VUC Storstrøm Global Football Classroom

'Global Football Classroom' delivers flexible education to future champions through Polycom Video Solutions

Imagine you are a talented 18 year old football player with big dreams of becoming an international star, playing for the best teams in the world, representing your countries' national team. Many young men have that dream, only a few elite players are selected and have a chance to be trained and to focus all their energy in football. In Denmark, the selected talents will leave their families and school to join the Danish Football Association to train and develop their skills. The focus there is 100% football, and every effort is made so their dreams are realised. The aim is to make each of them a super star, or at least enable them to make a living from their passion.

For these young players getting their high school diploma becomes secondary, and while it is mandatory and supervised by the Players Union, it is often difficult and challenging for the young players to study and obtain their diploma. VUC Storstrøm experts in distance learning, and whose mission is to strengthen the active participation of youths and adults in society, took a look at the education program for the players, and created a unique and innovative platform for the Danish Football Association. They called it Global Football Classroom.

The Global Football Classroom brings players together in a virtual classroom. Whether they play in Denmark or abroad, VUC provides them the ability to follow their curriculum from their desktop with Polycom RealPresence desktop anytime. Several classes are offered by video. The classes are scheduled at hours when the player is not on the field, and can join by video. The classes are also recorded and stored on the Polycom Video Content Management which makes it easy to watch a class they could not attend. The player is then able to request a face-to-face video meeting with the teacher if he needs additional information or has questions.

The student is also able to meet other players in the same situation. The fact classes are done by video and are not static, means the player has an easier time following a lesson. He also gets a feeling of belonging to a group, and becomes a willing participant.

"It is often difficult for these young players to prioritise education when they are following their dreams. We need to make class easily accessible and flexible so they can their diploma," says Kristian Madsen, Head of Project Development at VUC. He adds, "We make it possible for their football training and their academic education to go hand in hand. It gives these young people the best opportunities for the future."

"It's crucial for young talented players to finish high school at a young age, as they otherwise risk falling so far behind in the educational system that the road ahead - when eventually starting to prepare for life after their football career - can seem immense. Luckily, today, there are now online options like the one at VUC Storstrøm, to provide the best flexible conditions for them to finish high school while still having their sport as first priority, says Rasmus Haagensen, Director at 4player (the second career programme at the Danish players union). He continues, "Besides getting a flexible online setup, they'll also be in a class of equals, with the same ambitions and interests, so that they’ll experience a greater attachment and not feeling as the "odd one out". They're in this together."

The strength of the program is the ability for the students to interact with other students and with their teachers. During a videoconference class, the student feels like
he is in the same room, and he is much more motivated than when he alone has to read a course and learn alone.

This program is just in its infancy, and each student is thus far able to follow 2 subjects at a time per semester. But the vision is large, and based on the original success, it will
expand. VUC Storstrøm expects this program to be soon deployed to other sports, and other countries. Madsen confirms, "When everything is in place, and the teachers
are trained properly, the benefits are great for everyone. We want all participants to achieve athletic and academic success!"

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