Phase 2 The System Specification

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1 Team W2 Video-Conferencing-Based Classroom Extension Sergio Bana Andrew Carland Matt Dyson Sarah Jordan Andrew Wantuch Phase 2 The System Specification 1 P a g e

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTORY PROBLEM STATEMENT. PAGE 3 2. HISTORY, RESEARCH, AND CURRENT SOLUTIONS.. PAGE 4 3. FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS.. PAGE 6 4. PROPOSED SOLUTION... PAGE 7 5. OBJECTIVE/ GOALS RELEVANCE AND QUALITY OF LIFE PAGE 8 6. USER PROFILE/DEPLOYMENT OPERATION. PAGE 9 7. CONSTRAINTS BUDGET, SCHEDULE, TECHNICAL.. PAGE PROJECT DELIVERABLES... PAGE FUTURE PLANS AND EXPANDABILITY.. PAGE 12 2 P a g e

3 1. INTRODUCTORY PROBLEM STATEMENT ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT PROBLEMS A SCHOOL STUDENT CAN RUN INTO IS FALLING BEHIND IN THEIR CLASS WORK. IT S EVEN MORE DIFFICULT WHEN THE STUDENT FALLS BEHIND BECAUSE THEY ARE UNABLE TO COME TO SCHOOL FOR ANY GIVEN AMOUNT OF TIME. FOR EVEN THE SMARTEST OF STUDENTS, JUST MISSING A CLASS OR TWO CAN CREATE PROBLEMS UNDERSTANDING MATERIAL LATER ON IN THE CURRICULUM. NOT ONLY IS MISSED CLASS TIME STRAINING ON STUDENTS, BUT ALSO ON THE TEACHERS. TEACHERS MUST COME UP WITH WAYS TO GET THESE STUDENTS ALL OF THE INFORMATION THEY VE MISSED, AND IN MANY CASES KEEP STUDENTS AFTER SCHOOL OR SEND WORK HOME. WHEN IT COMES TO STUDENTS WHO JUST NEED TO SPEND A DAY OR TWO AT HOME TO GET OVER BEING SICK, THE AMOUNT OF MATERIAL REQUIRED TO BE MADE UP USUALLY ISN T A LOT. HOWEVER IN SOME CASES, STUDENTS CAN BE OUT OF SCHOOL FOR WEEKS AT A TIME AND IF WORK IS JUST BEING SENT TO THAT STUDENT S HOME, THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO FULLY GRASP ALL OF THE MATERIAL. IT IS FOR STUDENTS LIKE THIS THAT A BETTER SYSTEM MUST BE DEVELOPED, TO ALLOW THESE STUDENTS TO HAVE THE BEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE FROM THEIR HOMES. CHILDREN WHO MUST STAY HOME FOR WHATEVER REASON SHOULD BE GIVEN THE SAME OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN IN THE SAME ENVIRONMENT AS THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM. WHEN A STUDENT IS UNABLE TO ATTEND CLASS FOR ANY REASON, BEING ABLE TO BRING THE STUDENT BACK UP TO SPEED WITH THEIR CLASS WORK IS JUST HALF OF THE BATTLE. ESPECIALLY AT A YOUNG AGE, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS TO BE AROUND OTHER STUDENTS AND TEACHERS. CERTAIN LESSONS ARE LEARNED IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT THAT CANNOT BE EXPERIENCED ANYWHERE ELSE FOR THESE CHILDREN. THE BEST SOLUTION TO THIS ISSUE WOULD BE TO ALLOW STUDENTS WHO NEED TO STAY HOME FROM SCHOOL, ENGAGE IN THE ACTUAL CLASSROOM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FROM THEIR OWN HOME. WHETHER THE STUDENT CAN ONLY COMMUNICATE WITH THE TEACHER, OR WHETHER THE STUDENT CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR PEERS, MAKING THE STUDENT FEEL LIKE THEY ARE STILL A PART OF THE CLASSROOM IS VERY IMPORTANT AND IS A MAJOR GOAL OF THIS PROJECT. WE D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO BRING THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE CLASSROOM TO THE STUDENTS IN