Nebraska State Bar Foundation

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News Distance Learning Equipment Donated to Capitol

Distance Learning Equipment Donated to Capitol


Polycom, Dascom Thanked at Press Conference for Distance Learning Equipment Donated to Capitol

On the afternoon of February 25, State officials gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to thank benefactors for distance delivery education equipment donated for the use of the three branches of Nebraska government. Cooperating with the Educational Service Units Coordinating Council, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches will design and deliver interactive educational enrichment activities to K-12 schools throughout the state. The activities will include virtual tours of the Capitol, incorporating its art and history.

Gordon Rothemeyer, Kearney, Director of Distance Education for the Educational Service Units Coordinating Council, thanked Amanda Stewart, representative of Polycom, Inc. of Olathe, Kansas, donor of the video teleconferencing system. Dave Ewing of Dascom Systems Group, Woodbury, Minnesota, donor of additional equipment, was thanked by Rothemeyer via video teleconference.
Mick Loughran, Hastings, Chair of the Educational Service Units Coordinating Council, expressed gratitude for the leadership of the late Sen. Ron Raikes in moving forward LB 1208, which further organizes and promotes distance education in Nebraska. Loughran described the educational possibilities as being “limitless.”

Jim Gordon, Lincoln attorney, was master of ceremonies for the press conference. He represented the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, partner with the Nebraska Supreme Court on selected Law-Related Education (LRE) programs. Gordon acknowledged Bar Foundation Executive Director Doris Huffman and consultant Cindy Lilleoien for their cooperation with Janet Bancroft, Supreme Court Public Information Officer, in developing distance learning educational content in the LRE field.

The groups cooperated to sponsor a Ben Franklin re-enactor in celebration of Constitution Day 2009. John Stritt, Educational Service Unit 10 in Kearney, provided technical assistance for the elementary and secondary levels enrichment activities that involved more than seven schools in the Central Nebraska area.

Gordon recognized the efforts of Roxanne Smith, Tourism Supervisor, who will be hosting school students’ tours of the Capitol. He also acknowledged that Heidi Uhing, Public Information Officer, will design educational content for the Legislature.

Gordon also thanked members of the Nebraska Educational Television staff, Mark Weakly, Rusty Warner, and Kent Baker, for all of their efforts to test the network connections in the Capitol to make sure the new teleconferencing equipment was working properly. He thanked Tom Rolfes, Office of the Chief Information Officer of Nebraska for his and his co-workers outstanding efforts to support the distance learning endeavors of the three branches of government from the Capitol location.

Justice John F. Wright, Nebraska Supreme Court, traveled with “Ben Franklin” during his Constitution Day visit to Nebraska last September. He shared his insight into the success of the program, noting the enthusiastic interaction between the students and the Founding Father. Justice Wright also addressed the benefits of being able to take students on virtual field trips without having to travel. He noted that this feature is especially important, as the State is trying to trim costs in as many ways as possible.

Justice Wright concluded the press conference by thanking the Bar Foundation and Gordon for their leadership in promoting distance learning educational opportunities involving all three branches of state government.

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