Polycom Employee

In honor of our 25th anniversary, Industry perspectives @25 will, for 25 days, take a celebratory look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.

These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of Unleashing the power of human collaboration.

Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.


For close to 20 years I have traveled the world promoting the use of technology in the classroom professionally and have worked locally with my own children’s teachers. I feel very passionate about sharing the many opportunities collaborative technologies offer in the education space.  Technology for me is the great equalizer, offering learning experiences outside the four walls of the classroom and into a world that was not possible before modern technology came along.  It is a tool that engages students, promotes greater interaction and can transform learning through innovative teaching while addressing different learning styles. The most innovative learning environments today provide faculty and students the ability to be located anywhere, use any device, and multiple modalities for delivering and accessing content in a teaching and learning environment. 


I have attended and participated in multiple virtual field trips, professional development and special video conferencing events throughout my years in this industry.  As we celebrate Polycom’s 25th anniversary I want to walk down memory lane and shout out the virtual field trips that had an impact not only for me but for students, educators and leaders around the world. These virtual field trips are curricular-rich and span from pre-K to adult learners and include connections to renowned authors, experts in the field, famous people, professional development or places and much more.



Here is the count down in no particular order:


#1 Santa and His Reindeer


Program Objective:  In this life science lesson, students will learn characteristics of the reindeer, where they live and learn terms such as “domestic” and “migrate.”  Students will learn what it’s like to live in the North Pole and get a chance to visit with Santa himself.


Meet the author.  


#2 Jim Stovall, though legally blind, U.S. Olympic weightlifter, president of the Emmy Award winning Narrative Television Network. Book author, screen writer, and platform speaker.

#3 Laurie Keller, American author and illustrator of children’s books. Her work ranges from a whimsical geography book to the story of an anthropomorphic doughnut.  

#4 Dr. Ben Carson, noted American neurosurgeon and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Philanthropist and inspirational speaker. Click here to read more.

#5 Janie Panagopoulos – has been connecting via Polycom since 1997 and uses the ASK Process

#6 The Indian in the Cupboard




 Professional Development


#6 What do you get when you connect 12 sites and 37 educators from Germany to Alaska?

#7 STEM - Science~Technology~Engineering~Math


Creative, hands-on maker experiences empower

students to be effective problem solvers.This one-hour showcase7.JPG                                                                        will introduce resource materials and ideas that can immerse students in critical thinking and innovation.     Inventing to learn can be transformative for students           and teachers. Click here to read more.


New technologies are more accessible for students

and enable personal expression of exciting and imaginative ideas! The contagious surge of Maker Education

fueled with the magic of students’ solutions can be part of your classroom and learning environment. Engaged students can acquire academic competence, collaborative skills,and personal confidence. As educators, we must provide opportunities for our students to gain this critical preparation for their future. 




#9 Tatanka: Story of the Bison

Lesson Objective: Students will learn how human ingenuity, technology, and the need to hunt larger game precipitated advancement in weapons from simple throwing sticks to bows and arrows. They will also learn about ceremonial uses of such items.


#10 The Museum of Tolerance offers an opportunity for students to hear the unique stories of Holocaust survivors. I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing the story of Holocaust survivor George Brown first hand. In fact, at my previous job I was able to bring him to South Dakota where we connected with several students across the US to hear his

heart-wrenching story. 


#11 Specialized programs


Addictions, bullying (both for teachers and for students), student leadership development, current events, career exploration/guidance, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and other curriculum-focused are just some of the topics these programs have addressed. These are not always “presenter to student” presentations. One current event program, for instance, on the first anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, connected 3 American classrooms with a Haitian classroom. Here is a response we received from a teacher who participated in this event -


“I just wanted to express what an amazing experience the “Students Rebuild, a Global Nomads Event from Haiti” was for the students at The Learning Center. The entire school is abuzz with excitement regarding the event! I sincerely appreciate you working with us regarding the videoconferences. Please pass on our excitement to the host school and tell them KUDOS for us!”- Jennifer Humble, Lexington, KY



Leadership Series:


Virtual Leadership Summit was designed specifically to motivate and inspire leaders in business and higher education.





