Education Program’s videoconferencing earns award


The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s videoconferencing initiative was recently selected for a Teacher’s Favorite Award for best content as voted by educators from across the world. The annual award selection is hosted by Berrien Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Surveys for this year’s awards were received from individuals in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is honored to receive this recognition” stated Joe Horrigan, vice-president communications/exhibits for the museum. “Part of our mission is to educate the public about the history of this great game. Our advancements in videoconferencing has allowed us to teach tens of thousands of students who otherwise may never be able to visit our museum in Canton, Ohio.”

The Hall of Fame made nearly 400 connections to 14,000 students from 33 different states during the 2010-11 school year. Like all the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s educational programs, these programs are aligned with national standards of education. The Hall of Fame has an Educational Advisory Panel that helps develop all its supplemental resources. This panel consists of K-12 educators most of whom are National Board Certified.

The Hall of Fame has also worked with a number of NFL teams through its videoconferencing technology. Jerry Csaki, the Hall of Fame’s educational programs coordinator explained, “We’ve been able to broadcast programs to schools in NFL team markets with the help of the club’s community relations departments. This has given teams a unique way to connect their staff, alumni and players with students through our programs.”

A recent addition to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Educational Outreach Program is the Heart of a Hall of Famer series. This program provides students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it took beyond athletic ability for legendary Hall of Fame players to achieve success on and off the football field. The program focuses especially on positive character qualities. The live interaction with students and Hall of Famer’s is provided through videoconferencing. 

“The wonderful opportunity with video is we don’t have to fly a Hall of Famer into Canton to do an educational program. We can find a school or organization near a Hall of Famer’s hometown that is willing to host him. We can then connect the Hall of Famer to our studio in Canton and ultimately to schools across the country” stated Csaki. 

The Heart of a Hall of Famer series has featured an impressive lineup of speakers connecting from locations across the country. The series has featured: Lem Barney (Southfield, MI), Willie Brown (Alameda, Calif.), Mike Haynes (San Diego), Ken Houston (Houston), Willie Lanier (Richmond, Va.), Steve Floyd Little (Seattle), James Lofton (San Diego), Randall McDaniel (Minneapolis), Art Monk (Reston, Va.), Andre Tippett (Boston) and Rod Woodson (Alameda, Calif.). 

In addition, the Hall of Fame has hosted several Hall of Famers –Mel Blount, Joe DeLamielleure, Steve Largent, and Alan Page – in Canton to allow local students to interact live with the football legends. Those sessions were also broadcast nationally through the Hall’s videoconferencing technology.

The Hall of Fame’s videoconferencing programs has been named honorable mention for this award the previous two years. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Educational Outreach Program was also the past recipient of the Pinnacle Award winner through the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) based in Indianapolis, another international award. 

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