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Video Guidance to Provide Video Technology to Dozens of K-6 Schools in SW Minnesota

February 18, 2013 | Telepresence Options


First-of-its-kind program focuses solely on elementary students


Bloomington, Minn.-based Video Guidance (, a leading strategic video conferencing company, will provide and deploy video technology to dozens of K-6 elementary schools in Southwest Minnesota. Thanks to a $498,328 Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative grant from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the deployment will become the first of its kind in Southwest Minnesota targeting elementary schools. The telecommunications program will connect K-6 students with guest speakers and distance learning classes, and on virtual field trips to Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota Zoo, International Wolf Center and Minnesota Historical Society, which are all partners of Video Guidance.

"What makes this initiative unique is that it focuses solely on elementary students, which are usually the ones left out of video conferencing programs that since the 1980s have benefited only middle schools and high schools," said Josh Sumption, manager of information technology for SW/WC Service Cooperative. "This is an exciting expansion of our videoconferencing capabilities in schools throughout Southwest Minnesota."

The telecommunications grant allows for a high-quality, portable Interactive Television (ITV) system to be placed in 36 elementary schools within SW/WC Service Cooperative's Wide Area Network (WAN), providing advanced educational opportunities for over 9,000 K-6 children.

"Each school will receive a completely mobile video conferencing system configured so that all an educator needs to do is roll the system into the classroom, plug in a power cord and the network cable, and the system will be ready to connect their classroom to an interactive world of possibilities," said Mike Nelson, account manager for Video Guidance.

The systems can be hooked up to projectors, allowing a large, projected display for larger group assemblies or activities that require the use of a larger space such as a gym or auditorium. Each system will also include a document camera that will allow items such as pages of a book, microscopes, graphs and images to be used in conjunction with the video conferencing system. This allows educators and students to broadcast a wide variety of information and video to other sites throughout the region and world.

Video Guidance will provide training and programming assistance to each school to ensure that the equipment will be fully integrated into the educational environment. The new systems are expected to be installed this spring so that educators are trained by the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The SW/WC Service Cooperative is a public agency dedicated to providing high quality innovative educational programs and services. The agency serves over 50,000 students in 18 counties in Southwest and West Central Minnesota. Wide Area Network schools benefitting from the grant include: Adrian, Brewster, Canby, Cedar Mountain, Comfrey, ECHO Charter, Edgerton, Ellsworth, Fulda, Hendricks, Heron Lake-Okabena, Hills-Beaver Creek, Ivanhoe, Jackson County Central, Lake Benton, Luverne, Lynd, Marshall, Milroy, Milroy Charter, Minneota, Mountain Lake, Murray County Central, Pipestone Area, Red Rock Central, Redwood Area, RTR, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, Tracy, Wabasso, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Windom, and Worthington.

About Video Guidance
Founded in 1999, Video Guidance is privately held and headquartered in Bloomington, Minn. Video Guidance is an independent partner of Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize, and maintains strategic alliances with Conference Plus, On Stream Media Corporation and VQ Communications. For six consecutive years, Video Guidance has been named to the "Inc. 5,000" list of the nation's fastest growing private companies, and is one of the top privately held companies in Minnesota and one of the top 150 telecommunications companies in the nation. In addition, Video Guidance has been named by The Business Journal as one of the "50 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies" in the Twin Cities, and by Minnesota Business magazine as "One of the Best Companies to Work For."

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