SOURCE: Polycom, Inc.

Polycom, Inc.

February 25, 2009 08:30 ET

More Than 52,000 Students to Read Around the Planet in Global Video Conferencing Event

Polycom and TWICE, in Cooperation With NEA, Sponsor Interactive Reading Event Feb. 23 - March 6, 2009 Involving More Than 1,750 K-12 Classes From Five Countries

PLEASANTON, CA--(Marketwire - February 25, 2009) - In celebration of the National Education Association's (NEA) 12th annual Read Across America Day, Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communications solutions, along with Two-Way Interactive Connections in Education (TWICE), are sponsoring Read Around the Planet 2009, an international video conferencing event involving more than 1,750 classrooms and 52,000 students from five countries. Designed to promote reading and the opportunities for classroom collaborations in education, the Read Around the Planet program will run between Feb. 23 and March 6, 2009 and is timed in conjunction with NEA's Read Across America Day on March 2 -- the birthday of children's author Dr. Seuss -- and World Book Day on March 5.

Each class registers for the program and is matched with a class in another state or country based on student age and curriculum interests. The two classes connect by video conferencing and each call is unique with content and activities determined by the teachers.

"Our involvement with the Read Around the Planet program began six years ago and since we have had many exciting connections with schools in other states, as well as other countries including Wales and Alberta, Canada," said Linda McConville, a fourth grade teacher with E. P. Clarke Elementary School in St. Joseph, Michigan. "The students love the interaction and think it is a 'cool' way to learn. During our collaborations, each class shares special things about their community, then we participate in an activity where we read and act out stories or silly poetry, and then students get a chance to ask each other questions and learn what they have in common. It's a great activity to enhance our curriculum and we look forward to more participation in years ahead."

"Since launching the Read Around the Planet program eight years ago in conjunction with NEA's 'Read Across America,' the project has grown from less than 200 U.S. classes to nearly 1,800 classes from five countries," said Michael Maison, president of TWICE. "TWICE embraces this project as it continues to grow every year and Polycom's investment in the CAPspace program has been instrumental in our ability to scale the program. Seeing students unite, share, collaborate and learn from each other is a wonderful experience for everyone involved."

"Reading is key to academic success. It starts with something as simple as the ABCs," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "NEA's Read Across America brings students and adults together to share the company of good books and experience the exciting places that reading can take us."

Schools get involved in Read Around the Planet through a unique professional networking tool for educators called CAPspace (or Collaborations Around the Planet). Sponsored by Polycom and administered by TWICE, Michigan's K-12 video conference organization, CAPspace is a free tool that allows teachers to easily find colleagues with similar curriculum needs who also have access to video conferencing equipment. Connecting through CAPspace, teachers can register for events like Read Around the Planet or arrange to collaborate with other classes in the U.S. or other countries anytime to enhance the learning experience and expand cultural awareness. Today more than 2,500 teachers from 15 countries participate in CAPspace, and Polycom and TWICE note that use is growing at a steady rate.

"CAPspace is a wonderful tool for teachers interested in enhancing the classroom experience through distance learning," said Elaine Shuck, global market director of primary and secondary schools for Polycom. "It makes it simple for teachers to find colleagues with common curriculum interests, share ideas and then collaborate. Use of video conferencing within schools is expanding from popular virtual field trips with great content providers like NASA and museums to include more direct collaboration between classrooms. Programs like Read Around the Planet are a wonderful way to engage students and expand the possibilities for classroom education."

For more information about Read Around the Planet and to see photos from previous events, visit http://www.twice.cc/read/

About NEA Read Across America

The National Education Association's Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss's birthday, expects more than 45 million readers, both young and old, to pick up a book and read. To honor the good doctor and celebrate the fun and value of reading, NEA and many of America's leading literacy, youth, and civic groups are bringing a nation of readers together to show America's children the joy of reading -- on March 2 and every day. For more information on NEA's Read Across America, visit www.nea.org/readacross and learn of other reading celebrations that are happening from coast to coast. NEA is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, college faculty, school administrators, education support professionals, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

About TWICE

Two Way Interactive Connections in Education (TWICE) is Michigan's organization for videoconferencing in K-12 education. TWICE promotes and supports collaborative connections for the benefit of all students. To learn about TWICE, print the TWICE brochure.

About Polycom

Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Please visit www.polycom.com or www.polycom.com/education for more information.

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