A VIRTUAL WAY AND IN A WAY WHERE THE STUDENTS WILL STILL BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH WHOEVER THEY NEED TO SUCCEED. WE THINK IT S HIGHLY IMPORTANT FOR THE STUDENTS WHO STAY AT HOME TO BE ABLE TO SEE, HEAR AND INTERACT WITH ALL OF THE ELEMENTS OF THE CLASSROOM INCLUDING THE TEACHER, OTHER STUDENTS AND CHALKBOARDS. STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO RAISE THEIR HAND AND ASK QUESTIONS IF THEY NEED HELP UNDERSTANDING SOMETHING, EVEN IF THEY RE STUCK AT HOME. VIDEO-CONFERENCING CAPABILITIES HAVE DONE WONDERS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD, AND THE SAME TECHNOLOGY CAN BE APPLIED AND TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF IN THE EDUCATIONAL WORLD AS WELL. WITH A NEW MODEL IN PLACE, AND BY ALLOWING STUDENTS TO BE VIRTUALLY PRESENT, WE CAN FINALLY BEGIN TO DECREASE THE NUMBERS OF ABSENT STUDENTS PER YEAR. 3 P a g e

4 2. HISTORY & RESEARCH WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH ABSENTEEISM, NEW SOLUTIONS AND METHODS HAVE GROWN AND BEEN SHAPED DEPENDING ON THE TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCES AVAILABLE AT THE TIME. MUCH HAS BEEN DONE TO MAKE SURE STUDENTS WHO MISS SCHOOL MAKE UP WHAT THEY VE MISSED, BUT THE AREA IS IN NEED OF A MAJOR OVERHAUL. TO THIS DATE, NO CURRENT SOLUTION KEEPS THE ABSENT STUDENTS ENGAGED IN THE CLASSROOM, EVEN THOUGH THE TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE TO DO SO. ACCORDING TO ATTENDANCE WORKS, A WEBSITE AND INITIATIVE DEDICATED TO REDUCING CHRONIC ABSENCE IN SCHOOLS, EVERY YEAR ONE IN 10 KINDERGARTEN AND 1ST GRADE STUDENTS MISS A MONTH OF SCHOOL WITH ABSENCES. FOR HIGHER GRADES THE NUMBERS ONLY INCREASE. WHILE SOMETIMES NOTHING CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT THESE ABSENCES, THIS NUMBER IS FRIGHTENINGLY HIGH. THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF BEING ABSENT FROM SCHOOL OFTEN LEAD TO MUCH LOWER GRADES, AND CAN EVEN AFFECT STUDENTS TRYING TO GRADUATE. IN A STUDY PUBLISHED IN APRIL 2011 TAKEN IN BALTIMORE SCHOOLS, THE GRADUATION RATE WAS LOWER THAN 20% FOR THOSE NINTH GRADERS WHO ATTENDED LESS THAN 70% OF THE TIME (ATTENDANCE WORKS). WHILE SOLUTIONS TO DECREASE THESE ABSENCES ARE CONSTANTLY BEING DISCUSSED, ONE FACTOR IS BEING OVER-LOOKED: HOW THESE ABSENCES ARE BEING DEALT WITH. IT IS OUR BELIEF, THAT IF DEALT WITH THE CORRECT METHOD, SCHOOL ABSENCES COULD HAVE A SMALLER ROLE IN AFFECTING THE LEARNING PROCESS. THE PROBLEM WITH STUDENT ABSENCES RIGHT NOW, IS THAT STUDENTS ARE MISSING OUT ON BEING ENGAGED IN THE CLASSROOM. SURE WORK CAN ALWAYS BE MADE UP IN THE STUDENTS OWN TIME, BUT IF THERE WAS A WAY TO ALLOW FOR THE STUDENT TO STILL ATTEND CLASS WITHOUT PHYSICALLY BEING PRESENT, THERE COULD BE MAJOR BENEFITS. EARLY ABSENCES FROM SCHOOL FUEL THE DROPOUT RATE, AND IF THOSE ABSENCES CAN BE TURNED INTO THE STUDENTS BEING VIRTUALLY PRESENT, THEN STUDENTS CAN CONTINUE TO BE ENGAGED IN A FUN AND MODERN WAY. COMMUNICATION WITH OTHERS, ESPECIALLY AT A YOUNG AGE, IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR LEARNING AND DEVELOPING. IF STUDENTS ARE ABSENT AND UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE, STUDENTS ARE NOT ONLY MISSING OUT ON SCHOOLWORK, BUT ALSO MISSING OUT ON LESSONS AND EXPERIENCES THAT CANNOT BE TAUGHT OUT OF A TEXTBOOK. 4 P a g e

