Public Release: 

Educators, students from Seattle to Blacksburg linked via Internet2

Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 27, 2002 - Virginia Tech's Institute for Connecting Science Research to the Classroom (ICSRC) successfully used Internet2 technology to link 500 educational leaders and high school students at the ThinkQuest conference at the University of Washington in Seattle with the Virginia Tech Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE TM) in Blacksburg.

The CAVE at Virginia Tech, a project coordinated by Associate Professor of Engineering Ron Kriz is a multi-person, room-sized, high-resolution, 3-D video and audio environment which, when viewed through stereo glasses, appears to extend infinitely. The ICSRC has collaborated with Kriz in utilizing the CAVE to create K-12 learning applications where students can view such virtual subject matter as DNA strands and insects up close.

Thanks to Internet2 technology, Kriz and ICSRC Associate Director John Wenrich linked ThinkQuest conference participants to the Virginia Tech CAVE where they interacted with teachers on the east and west coast in a live virtual classroom environment. Carmel Vaccare professor of instructional technology at Radford University, and Michael Moore, graduate student in instructional technology at Virginia Tech, helped coordinate the live CAVE interaction during the conference. After experiencing the virtual lesson, ThinkQuest participants provided insight into future possibilities for using the CAVE environment and Internet2 capabilities for K-12 audiences.

Exploring the Future of Learning, the theme of the ThinkQuest conference, is a hands-on participatory exploration of today's most promising emerging technologies, educational ideas and applications. During in-depth discussions, participants debated critical issues in the future of learning; analyzed tools and applications; and defined implications for research, policy and practice.

ThinkQuest has been selected as an Internet2 K-20 Initiative representative project. This initiative brings together Internet2 member institutions, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and museums to get new technologies such as advanced networking tools, into the hands of innovators across all educational sectors in the country.

The ThinkQuest program was created in 1995 by Advanced Network & Services, Inc. with the underlying philosophy of student-centered, Internet-enhanced project-based learning. ThinkQuest programs involve more than 100,000 students and educators in 100 countries, who have created a library of more than 5,000 educational websites used by more than 2.5 million people monthly.

Advanced Network & Services, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing education by accelerating the use of computer and networking technology. The organization has been instrumental in the development of both the current Internet and the next generation Internet, known as Internet2.

The bandwidth available over Internet2 is 10 times greater than the "everyday" Internet people currently use. During ThinkQuest, Virginia Tech used Internet2 fiber optics to link with the University of Washington in Seattle via Net.Work.Virginia so that live, interactive virtual learning could occur. Net.Work.Virginia is an advanced, broadband network that connects Virginia's colleges and universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, research facilities and state agencies.

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Internet2 is a consortium being led by more than 180 universities working in partnership with industry and government to dramatically advance the speed and quality of the Internet's infrastructure and thus the ability to evolve new applications and capabilities. For more information, please see www.icsrc.org/I2K20 or contact Beth Bottom bbottom@vt.edu at 540-231-9191.

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