Cisco announced $1.6 million investment for Connected North program that delivers interactive education and healthcare services to remote and northern Aboriginal and Inuit communities through video communication.
During the trial, the program connected grade 6, 7 and 8 classrooms in Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik in real-time with teachers, experts and other students throughout Canada, for dynamic classroom experience. The program utilized satellite bandwidth donated by SSi Micro.
Two additional schools — the Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories, and John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat, Nunavut — will be joining the program in September 2014.
The virtual education program utilizes Cisco TelePresence and Partners In Research’s (PIR) VROC (Virtual Researcher on Call) platform.
Students in Iqaluit are benefitting from engaging with experts brought into the classroom through two-way video, for interactive sessions lasting up to 40 minutes. Students also connect with peers of the same age throughout Canada as part of the program’s Classroom Connect component, to share rich educational and cultural experiences.
Connected North is also focused on bringing psychiatric and youth mental health services to Northern Aboriginal and Inuit communities via Cisco TelePresence video links.
The RBC Foundation and Cisco joined hands with the Tele-Link Mental Health Program developed by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to launch Tele-Link in select Nunavut health centers in September 2014.
Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada, said: “By leveraging our technology expertise and uniting key private and public sector partners, we are aiming to make Connected North a vital and productive component of northern communities that will bring new levels of opportunities to inhabitants.”