12.JPG#12 - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Managing Change in the Face of Crisis
- Turbulent change, mergers, downsizing, low trust, and poor communication exact a heavy price on organizational performance. Principle-centered leadership is the key to unleashing individual human potential. It is about instilling principles into the hearts and minds of people, then into the culture, where they begin to permeate and affect all relationships. Dr. Covey teaches, inspires people to commit to a common vision, a common purpose and a common set of principles, thereby giving a clear sense of direction. This is the surest way to create strength and success while making change in today's volatile, whitewater world.



13.JPG#13 Tuesday, September 28, 2010
John Quiñones, ABC PrimeTime News anchor and author

Leading Where You Are
As a seven-time Emmy Award winner and author of Heroes Among Us: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices, John speaks about his experiences throughout his life while sharing amazing insight into some of the extraordinary leaders he has encountered throughout his career








#14 Thursday, November 11, 2010.
Dave Carey, former POW and author of The Ways We Choose


How to deal with difficult Times...Uncertainty...Challenges...and Changes
As an expert in value-based planned change for team building, leadership and organizational development, Dave will take us through an exploration of the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. This session addresses changes that will enhance your leadership effectiveness and the teamwork and productivity of your group.


#15 Here is another example of a great VFT with GNG


 #16 The New Institute of Culinary Arts with Chef Charlie and Gunter was always a favorite of mine. We often use them to showcase video conferencing at tradeshows - the power of food, or should I say food was a great way to introduce potential customers to the potential technology can have in the classroom.  This was an interactive session where the audience would help Charlie and Gunter make chocolate truffles. And….who doesn’t like chocolate.



#17 Manhattan School of Music






What better way for middle school students to learn about Conflict and Human Rights, Global Development, Global Politics, and Colonization than to connect with someone who lived through it. About 150 students and teachers were privileged to defy the distance, to listen to an oral history unfold, and then interact with this legendary freedom fighter.  For 90 minutes, they listened to Muthoni Kirima; a member of the Kikyu tribe who grew up in the central highlands of Kenya in the 1940’s. As a young girl, she worked with her parents as a sharecropper on a British settler’s citrus plantation. The working conditions on the plantation resembled slave labor and at the age of sixteen, she escaped into the forest to join the resistance movement known as Mau-Mau. The Mau-Mau movement was fighting for their native lands after the British had taken vast tracts for agriculture under the guise of colonization. For twelve years she lived in the jungle and fought the British military. Today the Field Marshal lives in the town of Nyeri and is an outspoken activist for the recognition of the Mau Mau as freedom fighters.


The ensuing story of pain, brutality, and degradation bought tears to many students’ eyes and I’m sure made a lifetime memory in other classrooms as well. It was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity!!



#19 Andy Campbell from LEARNnco has a great program called “Forces and Motion” which introduces students to the forces of movement by performing experiments implementing Newton's Laws of Motion.




#20 “DOWN” with Science - Fizzics Education located in Sydney, Australia, provides engaging science to audiences around the world.

Click here to read all about them





#21 Women’s history month - Interviewing Women Business Executives


#22 California Parks


#23 Beyond the beach and below the waves, there are some amazing things to discover in the Great Barrier Reef


Internal FUN!





#24 Defy Distance! Even for a Party!



Our Polycom Industry Solutions team and the Cleveland Institute of Music jointly held a global virtual party yesterday. Not only did they have participants from many states across the U.S., they even had folks joining from Asia Pacific and Europe. In the beginning of the party, the talented folks from the Cleveland Institute of Music performed two special songs dedicated to Polycom. Then the team members opened gifts and showed them off via video and content sharing. The entire party was recorded, so they were able to share the recording with the participants after the event. Check out the fun pictures here!



#25 – Whew!!! Now it’s your turn to share your favorite virtual experience with our readers!!!

The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

Featured Authors