5 CURRENT SOLUTIONS OVER TIME, NEW SOLUTIONS HAVE BEEN PROPOSED AND IMPLEMENTED TO KEEP ABSENT STUDENTS ON PAR WITH THOSE WHO ATTEND CLASS. HOWEVER, ALL OF THE CURRENT SOLUTIONS DO HAVE THEIR OWN DEFICIENCIES. BY TAKING THE BEST QUALITIES OF THESE SOLUTIONS AND ADDING IN SOME NEW IDEAS AND TECHNOLOGY, THE BEST SOLUTION SHOULD BE ABLE TO SHINE THROUGH. THE FIRST AND MOST OBVIOUS SOLUTION HAS BEEN JUST TO HAVE THE STUDENTS MAKE UP THE WORK EITHER AFTER SCHOOL OR AT AN ACCELERATED PACE ONCE THE STUDENT IS HEALTHY ENOUGH TO RETURN. THIS OF COURSE IS EFFECTIVE ENOUGH IF THE STUDENT ONLY MISSES A DAY OR TWO, BUT CERTAINLY DOESN T GIVE THE STUDENT TIME TO ABSORB THE NEW MATERIAL. ALSO THIS SOLUTION CAN BE A BURDEN ON TIME TO BOTH THE STUDENT AND THE TEACHER, ESPECIALLY IF THE WORK NEEDS TO BE MADE UP AFTER SCHOOL. MANY STUDENTS ARE TURNED AWAY BY HAVING TO STAY AFTER SCHOOL, AND REDUCING THAT NEED IS CRITICAL. ANOTHER CURRENT SOLUTION IS TO SEND THE WORK TO THE STUDENT S HOME EITHER THROUGH ANOTHER STUDENT, THE STUDENT S PARENTS, OR THROUGH . THIS SOLUTION ENSURES THAT THE WORK GETS TO THE STUDENT AND MAKES SURE THEY DON T FALL BEHIND ON HOMEWORK, BUT ITS DOWNFALL IS THAT THE STUDENT ISN T REALLY LEARNING THE MATERIAL UNLESS THEY TAKE THE TIME TO TEACH IT TO THEMSELVES. AT OFTEN TIMES THE STUDENT RETURNS TO SCHOOL CAUGHT UP IN HOMEWORK, WHICH PROBABLY HASN T BEEN DONE COMPLETELY RIGHT, AND DOESN T UNDERSTAND PARTS OF THE MATERIAL THAT NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD FOR TESTS. AT THIS POINT, A NEW RISING TREND IN SCHOOLS IS TO MAKE HOMEWORK AVAILABLE ONLINE. BY ASSIGNING MOST OF THE HOMEWORK THROUGH ONLINE WEBSITES, STUDENTS WHO MISS CLASS WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHERE TO LOOK TO FIND THE WORK THEY VE MISSED THAT NEEDS TO BE MADE UP. SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS WILL NOW BOTH PARENTS AND STUDENTS WHEN A STUDENT IS ABSENT, WITH THE WORK THEY HAVE TO MAKE UP AND LETTING THEM KNOW WHAT WAS MISSED IN CLASS THAT DAY. THIS SOLUTION IS CERTAINLY TAKING A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY, BUT CAN HAVE ITS PITFALLS. WHILE IT S MUCH EASIER TO COMPLETE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS, SOME STUDENTS ESPECIALLY AT A HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL MAY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FACT AND SKIP SCHOOL KNOWING THEY CAN JUST DO THE HOMEWORK ONLINE LATER. WHEN IT COMES TO BEING ABSENT FOR QUIZZES OR TESTS, ALL OF THESE SOLUTIONS HAVE THE ANSWER OF MAKING IT UP USUALLY AFTER SCHOOL. TESTS MAY BE DEBATABLE ABOUT BEING ADMINISTERED ONLINE, BUT STUDENTS COULD CERTAINLY FOLLOW ALONG AND TAKE QUIZZES ONLINE ALONG WITH THEIR PEERS IF THE TEACHER IS OKAY WITH IT. THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE A NEW SYSTEM MUST COME INTO PLACE. IF WE CAN FIND A WAY TO ENGAGE ABSENT STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM, WHILE ENSURING THEY DO NOT FALL BEHIND IN EITHER THE LEARNING PROCESS OR THEIR CLASS WORK, AN ANSWER TO DEALING WITH ABSENTEEISM CAN BE FOUND. 5 P a g e

