As any teacher knows, the best way to capture students’ attention is through interactive teaching. And the more interactive a lesson, the better it is for everyone. Technology holds the key to a truly interactive teaching/learning experience and allows teachers to create a more engaged, collaborative environment in the process.
One example of such technology actively being used in education today is video conferencing equipment, which is changing our classrooms forever.
Key features of video conferencing
Video conferencing allows people in separate locations to connect in real time, providing live images and audio between two or more sites. It has long been a feature in corporate meetings and TV news reports, but it is now making its presence known in classrooms too.
Video conferencing and live streaming are increasingly being embraced by educational establishments in their efforts to evolve with and adopt emerging technology.
Classroom video conferencing in action
Video conferencing can bring a whole new dimension to the classroom. It allows teachers to connect with other classes, introduce guest lecturers from around the world, and bring live events to the students (rather than take the students to those events).
It can take students on virtual tours to an ancient Roman villa or around the Houses of Parliament; it can bring experts such as well-known authors, surgeons or astronauts into the classroom via video link-up; and it allows students to practice their language skills with native speakers from around the world. It can also be used to teach the teachers, by giving them a student’s eye view of the classroom.
These are just some of the ways students can benefit from video conferencing in the classroom, but in some situations it can provide a learning lifeline. For example, in more remote areas virtual classrooms can be created to give students access to the classes they need. In essence, video conferencing brings the whole world right into the classroom.
Benefits of video conferencing
The benefits of video conferencing in the classroom ultimately depends on how effectively a teacher uses this technology. However, if used well, its benefits are abundant. Here’s just a few:
- Cost-effective: Video conferencing saves educational institutions both time and money. It means students can get the benefits of multiple field trips without having to spend anything or go anywhere.
- Creates a global village: Video conferencing in the classroom draws people together from all walks of life and from all countries. It takes classroom study to places far beyond the confines of its four walls.
- Makes dreams a reality: With video conferencing there seems no end to its possibilities. For many of us, the dream of trekking through a rainforest or exploring outer space will always be just that – a dream. However, with video conferencing these experiences can be brought straight into the classroom through virtual tours and experiences.
- Enrichment: Video conferencing takes the concept of enrichment to new levels. The experiences it brings to lessons enhances the standard curriculum, giving students a more complete understanding of the world around them.