Colorado students experience paleontology with help from datacasting

Rocky Mountain PBS successfully conducted Colorado’s first live datacast in mid-November with more than 400 middle school students in the Denver area experiencing new digital technology and stimulating local science research.

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 four area middle schools interacted with paleontologist Kirk Johnson at the U.S. Geological Survey CORE lab in Lakewood, Colo., 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 Johnson via telephone conference.

The live datacast was made possible through the partnership between Rocky Mountain PBS and SpectraRep. The datacast technology delivered media-rich educational content to students. Rocky Mountain PBS’s KRMA-DT, the station’s DTV channel in Denver, broadcasted 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.

To receive the datacast signal, the schools were equipped with special data receivers and a directional UHF antenna that decoded the data and presented it as pictures and sound in the classroom.

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