Communicating face-to-face is more important today than every before. Within the workplace, teams are connected virtually, employees collaborate remotely between international offices, specialists are accessed anytime, anywhere, and today’s ever growing digital world means that schools must equip students with the right tools and skills necessary to be ready for their collaborative and innovative workplace.
By breaking out of the walls of the classroom, students can learn from anywhere, and interact with resources and communities around the world and the click of a button. So how are classrooms of today using Video Conferencing to learn, share and connect with others, whilst ensuring human interaction is not lost?
#1 Video Conferencing in the Classroom to Connect with Experts
Imagine learning in an environment where every class has access to an expert in the field of study. Imagine gaining access to a leading professor at an international university, learning about space by speaking with a real astronaut, meeting a specialist in a specific medicine field, or learning about the Ancient Egyptians through a Q&A session with a world-renowned archeologist?
“Video conferencing allows our students to see things that they would have never experienced any other way. For this county in particular, it is critical to show these students the options, opportunities and potential they all have.”
– Head, Barrow County Schools
Schools and universities have always enhanced learning through guest lecturers and speakers, but this was often a rare occurrence, due to the travel required and cost involved in making this happen. Schools with Video Conferencing are now meeting with a much wider pool of experts in any location, on any subject, on a much more regular basis, and the power of HD Video Communications means that teachers, schools and universities are facilitating incredible learning experiences that is highly engaging and interactive, without a strain on resources.
Above: Connecting with remote experts from around the world on a dual screen Polycom system
#2 Video Conferencing in the Classroom to Collaborate with Communities
Previously, we may have been lucky to have spent a few days or even a week with an exchange student visiting, or perhaps with a family on the continent. With today’s technology, children are able to how monthly culture sharing sessions, meeting new friends and families around the globe and getting to know the culture and communities by sharing with other schools over Video Conferencing.
If you’re not using video conferencing in your library, you’re not reaching your potential or your kids’ potential.”
– S. Bennett, Library Information Specialist
When speaking with schools who utilise Video in the classroom, you will find that this is one of the most valuable reasons to implement the tools and technology to make this happen. Children are able to meet with a Chinese family during Chinese New Year celebrations and see decorations and outfits in the real world rather than just in pictures, hear performances from specific music styles around the world, and hold conversations with native French, German, Urdu and Spanish children, hugely improving language lessons through interactivity.
Above: Children using Vidyo technology on a Mac to connect with remote teachers
It is increasingly more vital for children to grow up having an understanding of the world around them, understand that variety is the spice of life, and that together we all make up one world. By connecting other communities and cultures around the world, Video Conferencing puts a face to the learning and prepares students to be more open and tolerant with everyone, no matter who they are and where they are from.
#3 Video Conferencing in the Classroom for Remote & Rural Students
One in five households in rural areas in the UK lie between the poverty line, and the Education Unions believe that this is hugely fuelled by the lack of access to a broader range of subjects and courses, insufficient resources and retention of staff and an increased need to travel large distances, amongst many other factors, often involving funding.
Remote schools in rural areas across the UK are facing a major challenge in being able to offer the range of curricular and extra-curricular activities needed to equip children with the knowledge and skills for later life, and similarly, the need to travel large distances to access specific courses and activities when they are available means there is a much lower likelihood that students will travel to a course more appropriate for their needs.
“Suddenly we can offer our students a much wider variety of subjects, which will give them a vital advantage before heading off to university. It is a major boost to rural schools who previously could only offer a limited choice of course options.”
– Edward McEvoy, Vocational Education Committee
By utilising Video Conferencing in the Classroom, remote students and colleges can improve access to experts and specialists, and become part of the wider Virtual Learning networks, with students able to access classes from further afield without a need to travel. With the ability to utilise teachers from further afield remotely, schools are able to reduce the need for constant specialist teacher retention, which is found to be a major challenge, both due to incentives/pay and location.
Above: Connecting remote students with science lessons with a rollabout Polycom system
Getting the Right Video Solution for your School
There are many options available for schools and universities when it comes to Video Conferencing. From free video chat services such as Skype, to Video Conferencing solutions and secure recording from Lifesize and Cisco, there are many options for schools to explore to understand how to optimise learning opportunities, meet the needs of their students, and get the best value for money in the long-term.
Have a chat with our Video Education specialists to find out how you can optimise learning for your students.