6 3. FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS I WOULD LIKE SOME SORT OF A SYSTEM THAT HELPS ME TEACH STUDENTS WHO CAN T COME TO CLASS, WHETHER IT IS FOR A SET PERIOD OF TIME OR PERMANENTLY. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO TEACH A CLASS IN MY CLASSROOM WHILE THE STUDENT WHO CAN T COME TO CLASS WATCHES THE LECTURE LIVE. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURES FOR ME BECAUSE IF THE STUDENT IS WATCHING THE LECTURE LATER I PROBABLY WON T BE AT SCHOOL. IF THE STUDENT HAS ANY QUESTIONS I EITHER WON T BE AVAILABLE, OR IT WILL END UP INTERFERING WITH MY PERSONAL LIFE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL. I WOULD REALLY HAVE VERY LITTLE INTEREST IN A SYSTEM WHERE THE STUDENT CAN T VIEW THE LECTURE LIVE. ANOTHER THING THAT WOULD BE IMPORTANT IS FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO HAVE TWO WAY COMMUNICATION WITH THE STUDENT. WHILE MY PRIMARY FOCUS WILL HAVE TO BE THE TWENTY OTHER STUDENTS WHO ARE PHYSICALLY IN THE CLASSROOM WITH ME, I NEED TO BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH THE STUDENT TO OBSERVE THEIR PROGRESS. IN THE CLASSROOM, I GET CONSTANT FEEDBACK AS TO WHAT IS MAKING SENSE AND WHAT ISN T AND IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE THAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WITH THE STUDENT WHO ISN T IN THE CLASSROOM AS WELL. SPECIFICALLY, I D LIKE IT IF THERE WAS SOME WAY FOR THE STUDENT TO SEND ME MESSAGES. SOMETIMES, WHEN SOMETHING IS CONFUSING, STUDENTS ARE SCARED TO SPEAK UP AND SAY THEY DON T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING BECAUSE THEY DON T WANT TO LOOK STUPID IN FRONT OF THEIR CLASSMATES. IF THE STUDENT COULD ASK THE QUESTION WITHOUT ANYONE ELSE KNOWING, THAT WOULD ALSO HELP. THE MORE REALISTIC THE EXPERIENCE IS FOR THE STUDENT AND MYSELF, THE BETTER IT WOULD BE FOR BOTH OF US. IN GENERAL, I WOULD LIKE THE SYSTEM TO BE AS LITTLE EXTRA WORK FOR ME AS POSSIBLE. I M NOT SAYING I M NOT WILLING TO GO OUT OF MY WAY TO HELP A STUDENT IN NEED, BUT IF THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG TERM SOLUTION, IT WOULD BE NICE FOR IT NOT TO BE A LOT OF EXTRA WORK. EVEN SIMPLE THINGS LIKE PRINTING OFF HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS THAT ARE ED TO ME CAN BE A PAIN IF I HAVE TO DO IT EVERY DAY. IF THERE WAS SOME WAY FOR COMPLETED ASSIGNMENTS TO BE SENT DIRECTLY TO MY PRINTER BY THE STUDENT, THAT WOULD BE A LOT LESS OF A HASSLE FOR ME. ALSO, THAT WAY I COULD GRADE THE STUDENT S PAPER WITH EVERYONE ELSE S INSTEAD OF PUTTING IT OFF AND GRADING IT SEPARATELY. 6 P a g e

7 4. PROPOSED SOLUTION SINCE I REALLY WANT THE STUDENT TO BE ABLE TO SEE ME LIVE, I THINK SOME SORT OF WEBCAM SERVICE LIKE SKYPE IS A GOOD START FOR A SYSTEM. IF THE STUDENT HAS WEBCAM AT HOME AND I HAVE ONE IN THE CLASSROOM, WE CAN USE THEM TO SEE EACH OTHER. THIS WAY, I CAN TEACH HIM WITH THE REST OF THE CLASS, AND I CAN SEE IF THEY RAISE THEIR HAND. SINCE I NEED TO SPEND MOST OF MY TIME WORRIED ABOUT THE TWENTY STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM, I THINK IT WILL HELP IF THERE IS SOME SORT OF BELL THAT GOES OFF WHEN THE STUDENT HAS A QUESTION