How Video Conferencing Can Improve Education
Posted by TeachThought Staff
Over the decades, rapid advances in technology have been an incredible boon within multiple industries and disciplines. With most of our days lived through our mobile devices and many work, medical, educational, and social functions carried out via the internet, it only makes sense that these technologies would continue to evolve to meet the ever growing demands for newer, better, and faster ways of connecting to others and sharing our ideas.
When it comes to the realm of teaching and learning, technology is of course of the utmost importance when it comes to connecting classes around the world and helping them expand their knowledge. With unified communications, live video conferencing, and software like Blue Jeans offering online screen sharing, almost anything seems possible in today’s classrooms.
Here’s a look at some of the main benefits and possibilities of online communication tools in educational institutions.
Better Student-Teacher Access
Teachers and students alike can better communicate with one another via interactive digital options. Teachers can hold extended office hours, and pupils can easily hold study groups or get together to work on group projects without leaving their homes or dorm rooms to meet. If someone needs one on one help with extra tutoring or with understanding certain concepts, teachers can be available via video conference. Plus, unified communications in tandem with video conferencing means that you can easily share and edit files in real time, which cuts down on the confusion of long email threads and multiple revisions of documents and files.
Help for Ill or Disabled Students
If someone falls seriously ill or has a disability, sometimes making it to school can be exceedingly difficult. If there are extracurricular activities or other seminars, conferences, or outside talks in your course syllabus, setting up up a video conference link can allow them to attend and get the same benefits as any other person. Falling prey to mono (that common college affliction) or suffering because of a lack of accessibility for a person in a wheelchair is no longer an obstacle when it comes to unified communication systems.
Access for Rural Students
In the same vein, those who live in more rural areas or who don’t have access to a variety of facilities may find it difficult to travel to different courses or get extra help from teachers. Much like how you or someone you know may work from home, those who are at a locational disadvantage from major institutions or who have financial limitations can still reap some of the same benefits by attending from the comfort of their own home. After all, online colleges are already a trend—technology is just making them even better.
Study Abroad While In the Classroom
Of course, physically studying abroad is an experience that everybody should try to experience, if possible. But for many, it’s a financial impossibility. Live video chatting allows you to connect with another group across the globe, to learn together about a single specific topic, or to learn about one another’s cultures. One group of learners across the world might offer a virtual tour of cultural landmarks or allow your group to be in the thick of current events as they happen.
Additionally, they might have a more extensive experience working with your pupils, and vice versa, in a sort of “virtual foreign exchange student” scenario. This allows a new ease of learning when it comes to foreign languages. Information Age notes that cloud technologies and unified communications can let people work together on the same project, simultaneously, in real time. As mentioned above, not only can unified communications and cloud technology allow you to work on the same project simultaneously, but it doesn’t matter where you or your collaborators are. No matter where you’re located in the world, you can easily connect to one another at any time with web chats.
Virtual Field Trips
The Journal points out one of the most amazing aspects of online multimedia platforms within colleges: by using live video, they can enjoy a virtual field trip to famous cultural institutions across the globe, or even just visit a museum or laboratory across the country. This is by far one of the more exciting aspects of video conferences for educational purposes: the ability to do something in an instant that might not be possible any other way. Teachers can also arrange talks and presentations with authors, researchers, zookeepers… the possibilities are endless, and span all disciplines. Learners can get a whole new view of the world and of learning with a virtual field trip to complement the course of study.
Prospects in the field of education are quite impressive when it comes to virtual technologies. As time passes and more developments are made, who knows what sort of discoveries will be made in the realm of technology.