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Forecasting for the future - Outlook sunny, with a good chance of videoconferencing!


Above: Met office

Have you ever wondered how a tornado occurs, or how a cyclone gets its name? These are some of the very questions that groups of children will soon be able to ask whilst taking part in series of videoconferences run thoughout England by the Met Office, using the JANET Videoconferencing Service (JVCS). Funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families and part of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths), this videoconferencing programme aims to encourage the take up of science and maths in schools.

 

The new Met Office programme covers 4 current issues: Weather, Climate change, Weather forecasting and Tropical Cyclones. Presentations will be given by experts at the Met Office following which students are invited to put forward their questions to the presenters. ““We ask the teachers to submit questions to us prior to the videoconference sessions taking place”, says Paul Gross, Education Services Manager. “That way we can tailor the sessions for each of the schools individually, the students get to interact with the specialists and ultimately get much more out of the day; the children are usually very keen to get involved,” says Paul.

 

The Met Office has been providing educational content for many years, but with the growth of broadband in schools, they are now able to offer sessions over videoconference. For the last 3 years Paul and his colleagues have been using the JANET Videoconferencing Service (JVCS) to manage, schedule and support all their videoconferences with schools. JVCS is free at the point of use for all UK state funded schools, offering a help desk for support, an online booking service and Quality Assurance testing for each videoconference endpoint. Paul Gross added, “The help received from the support team is excellent. The process to book and connect to the videoconference is easy and any technical issues are quickly resolved. It’s simple and easy!”

 

The popular Met Office sessions are filling up fast with 7 schools booking onto the programme in the first 3 days. The Met Office will deliver the videoconferences between November and February, double the number of sessions undertaken last year?.

 

“Using videoconferencing gives us a perfect tool to raise the profile of a complex science,” says Paul Gross. “It allows us to reach schools from the Met Office headquarters, which would not have been otherwise possible”.

 

“Schools are not the only people to benefit. We use videoconferencing to reduce our own carbon footprint at the Met Office. As the world leaders in the analysis of climate change, we are now able to represent the UK at conferences worldwide without the need to add to one of the very causes of world pollution - international air travel.”

 

“The Met Office videoconference programmes are an excellent example of how The JANET Videoconferencing Service make sense not only in terms of delivering excellent educational content and costs savings, but also through its real contribution in reducing our customers’ carbon footprint,” says Tim Marshall, CEO at JANET. To find out more about The JANET Videoconferencing Service or the Met Office videoconferencing programme, please go to the appropriate links below:

 

JANET Videoconferencing Service - http://www.ja.net/services/video/jvcs/

Met Office - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/video_conferencing.html

For more information on the education services provided by the Met Office, please e-mail: education@metoffice.gov.uk