SO IT GETS MY ATTENTION. THERE ALSO NEEDS TO BE SPEAKERS AND A MICROPHONE AT THE STUDENT S HOUSE AND IN THE CLASSROOM. ANOTHER THING THAT I WOULD REALLY LIKE IS NOT TO HAVE TO HANDLE THE STUDENT S ASSIGNMENTS SEPARATELY FROM EVERYONE ELSE S. I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IT SO THERE IS SOME WAY FOR THE STUDENT TO TYPE EVERYTHING UP AND HAVE IT SENT DIRECTLY TO MY PRINTER. I M NOT SURE HOW CONVENIENT IT WOULD BE FOR THE STUDENT TO TYPE UP THE HOMEWORK FOR COURSES LIKE MATH, BUT THE HASSLE OF TYPING IT UP IS BETTER THAN NOT LEARNING IT AT ALL. OVERALL, I THINK IF THERE IS A LAPTOP WITH A WEBCAM, MICROPHONE, AND SPEAKERS IN BOTH THE CLASSROOM AND ATE STUDENT S HOME, I THINK THE STUDENT SHOULD BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE REGULARLY WITH THE CLASS. 7 P a g e

8 5. OBJECTIVES AND GOALS THE OBJECTIVE IS TO CREATE THE ABILITY FOR A STUDENT TO ATTEND CLASSES REGARDLESS OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY OR MEDICAL IMPAIRMENT BY CREATING A PORTHOLE FROM THE STUDENT S HOME DIRECTLY TO THE CLASSROOM IF THE NEED SHOULD ARISE GIVEN SOME SORT OF MEDICAL IMPAIRMENT TO ATTEND CLASS IN PERSON. THIS WILL HELP TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION LOST BY STUDENTS WHO MISS CLASS. ALSO LESS WORK WILL HAVE TO BE MADE UP BY A STUDENT IF HE OR SHE IS FORCED TO MISS ANY AMOUNT OF SCHOOL. ONE OF THE GOALS OF THIS PROJECT IS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE TO MISS CLASS TIME TO REMAIN CAUGHT UP WITH THE REST OF THE CLASS. AT TIMES WHEN STUDENTS MUST MAKE UP WORK AFTER MISSING CLASS, IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND TIME FOR BOTH THE STUDENT AND TEACHER TO MAKE UP THE WORK. THIS COULD HELP ELIMINATE THAT ISSUE AND MAKE BOTH THE TEACHERS JOB A BIT EASIER AND ALLOWING STUDENTS TO FEEL LIKE THEY ARE STILL A PART OF THE CLASS. RELEVANCE AND QUALITY OF LIFE OFTEN TIMES, CHILDREN ARE EXPOSED TO GERMS AND ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER FROM AN ACCIDENT THAT WOULD IMPEDE THEIR ABILITY TO ATTEND CLASS IN PERSON, DUE TO THE FACT THAT, WELL, KIDS WILL BE KIDS! OUR SOFTWARE WOULD IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN THESE CASES BECAUSE THE STUDENT WOULD NOT BE FORCED TO SIMPLY WORK ON THE MISSED SCHOOL MATERIAL AT HOME ON THEIR OWN OR WITH THEIR PARENTS. THE LAST THING PARENTS WANT TO DO AFTER COMING HOME FROM WORK IS HAVING TO EXPLAIN MATERIAL TO THEIR CHILDREN OR IN SOME CASES, TO DO THEIR CHILDREN S HOMEWORK FOR THEM. THIS WILL IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF BOTH THE STUDENT, WHO WILL BE OTHERWISE HOOKED TO HIS FRIEND THE BOOB TUBE AS DAY LONG, AND ALSO THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE PARENTS GIVING THEM LESS WORK TO DO. ANOTHER WAY THAT OUR SOFTWARE WOULD BE ABLE TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND ALSO THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION IS TO ALLOW THE PARENTS TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN THEIR CHILDREN EDUCATION. A PARENT WOULD BE ABLE TO DROP IN AND SEE WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION THEIR CHILDREN ARE RECEIVING. ALL THEY WOULD HAVE TO DO IS SIGN INTO THE SAME WEB SITE AND THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO GET A SENSE OF WHAT IT IS THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY LEARNING. 8 P a g e

