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Fifth Grade Activist Raises Money & Awareness Among U.S. Students for Disadvantaged African Students Through Polycom Video Conference on Nov. 20
Nov 13, 2007 (08:11 AM EST)


PLEASANTON, Calif., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Polycom, Inc. , the world's leading provider of unified collaborative communications solutions, today announced Project Africa, a four-week project that includes an interactive video conferencing session between U.S. students and fifth-grade activist and author Stefan Lyon who has made it his mission to serve as an ambassador for improving the lives of African students. Project Africa encourages students to collaborate with Lyon through several curriculum-focused fundraising events with resulting monies to be used to help build a schoolhouse in Western Kenya, Africa. The Polycom video conferencing-based program meets mandatory curriculum required by the No Child Left Behind Act as it includes language arts and social studies components.

Stefan Lyon and students throughout the U.S. will connect live and interactively via Polycom video conferencing on Nov. 20 at noon EST to discuss Stefan's book, "My Adventures with Stitch", hear how the young author is raising money and awareness to improve the current educational environment in Africa, and learn about fundraising projects created and implemented by other students. Students from New York, Texas, South Dakota and California will join the multipoint conference and interact live with each other and Lyon. Participating Arizona students, as well as other schools without current video conferencing capabilities, will access the live conference streamed through the Polycom Readi Streaming Server (RSS(TM)) 2000, a network server that enables the content to be easily recorded, archived, and streamed for later distribution. All participating schools will communicate each week during the program to generate additional ideas to raise funds for Lyon's project and apply their resources to meet a global concern.

Stefan, a San Francisco resident, began Project Africa in 2005 at the age of nine years old. With funding raised from the proceeds of his first book, Lyon has already converted one former cow shed into a school in Kakamega, Western Kenya, Africa, to serve 100 students. One hundred percent of all book sales go toward Project Africa. Currently, Lyon is hoping to raise $40,000 additional dollars with the help of programs, schools and corporations such as Polycom to fund the construction of another new school, which is planned for Bungoma, Western Kenya to serve grades 1 through 8. Besides supporting students in Africa, Lyon has also created programs to support the homeless in San Francisco and orphaned children from 9/11.

"It's really cool to use video conferencing to talk with other kids about my project," said Stefan. "It'll be fun to share our ideas about helping kids in Africa, especially since I can see them so clearly from their schools."

"Stefan has tremendously influenced others to invoke change in society and we expect the results to be even more astonishing now that he is leveraging such an interactive medium as video conferencing to reach out and inspire new students," said Russ Colbert, executive director of global education for Polycom. "This program is just one of many important initiatives supported by Polycom and demonstrates how educators are building the 21st century classroom through technology and collaboration. Polycom is committed to continuing its mission of delivering the latest technologies to help improve opportunities in education and bringing global collaboration into the classroom. We support Stefan and this project whole-heartedly and encourage other schools and organizations to take part."

This interactive project is designed to encourage students to partake in curriculum-focused activities in language arts and social studies that meet the requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Act. For language arts requirements, students will read the book "My Adventures with Stitch" and pose questions about the book to Stefan. He will begin the program with a short story writing project with the students. The assignment will help to demonstrate growth in interpretation, appreciation and understanding through reading and applying knowledge of language structures to the participating students. To complete the social studies requirement of the project, students will research Kakamega and Bungoman, Kenya, to learn about the climate, agriculture, population, and industries, etc. These tasks help build students' abilities to interpret maps, locate and distinguish landforms and identify key factors in sustaining communities. In addition to providing the technology to make this possible, Polycom also donated $5,000 to Stefan and Project Africa.

"Along with providing the most effective technology in the industry, our goal is to deliver the tools and resources to contribute to blended learning environments and introduce educators and their students to impactful programs and opportunities across the globe," concluded Colbert.

To learn more about Polycom and other education-related programs and content, please go to: http://www.polycomondemand.com/podcasts/index.php/category/education/

About Polycom

Polycom, Inc. is the worldwide leader in unified collaborative communications (UCC) that maximize the efficiency and productivity of people and organizations by integrating the broadest array of high definition video, wired and wireless voice, and content solutions to deliver the ultimate collaborative experience. Polycom's high quality, standards-based conferencing and collaboration solutions are easy to deploy and manage, as well as intuitive to use. Supported by an open architecture, they integrate seamlessly with leading telephony, workplace wireless telephony, and presence- based networks. With its market-driving technologies, best-in-class products, alliance partnerships, and world-class service, Polycom is the smart choice for organizations seeking proven solutions and a competitive advantage from on-demand communications and collaboration. For additional information, call 800-POLYCOM or visit the Polycom web site at http://www.polycom.com .

Polycom and the Polycom logo are registered trademarks of Polycom in the U.S. and various countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. (C)2007, Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved.

CONTACT: Nicole Hegg of VisiTech PR, +1-303-752-3552 ext. 230, Nicole@VisiTechPR.com

Web site: http://www.polycom.com//