Inviting Virtual Guests to the Classroom
Technological development has drastically improved the lifestyles for many people in the world. The development of radio, TV, air travel and automobiles has revolutionized how people go about their day to day lives. Although all those technologies have had a profound impact on the world, the most recent and arguably most influential technological development that has changed the way the world works is the Internet.
The Internet has brought about an unprecedented age of globalization and global community by allowing instant communication across vast distances. That communication can come in the form of email, text-based chat rooms, massively multiplayer online role-playing games, group chat programs and video conferencing. Out of all those technologies, video conferencing is arguably the most immersive as it not only provides a way to physically talk to another person, but there is a constant streaming video along with the audio of the person on the other end, giving a sense of nearness and face-to-face interaction even if there are thousands of miles between the two parties.
Video conferencing and other modern technologies aren’t just useful for increasing the effectiveness of business and international trade; they can be utilized to great effect in the classroom to improve education, from elementary school through college. Video conferencing is a very versatile tool, capable of not only bringing two or more people face to face to talk, but also allowing graphics, maps and videos to be uploaded and shared.
Bring the Experts to the Classroom
Out of all the potential uses for video conferencing, education is arguably one of the best. Sure, using video conferencing for business is highly effective and efficient, but using it for education can help expand the capabilities of the classroom far beyond what has been known in the past. Before video conferencing, if a school or teacher wanted a guest speaker or expert in some field to come talk to a class, there would be an entire process to get them into the classroom, including spending who knows how much money on travel expenses. With Blue Jeans video conferencing solution for education, any classroom in the world can have a guest speaker for a class period or two from anywhere else in the world. For example, in 2012, sixth grade Taunton Catholic Middle School students, in Taunton, Mass., who were in math and science classes were able to speak with expert Ray Yurkewycz from the Mount St. Helens Institute more than 3,000 miles away, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.
Virtual Field Trips and Live Events
Field trips are some of the most anticipated events in a student’s mind; it doesn’t really matter where the destination is, as long as the students get to go elsewhere and away from regular classes. But field trips are not cheap events for a school’s administration to put together. The preparation required to organize a field trip includes figuring out how everyone will eat, what transportation will be used, making sure all parents and guardians give their permission for their kids to travel away from the school campus, and so on, according to Mashable. Then there’s the issue of keeping all the kids in line and out of trouble while the trip is touring a museum or other educational venue. With video conferencing, a entire class can go on a virtual field trip without ever actually needing to leave the classroom. Students can go to places people would normally never think of planning a field trip to. For instance, Pennsylvania’s Mr. Lebanon School District offered their middle school students the opportunity to observe the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat while discussing the events with an expert on site, according to Digital Journal. Video conferencing can allow students to witness current events live with coverage by experts in the field in almost any subject. Archaeology, geology, biology, anthropology and many others can all be taught with help from experts and remote events through video conferencing.
Connecting to Other Classrooms
Another huge benefit to education from video conferencing is the ability to connect classrooms from around the world. Indiana University uses video conferencing tools to provide a virtual classroom platform for students from around the world to access more than 175 live courses, according to AV Network. And Anderson High School in Scotland uses video conferencing to connect their senior students with other schools in Germany, Japan and South Africa in an advanced learning program that covers a wide range of subjects, including German language, mathematics, history and modern studies. Video conferencing is an excellent tool that every school should consider adopting for multiple reasons. There are practically no downsides to utilizing video conferencing to help connect students from around the world and to involve them more heavily in their own learning instead of sticking to just boring lectures and dry textbooks. Providing students with a method to see how the knowledge they are gaining can be used for practical purposes is a phenomenal way to increase the students’ drive and desire to learn.
Have any more ideas for using Video Conferencing in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @mscareergirl!