Reach the World Brings the Most Remote Areas of the World into the Classroom Using Zoom
Reach the World uses Zoom to bring the world to classrooms across the country.
Reach the World
Headquarters: New York City
Industry: Nonprofit, education
Challenges: Connecting with travelers in remote locations, providing a secure meeting environment for students Solutions: Zoom Meetings
Business benefits: Improved reliability, secure meetings, better meeting management
“We hosted a conversation with a polar bear expert in northern Canada who was using his satellite phone to broadcast directly into the classroom, which was incredible,” “We want to move to a place where our travelers can use mobile devices for their presentations, so we can have someone live from a market in India, or from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s really exciting.”
Brianna RoweDirector of Business Development
The nonprofit organization Reach the World connects underserved K-12 classrooms with its network of travelers and explorers across the globe using the power of video conferencing, providing unique learning experiences to students. RTW’s virtual exchange experiences expand students’ understanding of the world and give context to the information they have learned as part of their inschool education.
Through Reach the World, globetrotting travelers and explorers can connect with classrooms in one-on-one virtual exchanges, providing in-depth, focused experiences that open students’ eyes to the wonder and knowledge of other countries and cultures. By providing students this unique opportunity to engage with various travelers, RTW extends educational opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting and promotes global awareness.
Providing a secure, reliable education experience over video
Reach the World has used video conferencing from its inception to connect travelers directly to U.S.-based classrooms and create a more personalized learning experience for youth. However, its legacy video solution made it difficult to provide a secure, seamless learning experience.
“We were using Google Hangouts, which was pretty good, but we still had issues,” said Brianna Rowe, Reach the World’s Director of Business Development. “One of the biggest issues was that you needed a Google account to use it, and not all of our travelers or teachers had one. We also had no way to track or monitor who was coming into the meetings, or mute the participants, which is really important when you’re working with kids.”
The organization also frequently connects with travelers in remote areas that have little to no connectivity. For example, in 2018, Reach the World began working with an expedition heading to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica, one of the most remote areas in the world, which presented a unique challenge for the organization.
“We had an opportunity to work with the Weddell Sea Expedition, which was exploring the Weddell Sea to document wildlife, make scientific discoveries, and search for the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship,” Rowe said. “The expedition team told us it was impossible to communicate by video conference due to the remoteness of their location. So we needed to find a solution that could perform in those conditions.”
Brianna RoweDirector of Business Development Reach the World
Evaluating solutions on performance and security
Determined to capture the unique learning opportunities available through the Weddell Sea Expedition, Reach the World tested different video solutions, using the expedition’s extremely limited satellite internet connection.
“We needed to test different solutions, so we isolated the internet signal that the ship had for only an hour every week and tested every platform we could think of,” Rowe said. “We tested Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, and a few others, but Zoom had the best performance by far.”
Using Zoom, Reach the World broadcasted live weekly updates from the Weddell Sea Expedition, giving students the chance to learn about science, engineering, math, and biology in a real-world setting from experts in the field.
Reach the World has also found that Zoom’s security capabilities helped to provide a better learning experience for the participating students.
“The fact that Zoom has meeting registration has been huge for us because it lets us know who is joining our meeting and allows us to follow up with them later if needed,” Rowe said. “The Waiting Room feature is also great because when we are about to go live, we like to know that the participants are there and we like to introduce them as well. The ability to mute participants when needed has also been really important.”
Designing educational experiences of tomorrow
Reach the World can leverage the Zoom platform to provide students with formative, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience the world outside their home country or region. These experiences have a tangible impact on underserved schoolchildren, Rowe said, and can inspire them to travel abroad, learn more about the broader world, and explore new areas of education.
As Reach the World continues to bring the world to classrooms across the country, Rowe is excited to expand the organization’s use of Zoom to create even more unique learning experiences.