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For immediate release

Wimba Modern Marvels 2009

Top-Ten Unique and Innovative Uses of Wimba Collaboration

NEW YORK – December 15, 2009 – Wimba® Inc., the education technology company that helps people teach people, today announced its second annual list of Wimba Modern Marvels – a collection of ten unique and innovative uses of Wimba’s collaborative solutions.  From online presentations delivered by Michelle Obama to virtual veterinary instruction, these Modern Marvels showcase how collaboration powerfully engages communities, facilitates effective instruction, fosters online meetings and offers time and money-saving efficiencies.

1)    Michelle Obama Goes Green with Wimba
At the Department of Interior (DOI), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been using Wimba Classroom™ to conduct meetings, deliver training and live broadcasts to remote field staff. Using this technology has increased communications, reduced travel costs and decreased the agency’s carbon footprint. Recent examples of use include live speeches to DOI employees from First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazaar and agency director Sam Hamilton. Web conferencing has also become an important communications tool for Service biologists working on conservation issues such as climate change, endangered species recovery, and the white-nose syndrome that is decimating bat populations in the Northeast.

2) Virtual Veterinarians       
Your dog won’t stop coughing?  Your horse is having problems with its trot, canter or gallop?  Don’t worry. Veterinarian instructors and practicing vets across the Pacific Rim take continuing veterinary education courses live online from the School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences at Murdoch University in Australia.  Using Wimba Classroom, Murdoch allows veterinary professionals to share their knowledge and experiences while bringing relevant, up-to-date continuing education to veterinarians throughout Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and even Switzerland.

Particularly popular with vets who are more than three hours away from their nearest peer, these virtual courses allow international experts to demonstrate cutting-edge techniques, new diagnostic procedures and best practices of veterinary medicine.  Some interesting course topics have included “The Coughing Dog,” “Pain Management,” “Toxicity in Small Animals” and “Racing Issues for our Equine Vets.”

3) Serious Fun – Robofest 2009
For almost a decade, Lawrence Technological University has sponsored Robofest – an annual autonomous robotics competition focusing on learning STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) for students in grades 5-12.  Teams are challenged to design, build and program robots that dance, play games, perform rescue missions or even make hamburgers! Site hosts, along with coaches and teams from across the U.S. and in several other countries, meet online via Wimba Classroom for an annual kick-off meeting as well as ongoing reviews and workshops.  http://www.robofest.net/

According to Wendy MacLennan, Robofest Coordinator at Lawrence Technological University, “Wimba Classroom has been a very helpful tool to link up the many off-site groups with whom we collaborate.”

4) H1N1 Real-time Updates and Painless Vaccinations
Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, counted on Wimba Classroom last April to connect more than 150 doctors across the province for important timely updates from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang about new developments around H1N1. No other available system offered such a short timeline to reach all doctors in the province.

On October 21, when the Canadian Federal Government approved the H1N1 vaccination, Dr. Strang and colleagues used Wimba again to reach provincial doctors with detailed instructions on how to administer the inoculation. Dr. Strang commented that, “the flexibility of the system to reach practitioners on short notice anywhere over the Internet is remarkable and a method we will use routinely in the future.”

5) Online Music Instruction – More than Tickling the “Ivories”
At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, students wishing to understand the intricacies of the piano are no longer confined to music rooms on-campus. Piano Pedagogy & Literature is taught both face-to-face and live online via Wimba Classroom to acquaint students with current methods, issues and materials in piano teaching and their practical applications. In addition to class lectures, students also attend virtual guest lectures led by accomplished musicians in New York and Boston.

6) Celebrating French Holidays… In North Carolina 
North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) uses Wimba Classroom to deliver live, virtual sessions for its World Languages Culture Cafe.  The Culture Cafe is a social and educational setting that brings together current, former and future NCVPS world language students in an online environment in order to immerse them in the culture of online world languages.  From studying Spanish artists such as El Greco and Goya to celebrating French holidays, former students can stay connected to the language they have learned while current students practice the language and future students gain a sneak peak at the school’s robust world language courses.

7) Rolling out the Virtual Welcome Mat – Online Student Orientation
Community college students often face the challenge of balancing work, family or other responsibilities outside of academia. Therefore, introducing efficiencies into their learning goes a long way in improving their student experience.  Bristol Community College in Massachusetts helps its busy students get up-to-speed on various academic technologies by offering eLearning virtual orientations through Wimba Classroom.  Feedback around this program has been extremely positive as both students and teachers appreciate having access to material and support outside the hours of a traditional school day.

8) “Earn While You Learn” – Full-time Employee, Part-time Student
The University of Winchester’s Business School offers a new, innovative program in which UK employees of Logica – an international IT and business services company – virtually participate in a rigorous academic curriculum from their respective locations via Wimba Classroom.  This model not only ensures travel and time efficiencies but greatly increases the number of students able to access advanced training and supports the UK governments assertion that universities must play a key role in economic regeneration and support of businesses during the current economic downturn.

View a webinar on this topic, “Strategies for Employer Engagement - Evaluating the potential of Web 2.0 for enhancing teaching delivery,” here.

9) A Statewide Dialogue on Spending Stimulus Funding
Federal stimulus funding prompted a new dialogue around the nation, as officials sought counsel from local civic, non-profit and corporate leaders on how to maximize available resources and monies. In Georgia, the governor’s office turned to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension to organize a wide-scale webcast in May 2009 during which 11 presenters discussed this topic. More than 700 people dispersed across 144 locations attended the online session, facilitated by Wimba’s platform.

10) Expanding Educational Access, Improving Global Healthcare

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, UK launched a new postgraduate Health Improvement and Health Promotion program in January of 2009 to reach students from the UK, Canada and Nigeria. The international scope of this program enhances learning and collaboration opportunities, thereby expanding access to state-of-the art medical instruction, all while improving global healthcare.  One student even credited her instruction to a promotion from health improvement officer to Hepatitis C trainer. 

“Colleges and universities are making tremendous strides in how they leverage technologies such as Wimba to meet the evolving needs of today’s students and workers,” said Carol Vallone, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Wimba. “We applaud the efforts of not only these ‘Modern Marvel’ mentions but also the thousand of others who are daily utilizing our collaboration technology to advance teaching and learning.”

Wimba Classroom is part of Wimba’s full suite of collaborative tools. The Wimba Collaboration Suite – awarded the 2009 “Best Education Solution” CODiE award by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) – enhances learning, improves outcomes and increases student retention.  By combining interactive technologies such as voice, video, podcasting, instant messaging, application sharing, polling and whiteboarding, learning communities are empowered with a unique collaborative environment that fosters dynamic interaction between students, faculty and staff.

The 2008 list of Wimba Modern Marvels can be viewed here.