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Greenwood eyeing virtual classroom at city greenhouse

Post Date:01/12/2018 1:49 PM

Index Journal

By:  ADAM BENSON

Greenwood city leaders are leaning toward using their topiary greenhouse as a virtual classroom.

On Monday, City Manager Charlie Barrineau floated a proposal that would equip the Phoenix Street facility with a webcam and other technology, allowing Greenwood County School District 50 teachers to sync it with smartboard technology for distance learning opportunities.

Barrineau said with council approval, he’d request $20,000 from the Self Family Foundation to fund the program for a year.

“We are already engaging children with the topiaries by taking them into schools, and we know by talking to different teachers that they’re already using these virtual classroom settings,” Barrineau said. “We’ve already got hard fiber and fast internet at the greenhouse, so this would just tie the two together.”

The council said it was intrigued at the idea, but wanted more information about start-up costs, corporate partnership potential and other details. A vote on the matter isn’t expected until February.

“It’s a great marketing tool. It goes a long way to promote the fact that Greenwood is much more progressive in its school system than they’re given credit for, because one of the biggest drawbacks is people don’t think we have innovative programs in our school system, when we do,” councilwoman Niki Hutto said.

Barrineau said officials plan to roll out the concept slowly, but could eventually partner with schools outside the region or even other states.

“I see this as building our flower brand even more,” he said. “We think this has tremendous value. This virtual school environment gives us another marketing tool for the Festival (of Flowers).”