWorks software. Both products are cutting-edge and require powerful computing capabilities. Since students use these tools in school and at home, we needed a way to stream them to a variety of devices. GSSM uses VMWare to create virtual desktops that Accelerate students can use securely in class, at home, and on nearly any Internet-connected device. VMWare forms the core of GAIN and, in addition to MATLAB and SolidWorks, provides access to MS Office and to generous, instantly available cloud storage.
Accelerate instructors create online courses on Canvas, GSSM’s web-based course management system. Through Canvas, teachers communicate with students via email, post and grade assignments, make announcements, distribute handouts, and hold out-of-class discussions. Students can access their Canvas materials around the clock. Parents and school officials may also observe these accounts, if they wish.
When students are working on a difficult calculus or chemistry problem, or creating a complicated structure in SolidWorks, Insight allows their teacher to observe what they are doing and to offer assistance as needed. Teachers can also share one student’s work with other students by presenting it on their screens, or turn off student screens when it is important to bring eyes to the front.
Accelerate could not happen without the cutting-edge technologies we bring to our partners and students. To ensure that students and teachers can connect when necessary, and that students have uninterrupted access to course tools, GSSM uses redundant Internet connections and servers that automatically activate if there is a problem. In Accelerate classes, there are multiple ways for students to attend class if something happens to their equipment. In the event of destructive regional weather events, generators, recorded lectures, redundant Internet connections, and mobile teaching locations allow courses to come back online quickly, even before school buildings re-open.
Mrs. Patty Long is Accelerate’s technology manager. She is the first line of support for the teachers, classroom facilitators, and district technology personnel that make Accelerate possible.