On December 10th, 2013, the Mora Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), Kanabec Broadband Initiative (KBI) KBI and East Central MN Educational Cable Cooperative (ECMECC) joined together to present an interactive video conference (IVC) event at the Eastwood Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Mora, MN. The LEC is a facility run by the Mora HRA as an event center for the residents of the Eastwood senior living complex as well as for community meetings and events. KBI, through the generous support of the Blandin Foundation, was able to outfit the LEC with modern audio/video equipment including a video conference system and high speed, broadband, Internet access (with support from Midcontinent Communications).
Nearly 60 people assembled at the LEC to view an interactive presentation lead by the National Park Service and broadcast live from the grounds of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Mounument at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The presentation included a short documentary about the attacks of December 7th, 1941, an eyewitness account led by Jimmy Lee who was eleven at the time and living on a farm on the northern part of the harbor (a front row seat to the events of that day) and a question/answer session with Paul Heintz of the park service and Jimmy Lee.
It was an amazing "show" and the audience was glued to the screen. Among the participants in Mora were several veterans including John Kirkhuff of Mora who was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attacks on December 7, 1941. In the video below, John (with help from his daughter Ginny Berg) had just finished providing his own brief account of the events of that day. Take a look and enjoy. Then remember to continually thank our veterans and active forces for their service to our country!
Thank you to the National Park Service, the Blandin Foundation, members of the KBI steering committee, staff at the LEC and ECMECC and all of those who were in attendance for making this a highly successful event that provided a moving experience for many, gratitude to our veterans and generated community interest in the technology that allows for such events to occur. We are already planning the next event which may be a fun (and educational) trip to another warm place later this winter.
I always enjoy seeing kids reactions when they participate in a truly interactive video conference event. I found that with adults it was no different. We can talk 'til we are blue in the face about the difference between interactive learning and passively watching a video but nothing gets the point across better than actually participating in a well planned and delivered lesson. I think 60 people walked out of the LEC that night who can now tell you how much better an interactive experience is.