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UPenn's MAGPI hosts long-distance learning platforms for First Annual Content Provider Carnival

University of Pennsylvania's educational and research internet 2 network MAGPI wants to take Philly's teachers on a trip around the world. From Mexican dance teams to Canadian biology experts to shark researchers in Florida, its hard to believe all these educational programs will fit under one tent. Luckily for attendees of MAGPI's first Content Provider Carnival on Wednesday, these exhibits are all online, streaming and coming live to teachers, students and researchers looking to bring long-distance learning to Philadelphia's classrooms.

"This carnival comes at a unique junction where school budgets are constrained and a lot of the things that are being cut for students are those extracurricular activities or those field trip opportunities and a virtual field trip is a cost-effective way of providing those experiences to students," says MAGPI Manager of Educational Services Heather Weisse Walsh. "Now I am by no means suggesting that it takes the place of a student actually visiting a museum but if that is not a possibility, especially if you have a rural school district that can't get to a metropolitan area very quickly, it's a wonderful alternative."

By bringing 22 webstreams online at the same time, the Content Provider Carnival allows virtual field trip organizers the chance to present to teachers who may not otherwise have time to seek out these educational portals. Besides showcasing unique experiences like swimming with sharks or working as a lumberjack, students will be able to ask questions to presenters and engage with these experiences in real time, bringing them a worldly perspective to students no matter where they live.

"We are going to actually simulcast not just the field trip but a class engaging with it," says Weisse Walsh. "That is so important because teachers have so many different competing priorities right now that doing something new can be scary. This is a way for them to see it in action."

Source: Heather Weisse Walsh, MAGPI
Writer: John Steele
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