9 6. USER PROFILE: WHO WILL USE IT? THE USER MUST BE ABLE TO USE A COMPUTER AND ALSO MUST BE ABLE TO READ AND WRITE. GIVEN THESE CONSTRAINTS, THE CHILD SHOULD BE AT LEAST 7 YEARS OF AGE. THE STUDENT WILL OF COURSE BE THE PRIMARY USER OF THIS SOFTWARE BUT IT SHOULD ULTIMATELY BE UP TO THE PARENTS TO MANAGE IT. TEACHERS OF COURSE WOULD BE THE OTHER USERS OF THE SOFTWARE. DEPLOYMENT ENVIRONMENT THE SOFTWARE SHOULD BE COMPATIBLE WITH MAINSTREAM PERSONAL COMPUTERS. WE WOULD LIKE UPDATES TO BE AVAILABLE PERIODICALLY AS IMPROVEMENTS ARE MADE. THE SOFTWARE WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO BOTH THE STUDENTS AND THE PARENTS THROUGH A WEBSITE PROVIDED BY THE SCHOOL. ONCE THE SOFTWARE IS DOWNLOADED BOTH THE STUDENT AND THE PARENTS WILL SIMPLY CLICK ON THE PROGRAMS ICON AND SIGN IN. THE TEACHERS WILL THEN SEE AN ICON OF THE STUDENT S PICTURE AND NAME AND WILL THEN BE AWARE OF SAID STUDENT S CLASS ATTENDANCE. EACH STUDENT SHOULD HAVE A USER NAME AND PASSWORD MAILED TO THEM AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR TO BE ABLE TO SIGN INTO THE SCHOOLS WEBSITE. MAINTENANCE COST SHOULD BE MINIMAL AND SHOULD BE AFFORDABLE FOR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. GIVEN THE FACT THAT MOST STUDENTS WILL BE ATTENDING CLASSES, THERE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR ACCOUNT ACTIVATION. EACH STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO ACTIVATE THE ACCOUNT FOR EITHER A DAY, A WEEK, A MONTH OR AS NEEDED. THE ACCOUNT WILL BE DEACTIVATED AFTERWARDS BUT THE INFORMATION TRANSFERRED MAY BE SAVED FOR A PREDETERMINED AMOUNT OF TIME IN CASE THE NEED FOR THE IN-HOME CLASSES SHOULD BE EXTENDED ALLOWING THE STUDENT TO NOT LOSE ANY INFORMATION OR NOTES. 9 P a g e

10 7. CONSTRAINTS THERE WILL BE SEVERAL CONSTRAINTS THAT WILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WITH THIS SYSTEM. SOME FACTORS THAT WILL BE CONSIDERED ARE THE BUDGET, SCHEDULE AND TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF THIS SYSTEM. THE BUDGET MUST BE A LOW COST, COMMERCIAL GRADE SOLUTION FOR BOTH THE STUDENTS AND THE FACILITY (THE SCHOOL), IN ORDER FOR THE SYSTEM TO BE AS EFFECTIVE AS POSSIBLE FOR STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO LEARN AND GET THE SAME ADVANTAGE AS THE OTHER STUDENTS WHO ARE IN THE TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT. THE STUDENTS WILL NEED TO USE A SIMPLE TWO WAY VIDEO CONFERENCING DEVICE THAT WILL ALLOW THEM TO INTERACT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR. THE STUDENTS WILL ALSO NEED A BROADBAND CONNECTION TO THE INTERNET IN ORDER FOR THE CONNECTION TO RUN SMOOTH AND UNINTERRUPTED. THE CLASSROOM WILL NEED TO HAVE A CAMERA WITH MICROPHONES FOR LIVE RECORDING, A MONITOR FOR THE INSTRUCTOR TO VIEW THE DISTANT STUDENTS AND INTERACT WITH THEM AND ENOUGH INTERNET BANDWIDTH FOR THE CONNECTION TO RUN SMOOTHLY. SCHEDULING CONSTRAINTS FOR THIS SYSTEM WILL BE A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR TO CONSIDER BECAUSE BOTH THE STUDENT