Thanks to a dynamic partnership between CPS and Cisco, students at King College Prep recently performed a simultaneous concert with high school musicians in eight different U.S. cities.
Called "Bridging the Gap", this virtual concert was broadcast on a massive screen that served as a window to students from as far away as California. The event was made possible by Cisco's telepresence system, which melds cutting-edge technology with the arts to give students from across the country an interactive platform from which to connect, learn and create.
"This kind of technology has created a paradigm shift in the field of education," said Brenda Wilkerson, a Program Manager for the District's Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department. "It allows students whose lives would never have intertwined to learn from each other and create a shared experience."
The jazz band and choir from King joined student bands, choirs and dance ensembles from five states to perform alongside several music industry greats, including legendary singer/songwriter Jackson Browne and Hall of Fame record producer Lou Adler. The goal of the concert was to promote music education and to showcase how video technology can be used by schools to enhance resources and foster collaboration among students, no matter what the physical distance.
"There are so many intricate things you can do with this technology," said Adrienne Scherenzel-Curry, also with CTE. "We have students in all these different cities performing at the same time, which means we can have a band playing in L.A. while a group of dancers performs to their music in Chicago. It's amazing."
The annual concert series is one of many experiences provided to CPS students through the District's partnership with Cisco. Active in several schools, this corporation has paved the way for hundreds of students to receive advanced technology training even before they graduate from high school. Students who take advantage of these opportunities can leave school with the kind of high-end networking certifications that they would normally receive at the end of community college, making them incredibly marketable in the growing number of careers that require advanced technology skills.