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Videoconference is used in teacher training

With the aid of videoconference devices, math teachers from 11 states in Brazil participated in the course "Professional Development for High School Math Teachers," organized by the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada - Impa) from January 27th to 31st in Rio de Janeiro.

The course program is divided into three independent modules, which include selected topics from the three grades of high school. The first module of 2003 had the remote participation of the federal universities of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí and Rio Grande do Sul and the state university of Campinas. Professors from the Federal University of Sergipe also attended the classes "extra-officially," thinking of joining the project in the future. According to information provided by the universities, the number of remote participants was around 590 teachers.

"We are promoting an upgrade in the teaching of math, integrating the institutions by means of videoconference devices," said Impa's director, Jacob Palis, during the opening ceremony. He also mentioned that the partnership with RNP has been fundamental to the success of the course and declared that he intends to extend the transmissions to other regions in the country. RNP's administration director, Wilson Coury, congratulated Impa on the initiative and said that RNP's goal is to support the actions that bring benefits to the teaching and research community.

The experience was considered satisfactory in all the participating states. Professor Paulo Cezar Pinto Carvalho, one of the people responsible for the occurrence of the course at Impa, said the results are already very promising: "Other events, such as the Summer Course, may be transmitted via Internet by RNP."

Chat tool increases interaction

Two chat rooms were configured: one for the teachers from various states to send their questions and the other for the technicians at the Points of Presence, universities, RNP and Impa to interact so as to solve problems and give feedback on the transmission. According to the technicians, the reception in the states was good. Roberto Beauclair, from Impa, explained that one of the reasons for the good transmission was the fact that the resolution decreased from 640x480 pixels to 320x240 pixels. Besides, the exit link at Impa was amplified four times.

Nelson Simões, RNP's CEO, quickly participated in the chat in order to thank the PoP staff for their dedication, which ensured the success of the project. Simões remembered that it is important to extend this experience to other groups, "especially in areas where we normally don't have a tradition of using networks and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)."

The videoconference happened with the use of multicast technology, an innovating network service in which a single data flow, coming from a certain source, can be simultaneously sent to several interested receivers. On the last day of the course, some universities transmitted images of their auditoriums, in a sort of transmission of the transmission. At Impa, these images were shown on a big screen. While the classes were taking place, it was possible to see the teachers from other states watching the transmission of the course.

[RNP, 02.06.2003]

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