AND INSTRUCTOR MUST BE AVAILABLE AT THE SAME TIME IN ORDER FOR THE LIVE CLASSROOM SESSIONS TO WORK PROPERLY. A REMINDER SYSTEM MAY BE NEEDED TO BE IMPLEMENTED FOR THE STUDENT S END OF THE SYSTEM TO LET THEM KNOW THAT THE CLASS WILL BEGIN SOON AND THAT THEY WILL NEED TO LOG INTO THE SYSTEM SO THAT THEY CAN PARTICIPATE. THE SYSTEM SHOULD RUN OFF OF A CENTRALIZED SYSTEM SO THAT IF THE STUDENT OR INSTRUCTOR IS LATE OR HAVING TROUBLE SIGNING INTO THE SYSTEM, THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY ISSUES. SOME TECHNICAL CONSTRAINTS FOR THIS SYSTEM WILL DEPEND ON THE ACTUAL HARDWARE THAT ARE ON BOTH THE STUDENTS END AND THE INSTRUCTORS END OF THE SYSTEM. BOTH ENDS OF THE SYSTEM WILL REQUIRE A BROADBAND CONNECTION AND ADEQUATE COMPUTER HARDWARE ABLE TO PROCESS THE VIDEO AND CAPTURE AND DISPLAY ON BOTH ENDS. 10 P a g e

11 8. PROJECT DELIVERABLES THIS SYSTEM MUST BE ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY AND ADEQUATELY ALLOW STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS TO COMMUNICATE IN A WAY THAT WILL ALLOW THE SAME LEARNING TO GO ON AS IF THEY WERE IN A TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM. IT MUST BE ABLE TO DO THINGS LIKE ALLOW THE STUDENT TO RAISE THEIR HAND AND ALERT THE TEACHER SO THEY CAN ACKNOWLEDGE THE STUDENT OR CANCEL THE ALERT DEPENDING ON WHO THEY CHOSE TO ANSWER THE QUESTION. THE PROJECT SHOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO TAKE OVER CONTROL OF THE COMPUTER THAT THE STUDENT IS USING SO THAT IT CAN BE THE ONLY THING RUNNING SO THE STUDENT CAN GIVE THEIR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION TO THE INSTRUCTOR AND NOT BE DISTRACTED BY ANYTHING ELSE. THERE MAY ALSO BE A NEED FOR A CENTRALIZED SERVER NEEDED FOR THE STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTOR TO CONNECT TO. THIS WILL ENSURE THAT THE CONNECTIONS ARE AS STABLE AS POSSIBLE AND THEY ARE AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE, ALLOWING CERTAIN THINGS LIKE THE STUDENTS OR INSTRUCTOR BEING ABLE TO CONNECT EARLY WITHOUT HAVING TO WAIT TO CONNECT OR WORRY ABOUT HAVING TO RE-CONNECT IN THE EVENT THAT SOMEONE GETS DROPPED FROM THE CONNECTION. ON THE STUDENTS END, THEY WILL NEED TO BE ABLE TO VIEW THE CLASSROOM FROM THE CAMERA AND HAVE A CLEAR VIEW OF THE BOARD, OR WHERE EVER THE INSTRUCTOR IS STANDING. IF THE INSTRUCTOR IS PRESENTING SOMETHING, LIKE ON A OVERHEAD PROJECTOR OR A VIDEO, THE STUDENT MUST BE ABLE TO VIEW THESE AS WELL. THEY ALSO MUST BE ABLE TO HEAR THE INSTRUCTOR AND OTHER STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM SO THE ROOM WILL NEED TO HAVE SEVERAL MICROPHONES INSTALLED. THE STUDENT WILL NEED TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND BACK TO THE INSTRUCTOR AS WELL, THEY WILL NEED TO DO THINGS LIKE RAISE THEIR HAND AND SUBMIT RESPONSES FOR QUIZZES, HOMEWORK AND EXAMS. THESE THINGS WILL NEED TO BE PUT IN A DIGITAL FORMAT MADE BY THE INSTRUCTOR SO THAT THE DISTANT STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE WORK THE SAME WAY THE STUDENTS IN THE TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT CAN. 11 P a g e

