What is Telepresence?

Telepresence is a form of remote conferencing in which the participants appear to be physically present in the conference space. Body language cues like eye contact are easily transmitted and interpreted because of the fidelity, size, and position of the images. Both 2D and 3D telepresence have been employed as a means of making it seem as though a user is in a location when they physically are not. This is a technique intended to make collaboration feel more seamless and replicate the benefits of face-to-face communication. Typically, 3D telepresence requires a specially configured space in which to capture a 360-degree image that can then be inserted into a virtual set, and viewed from any angle, but high-definition displays, seamless integration with software and data presentation, and full-surround audio make even 2D telepresence a very immersive experience.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • True Telepresence will remain just beyond the reach of most educators due to the cost and significant support requirements. However,advancements in the realm of High Definition video in the general public sector will mitigate the costs over time. I have worked with Telepresence in the military and higher ed, and have been impressed, when the proper climate is created, with the fact that the sense of actually "being there" is possible. Telepresence is valuable in education when the focus is kept off the technology in favor of quantifiable teaching/learning outcomes. administrative decision session, telemedicine/telesurgery, and public safety/disaster recovery and mitigation applications are three specific areas where Telepresence is operative and shows great promise. In the "standard" smart classroom, the current HD technologies providing interactive communication in conjunction with social media, etc. allow for a mid-level educational discourse which will suffice until the True Telepresence bandwidth, infrastructure costs, and staffing requirements are below the threshold of resources wielded by the teaching and learning community.
    Leadership in this important process should be within the Research and Education networking community. We have significant momentum in the research arena, but are just getting off the starting line re: the delivery of digital content in the "classroom".- mabbiatti mabbiatti May 19, 2015Mike Abbiatti
  • Mike has some good points from my perspective - just beyond reach for true TelePresence, support requirements, etc.. Having said that, let me give you an update in K12. Just yesterday, I received approval for taking our first school to TelePresence. We are placing video phones, TelePresence in every classroom, nurse, front office, principal, etc.. Combined with over 100 desktop to conference room units throughout our school district, the whole school model represents a milestone as we prepare and develop practices for all schools, all learning environments over the next two years. We maintain internal infrastructure to host multi-conference rooms, gateways to bridge to other's over the commodity internet and I2, which we've used for several years. What's interesting is that over the last two years, I know of several other school districts in Arizona that have also installed their first wave of TelePresence units. And, Arizona just recently got their first Regional Education Network of ultra-high bandwidth, Sun Corridor, hosted by our state universities, and the outreach to K12's is starting this Summer. So, even in a low per student funded state (currently 48th), the need and focus for adoption is starting. Device costs keep dropping, currently I can replace a video/telepresence phone with HDMI output for large view, for just a little more money than a regular VoIP phone. Support is still difficult for K12's, but their technology groups are having to step up and learn as well. So, I would agree with Mike to a degree. True 3D Telepresence is not there yet, cost, support, etc.. But, a way beyond computer-based audio video conferencing is becoming very possible. True 3D, immersive, TelePresence is likely going to be outside of most K12's, but the fit of TelePresence is rapidly changing, so ???(- jbillings jbillings May 21, 2015)
  • Telepresence is a valuable tool in High School education. It allows teachers in a large school to collaborate with each other, but most importantly it connects students to experts in the field which they are studying.
  • Cisco provides an excellent platform for Telepresence as well as advisors for its use. The grandson of Jacques Costeau connected with students all over the world on a marine preservation project. We were able
  • to connect with the Freedom Fighters organization through Telpresence as well. Our students prepared questions in advance and had an excellent conversation with the founder. - lisa.gustinelli lisa.gustinelli Jun 2, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry?

  • Telepresence is the next logical step in interactive digital communication in the classroom. The current trend toward encouraging personalized learning, and adaptive learning systems will empower learners of an age to establish relationships with content experts (human and processor-based) that will be carried out with an increasing reliance on visual communications. Therefore, Telepresence will become "business as usual" in the cyber-classroom experience. http://readwrite.com/2013/02/26/wharton-cisco-partner-to-expand-telepresence-to-classrooms - mabbiatti mabbiatti May 20, 2015Mike Abbiatti

  • Telepresence, robotics, and contextual computing will enable and empower the creation of the real Digital Learning Assistant. Each learner will have a cyber-partner who will serve as the teacher,tutor,mentor, and networked SME on content topics critical to the learners needs. Today we are caught up in the concept of "virtual", tomorrow we will get used to learning in an ecosystem that does not differentiate between local and distant content delivery.- mabbiatti mabbiatti May 20, 2015Mike Abbiatti
  • Crossing geopolitical boundaries to connect globally or across the state is an amazing process to experience in the K12 space. We are quickly moving from closed classrooms to global connections. Just the communication and collaborative potential is huge - rich, authentic projects can then transpire. I tend to see it as the emergence of this technology as going from the Board room to the Classroom, so to speak. (- jbillings jbillings May 21, 2015)
  • What is also transpiring is experts brought into the classroom. This is ranging from virtual field trips, complete with synchronous communication, to expert content experts for remote courses.(- jbillings jbillings May 21, 2015)- jmorrison jmorrison May 26, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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