Lord David Puttnam Partners with BT Ireland

8th June, 2012

Lord David Puttnam Partners with BT Ireland to Deliver Education to Students Around the Globe

Lord David Puttnam, the Oscar-winning film producer and champion of innovative education, today announced a new venture in online education which will see him deliver modules to university students outside Ireland from his home in Skibbereen using technology that has been enabled and powered by BT Ireland and Cisco.

This innovative education model will be facilitated using a Cisco TelePresence high definition video conferencing solution with high speed internet access provided by BT Ireland's next generation national fibre and Ethernet network. This allows for high definition video communication between Lord Puttnam's base in West Cork, and universities across the globe. Users will also be able to view video clips and interact with Lord Puttnam via Whiteboard technology provided by Promethean.

The state-of-the-art connectivity allows for high speed uncontended internet access using BT fibre and BT managed radio network. This effectively extends the BT network into rural areas such as Skibbereen.

The model will be rolled out in late August and Lord Puttnam is already in advanced discussions with universities in Australia, Asia, the UK and US to deliver film, moving images and production modules to students.

Topics covered will include the development of creativity, the impact of technological change in a digital age, globalisation and film, and the specific role of the creative producer.

Lord Puttnam will also be exploring the potential for live streaming of interactive workshops into cinemas and other public venues in different territories around the world.

Independent research will be carried out to measure the success of the venture over the next three years.

Speaking at the launch, Lord Puttnam said,

Using the TelePresence system to deliver first-class education to students as far away as Australia reinforces my belief that education when coupled with advanced technology knows no boundaries.
It is wonderful that quality broadband is now so advanced that I can confidently rely on it to connect me from a remote area such as Skibbereen to the most distant corners of the world.

Colm O'Neill, CEO, BT Ireland said:

BT Ireland is delighted to provide the connectivity and technology for a venture that could transform the education landscape. Our organisation of key education initiatives such as BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp, coupled with our investments in a high quality communications network infrastructure throughout Ireland demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative ways to enhance learning through technology.

Lord David Puttnam spent 30 years as an independent film producer. His many award-winning films include The Mission, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Local Hero, Bugsy Malone, and The Memphis Belle. He now focuses on his work in education and the environment and serves as chair for a variety of public bodies and is Chancellor of the Open University.

Lord Puttnam was the first chancellor of the University of Sunderland from 1997 until 13 July 2007. In 1998 he founded the UK's National Teaching Awards and became its first chairman. He was the founding chairman of the UK's General Teaching Council 2000-2002. He was appointed as chancellor of the Open University in 2006, the same year as he was appointed Deputy Chairman of Channel 4. He was also the Chairman of NESTA (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) from 1998 until 2003. He is chairman of Futurelab and serves on the board of directors of learning technologies company Promethean. In 2009 in partnership with Sir Michael Barber, Lord Puttnam released We Are the People, an education documentary featuring high-profile figures discussing their own experiences of education.

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