HCS adopts video conferencing tech at high schools

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By Kelly Cantrall

A common way for college students to take courses has spread to a local public school district.
Hardin County Schools has begun to implement video conferencing technology at its three high schools. One of the goals is to allow students to share a class that’s taught at any one of the schools.
Superintendent Nannette Johnston said she sees the technology as a chance to open doors for students.
It will give “access and opportunity for students,” she said. “The sky’s the limit.”
The technology assists in opening classes that typically have small enrollments, such as high-level foreign languages. One teacher can instruct classes at all three schools.
The district purchased five mobile carts at the beginning of the school year that include a camera, microphone and Internet hookup. Speakers and a computer monitor were added for classrooms without that equipment, said Tim Maggard, director of technology.
Television production classes are now working with the equipment so once they are familiar with how it operates, they can assist others in a school. Those classes have used it for meetings and during election night coverage for HCEC-TV, Maggard said.
While the original goal was to link the three schools, officials have found other ways they hope to use the new equipment. Bill Dennison, principal at North Hardin High School, said he sees it as a way for industry professionals to talk with students in classes related to that field.
Johnston also sees possibilities with connecting to Elizabethtown Community and Technical College for dual credit opportunities. Students can take “virtual field trips” through video conferences, and it could be used assist with staff meetings, too.
“It far exceeds my expectations,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.