Welcome to the sixth episode of EdTech Focus, a podcast which looks at education technology, along with discussions in, and even outside of the audio visual industry.

This episode is hosted by Corey Moss, the guests are Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers Greg Zorbas (Kenai Central High School) and Rob Sparks (Soldotna Prep), and Elaine Shuck, Director, Communication and Development at i2i Technologies.

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Rob Sparks (2nd from left), Greg Zorbas and Elaine Shuck

Greg Zorbas, who was named 2014 Alaska Society for Technology  in Education – (ASTE) Teacher of the Year and Rob Sparks, named Alaska Studies Teacher of the Year for 2017 discuss technology usage in this large school district in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Greg and Rob have worked over the last several years with Elaine (while she was at Polycom), putting together a very special internship program with them.

Discussion begins with a focus on two students, Greg’s son Matthew as well as Mara Youngren-Brown who have both been engaged in videoconferencing technology in the school district, along with being a major part of the Polycom internship program. Greg, Rob and Elaine talk about what the two of them have meant to the program (along with what it has meant for them), and what the future looks like for them.

Next is discussion of the recent United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) National Conference in Indianapolis (April 30th – May 3rd) where Matthew, Greg and Elaine attended, and Mara presented from remote in Kenai, along with Rob and other students in attendance.

Corey and Chris Turner of Advanced AV recently participated in a videoconference with the Kenai students in both Greg and Rob’s classes, and this leads to a discussion of a unique final exam which the students will be participating in over videoconferencing with a number of people in business, government and more across the U.S. who have spoken with them this year.

Rob talks about the intern levels which have been created (1 through 4) in their joint efforts, and Elaine talks about the impact of this particular program in education. Greg talks about the school district, which is the size of an entire state, and what it takes to get to some of these schools of varying sizes, along with technology needs.

Elaine also talks about her discussions with school systems across the country, and the impact that Greg and Rob’s technology usage, along with education in videoconferencing and reach to countries across the world (Ghana for one) has made in some of those discussions, which Greg and Rob add to.

The guests close with discussion of how they all foresee the future of (as well as their hopes for) the program.

Greg Zorbas’ LinkedIn profile. Elaine Shuck’s LinkedIn profile.

Listen to this podcast, then hear Greg, Rob, Elaine, Mara and Matthew on ‘The AV Life’ Episode 3: A Discussion on Tech-Driven Innovation in Education in Rural Alaska

You can read Mara and Matthew’s blog The Final Stretch! highlighting their a presentation to the Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA), their recent presentation to the USDLA, and their next steps in life.