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11.24.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Colorado conducts live datacast for school

Rocky Mountain PBS conducted a live datacast this month as part of a pilot education project. More than 400 middle school students in the Denver, Colo., area participated.

The datacast was part of a pilot science education project co-produced by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Rocky Mountain PBS. Science students from Cherry Creek West Middle School, Huron Middle School, Thunder Ridge Middle School and Morey Middle School interacted with paleontologist Dr. Kirk Johnson at the U.S. Geological Survey CORE lab in Lakewood while he examined core samples from the Denver Basin Project.

The datacast technology allowed students to receive “near-TV quality video” on their computers, while simultaneously participating in student-scientist discussions with Dr. Johnson via telephone conference.

The live datacast was made possible through the partnership between Rocky Mountain PBS and SpectraRep. Rocky Mountain PBS’s KRMA-DT, the station’s digital television (DTV) channel in Denver, broadcasts the pilot as digital data in a small portion of the KRMA-DT digital signal, while continuing to carry KRMA digital programs to Rocky Mountain PBS viewers.

In order to receive the datacast signal, the schools were equipped with special data receivers and a directional UHF antenna that decodes the data and presents it as pictures and sound in the classroom. SpectraRep, a provider of wireless broadband solutions through DTV spectrum for distance learning, supplied all four schools with the equipment for the datacast and provided technical services for the project.

For more information on the technology, visit: www.spectrarep.com.

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