Wimba Hall of Fame 2010 Inductees
The Wimba Hall of Fame for Excellence in Collaboration celebrates educators around the world who have shown exemplary innovation and creativity in their use of the Wimba Collaboration Suite.
Based in Marietta, Georgia, this virtual high school was created in 2001, and since 2005 has used Wimba to offer engaging online instruction to more than 1,300 students in 45 courses ranging from math and science to foreign languages.
Two years ago, due to budget constraints and a small staff, the school district’s Office of Accountability decided to migrate from face-to-face personnel trainings to online training delivered via Wimba Classroom; a daunting task seeing that this is the second largest school district in Georgia with more than 8,000 teachers and 115 schools spanning over 70 miles in suburban Atlanta.
By using Wimba for its faculty and personnel trainings, administrators and instructors no longer have to travel to a central location to receive training, and can now participate from their offices or classrooms. In a given year, the county saves nearly $6,000 in mileage reimbursement costs and almost $18,000 in terms of lost productivity, for a total annual savings of $23,500. Cobb County demonstrates how comprehensive and impactful the Wimba Collaboration Suite can be for rich online instruction and meetings.
Based in Boise, Idaho, IDLA has used Wimba since 2004 to offer students in Idaho the opportunity to take classes not offered in their local school districts. Three years ago, after demonstrating great success in the classroom, IDLA began using Wimba to deliver professional development to teachers geographically dispersed across the large state.
Since the fall of 2008, every region and school district within Idaho has participated in hundreds of webinars and trainings – covering topics such as School Improvement, Educational Technology, Curriculum, Instruction and Implementation, as well as webinars for students. Through its survey data, IDLA estimates that in one year the state saved nearly $120,000 in mileage reimbursement costs, eliminated over 7,200 “out of office” hours and even removed nearly 237,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Since 2001, UGA has embraced Wimba’s collaboration solutions for a broad range of uses, including offering engaging online courses for tens of thousands of students that run the gamut from sociology and history to engineering and agriculture, as well as running meetings for thousands of faculty and staff across the state.
Three years ago, after seeing benefits such as increased retention rates and reduced dropout rates in the University’s student body, UGA’s Cooperative Extension Department began using Wimba to hold statewide staff meetings – saving money and environment while increasing participation. Its 2007 assessment indicated it saved more than $20,000 by meeting live online via Wimba, eliminating approximately 21 tons of carbon dioxide by reducing time spent driving to meeting sites.
Recent budget constraints also led UGA (Extension/FACS Extension) to hold a regional conference for schools across the Southeastern United States entirely online via Wimba. This conference, which had for years met face-to-face, was discovered to be more successful online with doubled attendance and more than $30,000 saved in registration fees, mileage reimbursement and meal costs.
Joining the Wimba family in 1999, Chico is the longest-tenured Hall of Fame inductee and a global pioneer of distance education. Chico was the first Wimba customer to use video, create a rubric for measuring the success of online courses, as well as offer true hybrid classes in which students could login live online to classes simultaneously being taught on-campus in a face-to-face classroom. Chico even boasts the first instructor to win a national award specifically for her creative use of Wimba Classroom.
For over a decade, Chico has used Wimba to increase the reach of its curriculum, serving students in an area the size of Ohio, while also enriching their curriculum offering by bringing instructors in from all over the world. For example, after sociology students read a memoir titled, “Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia,” the author, Savo Heleta, addressed the class live from his home in South Africa using Wimba Classroom. Students were so inspired by the author’s personal transformation and devotion to world peace, they collected funds to purchase him a new laptop with a built-in camera after learning he borrowed one for their lecture.
It is this enthusiastic and enduring embrace of collaboration that marks Chico as a Hall of Fame inductee.
Representing one of the most unique instructional use cases of collaboration, Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning is using Wimba to save Hawaii’s indigenous language, which was banned with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarch in 1893. By 1979, only 30 children under the age of 13 were able to speak their native tongue, triggering a grassroots effort to revive the language.
Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning uses the podcast and recording features of Wimba Voice, and more recently the instant collaboration available with Wimba Pronto, to teach high school students and adult learners within Hawaii, on the US mainland and across the Pacific. Averaging 40-50 high school students per semester, 50-100 adult learners monthly, and 40-50 educators quarterly, Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning has serviced nearly 1,700 learners since its online programs began in 2006, emphasizing instruction of entire families with diverse learning styles.