12 9. FUTURE PLANS AND EXPANDABILITY IN THESE QUICKLY CHANGING TIMES, WITH MORE STUDENTS FALLING ILL WITH DISEASES AND AN INCREASE IN DISABILITIES AFFECTING CHILDREN S DAILY LIVES, THE POSSIBILITIES OF AIDING THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ARE ENDLESS WITH THE GROWING TECHNOLOGIES FOR VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS. ALTHOUGH I AM ONLY REQUESTING SOFTWARE THAT CAN BE USED ON LAPTOPS INTEGRATED WITH WEBCAMS, THE QUESTION STILL ARISES; HOW CAN WE FURTHER CHANGE TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM? OVER TIME, WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, ONE MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. IF SOFTWARE IS DEVELOPED FOR PORTABLE ELECTRONICS, SUCH AS TABLETS AND MOBILE DEVICES, A CHILD MAY LEARN FROM ANY LOCATION. IF THE STUDENT IS ILL IN THE HOSPITAL, HE MAY STILL BRING HIS WORK WITH HIM. IF THE CHILD IS ON THE AIRPLANE TO A DOCTOR S APPOINTMENT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, HE MAY BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO WIFI AND INTERACT WITH THE CLASSROOM. BY DEVELOPING MORE SOFTWARE TO BE INTEGRATED INTO TECHNOLOGIES, A CHILD WILL ALMOST BE GUARANTEED TO ATTEND CLASS. IN ADDITION, MONEY AND TIME MAY BE SAVED BY DEVELOPING A DATABASE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL A FULL RANGE OF DIGITAL TEXTBOOKS, HANDOUTS, AND VIRTUAL CLASSROOM SOFTWARE. BY HAVING A VIRTUAL DATABASE OF MATERIAL, A STUDENT CAN RESEARCH TOPICS THAT THEY ARE CONFUSED ABOUT OR ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE IN DEPTH DATA ABOUT. IF THIS INFORMATION IS FREELY GIVEN, FAMILIES WITH FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES CAN ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO HAVE THE SAME ADVANTAGES AS SCHOOLS WITH MORE FUNDING HAVE. IF VIDEO CONFERENCING IS SUCCESSFUL FOR VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS, THE IDEA MAY SPREAD INTERNATIONALLY. EVENTUALLY, ALL SCHOOLS MAY HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE TO REAL-LIFE CLASSROOMS. BY HAVING A VIRTUAL CLASSROOM, WHETHER FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE ILL OR NOT, MANY BENEFITS WOULD BE NOTICED. TAXES WOULD BE DECREASED, SINCE LESS MONEY WOULD BE NEEDED TO FUND A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. A CHILD MAY BE MORE SOCIAL IN THE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT, SINCE SOCIAL INTERACTION IS MUCH EASIER THROUGH A COMPUTER. WITH AN ONLINE ATTENDANCE POLICY IN PLACE, A CHILD WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SKIP CLASS UNNOTICED. IN ADDITION, BY HAVING A VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT TO LEARN, TEACHERS CAN CREATE ADDITIONAL COURSES THAT STUDENTS MAY BE INTERESTED IN. WITHOUT HAVING THE TYPICAL EIGHT HOUR SCHEDULE, A CHILD MAY STUDY WHENEVER HE HAS TIME WITH THE ONLINE COURSE MATERIAL. VIDEO-BASED CONFERENCING WITHIN A CLASSROOM MAY ONLY BE THE START OF SOMETHING MUCH GREATER. ALTHOUGH I WOULD LIKE THIS SOFTWARE TO HELP AID MY STUDENTS THAT ARE ILL OR HAVE DISABILITIES AND MUST SPEND EXTENDED PERIODS AT HOME, THERE IS ALWAYS THE POSSIBILITY THAT THIS IDEA CAN SPREAD TO ALL STUDENTS WITHIN ALL SCHOOLS. 12 P a g e

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