Videoconferencing can play a powerful role in the school, beyond the boardroom. Students now come from a generation where they expect the technology they grew up with — Facetime, Facebook Video, Youtube – to be available all the time. And they expect post-secondary education systems to have those tools in place.
The reality is, it’s not just the school boards, universities and colleges that should have advanced technology solutions – as graduates move into the workforce, those same applications will be available for them to use. If schools don’t provide the technology, students will seek it out and provide their own solution.
In order to equip the next generation, how will your organization even out the playing field; being part of a solution set in the learning environment? As educators and students get ready to go back to class, Michael Levesque of Resolve Collaboration Services, an ORION Nebula partner, shares some innovative ways to utilize videoconferencing in the 21st century classroom.
Virtually Host a Special Guest or Event
Extend the classroom beyond its four walls and go on a virtual field trip to an educational centre. The Royal Botanical Garden regularly customizes its verdant trails and lands to school curriculum, inviting K-12 classes to experience nature by way of videoconferencing. Similar virtual trips have been done at a dinosaur museum, the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Calgary, allowing students a first glimpse at amazing, educational content.
Or, consider hosting a special, rare guest. Imagine if your humanities faculty could host a videoconference interview with Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen who was detained as a teenager at Guantanamo Bay, and released as the only juvenile ever tried for war crimes. In normal circumstances, it would be near impossible to invite him to a school in Ontario, but through videoconferencing, the borders could be opened.
Defend a Thesis Remotely
This scenario happens often: a bright graduate student finds work just after the last exam, and leaves town to start the job. Though important, it can be costly and time-consuming for the student to take a day off work and return to campus to defend his or her thesis. Alternatively, one of the professors may be travelling, and the ability to participate remotely via videoconferencing technology enables a much more convenient setting for thesis defense.
Collaboration – Anytime, Anywhere
Advanced technology often means mobile tools. Why not apply this to group work? Mobile collaboration is made possible through a Polycom app that students can install onto their phones and devices, enabling group members to participate in virtual meetings. This benefit of being flexible is ideal when students are balancing their schedules between classes, practices, meals, and work.
Moreover, the workplace is also collaborating in a virtual way with Skype calls, videoconference meetings. Why not emulate the collaboration and teamwork settings of the workplace in the classroom through videoconferencing?
Optimize Research Focus Groups
Ideal for facilitating interaction between parties, videoconferencing feedback is as instant as a real-time conversation. This is the same setting for focus groups, and since Resolve Collaboration also provides recording and replay abilities, research can be made easier and more accurate in the qualitative and non-verbal details.
Leave the Broadcast for the Webcast
To be clear, videoconferencing has a powerful role in learning, but it is commonly mistaken as a webcast, such as recording technology in sports and large events. A webcast is a one-to-many broadcast, while videoconferencing is a about face-to-face collaboration. Once an interaction grows beyond a certain size, it’s not about face-to-face collaboration any more. But if you are looking for a two-way, borderless collaboration tool, explore the possibilities videoconferencing can offer for a dynamic learning experience.