Today’s digital age of information has brought about a whole slew of highly effective tools to assist in business and education. One of those tools is video conferencing; the ability to figuratively talk face-to-face through the Internet. Video conferencing is a revolutionary means of communication that far outstretches the capabilities of text based emails, chat rooms, and voice only telephone calls.
Video conferencing has allowed people thousands of miles apart to communicate as though they were sitting across a table from one another. This technology has plenty of uses throughout all aspects of life, from private communication between friends and family to business meetings to educational programs. In the business world, video conferencing makes it easy to conduct a meeting even when all the parties involved are in different locations around the globe.
While in education, video conferencing can be used from elementary to university levels to enrich students’ experiences in the classroom. Video conferencing can also be used to great effect in assisting in the administrative procedures of a school, allowing various school executives to meet with internal staff and faculty or with outside partners and businesses.
Access to Experts, Field Trips, and More
Prior to the advent of video conferencing, when a teacher wanted to have an expert in a certain field come talk to a class, it required a whole series of checks and permissions and other bureaucratic fluff that made the whole effort into a giant process. With video conferencing, a scientist or business executive can easily talk to multiple classrooms without ever having to leave their workplace.
This sort of direct access to experts is hugely beneficial to students; according to Digital Journal: “Studies show that when students see the connection between what they are learning and its real-world use, their motivation soars, and so does their learning.” This ability to bring a guest speaker directly into the classroom through use of video conferencing is a truly fantastic way to increase the interest and drive of students.
No longer will students just see dry facts and information in a textbook, they can now directly interact with people who actively use what is in their textbooks in real-world circumstances and see how that knowledge can be used in practical ways.
Talking with experts is not the only benefit video conferencing can provide educational facilities; field trips have always been a big attraction for students, but they also require a large amount of effort on the part of the school. The trip has to be planned out well in advance, the school needs to figure out a way to pay for it all, and figure out how to transport however many students are going to their destination. They also have to inform parents/guardians and get permission from the museum or whatever the destination is. Video conferencing can solve just about every problem and potential headache involved with setting up a field trip.
According to Mashable, Pennsylvania’s Mt. Lebanon School District used video conferencing to allow their middle school students to view a volcano on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. Titling the whole event as E-Mission: Operation Montserrat, the school district had a “mission commander” on location on the island who interacted with the students through a live video feed and would show them clips of evacuation procedures and clouds of ash while feeding the students information and reports about seismic activity and lava flows for them to analyze and process. This sort of learning is revolutionary, as it allows the students to actively take part in events around the world from the comfort of their classrooms. Bringing the lessons to life through video conferencing can increase the interest and drive of students far beyond any regular form of lesson could.
According to Learn Dash, popular answers to a survey presented to students revealed that many liked video conferencing because it helped them feel more connected, provided better access to resources and information, and allowed them to attend lessons when they might not have been able to otherwise.
Practical Applications and Collaboration
Services such as that provided by Blue Jeans video conferencing have allowed an unprecedented level of collaboration within educational facilities and amongst different schools across the globe. Indiana University has implemented a video conferencing based platform that allows students and faculty access to more than 175 live courses through a virtual classroom environment. This new learning platform has allowed students from all over the world to access courses and interact with instructors no matter where they are.
According to Digital Journal, Anderson High School in Scotland has been using video conferencing to allow their senior students to study with schools from Japan, Germany, and South Africa depending on the course. Thanks to tools like Blue Jeans video conferencing, schools can collaborate over any distance with each other or with outside businesses. Think of a senior class of students in a business college using video conferencing to discuss internships or business opportunities with potential employers. Not only could such an event help get those students more practical experience before graduating, it can give the business executives a chance to inspect a new crop of potential employees they can pick from.