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5 Ways Video Conferencing Is Bringing Exciting Collaborative Interaction To Teaching and Learning

by Jake Anderson on July 30, 2014

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Open up Your Classroom to the World With Video Conferencing

Many of us are familiar with the use of computers, iPads, Smart Boards, and other technological tools in today’s classrooms. One relatively untapped tool for our classrooms is video conferencing. There are so many exciting possibilities that come with being able to see, hear, and communicate with people all over the world from the comfort of your classroom (or wherever you are learning).

Video Conference SchoolsImage Source: mnn.com

Let’s check out a handful of fun ways that there increasingly affordable solutions are being leveraged in our schools!

One: Outlandish Field Trips

The idea of visiting with a NASA astronaut without leaving the classroom would have seemed farfetched twenty years ago; however, video technology allowed students in California to do just that. What could be a better resource for children conducting an engineering project than real live astronauts giving a tour of a real live space station training facility– and all right from the comfort of the child’s classroom?

A field trip to NASA or other engineering related facility would have been out of the question without the introduction of video calls from enterprise level service providers such as the Blue Jeans Network within the classroom. Video call technology has set aside the limits of time, distance, and money by providing a way for children to enter a whole new world with the touch of a button.

Two: Experts and Specialists Available Right in the Classroom

School teachers like to invite special guest speakers into the classroom to more readily engage children and provide another level of insight into the topic being studied. Unfortunately, the traditional method of acquiring a guest speaker is often a painstaking process; it can be difficult to find the specific speaker needed within a certain mile radius, and it can be especially difficult to find a speaker with an open schedule for traveling time.

Schools that incorporate video calls as a learning tool give children the opportunity to hear from a slew of informative and engaging specialists in the area of interest, while simultaneously cutting back on teacher and speaker hassle.

Three: Teacher Benefits

Many people don’t realize the endless possibilities available to teachers when video conference methods are introduced into the classroom. The use of video in the classroom is obviously a teaching aid, but many video calls provide a way for teachers to exchange information with other teachers and administrators with ease and efficiency. Teachers can even conduct parent teacher conferences via video calls, thus avoiding the inconvenience experienced by both teacher and parent during the orchestration of in-school meetings.

Most importantly, meetings can be conducted without losing the important non-verbal cues that are so imperative to face-to-face communication. Teachers can enjoy triple the flexibility without sacrificing quality communication.

Four: Classroom Collaboration

What could be cooler than an English-speaking classroom interacting with a Chinese-speaking classroom? Being introduced to different cultures and ideas in the classroom setting is one of the best ways to teach children the value of differences. It can be difficult for children, especially small children, to understand the concept of human differences without experiencing those differences for themselves. This opportunity is afforded richly with the integration of video calls in school systems around the world.

Video calls allow entire classrooms to collaborate on a global scale. This provides a way for students to experience new cultures and new ideas. Video calls make it possible for students to interact socially with other students that it would be impossible to meet in a real-life setting.

The emphasis put on cultural and global awareness within the classroom could be significantly boosted with the integration of regular video calls to collaborating classrooms around the world. With video calls, there is no reason to let the classroom walls be a limit to learning.

Five: Increasing Social Presence in the Digital Classroom

One of the shortcomings of today’s online and hybrid classrooms is limited opportunity for social engagement. Social learning is an engaging, productive part of effective learning, and teachers working online would be well advised to make opportunities to incorporate it into their course work.

When online teachers and students get digitally get together via the face-to-face medium of video conferencing (especially solutions that allow many participants to be viewed together at once), they recreate significant elements of the physical social gathering.

Video calls that foster student growth, learning, and cultural awareness have become a valuable resource to school systems everywhere. The exciting new developments occurring with the integration of video calls in the classroom give students and teachers the potential to engage, interact, and collaborate in incredible new ways!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):

20 Excellent Free Tools for Interactive Classroom Collaboration
Living in Beta and Moon Shot Dreams – Inspired Teaching With @FollowMolly
Education on the Go – How to Turn Your Phone into a Mobile HotSpot

About 

Awestruck by Star trek as a kid, Jake Anderson has been relentless in his pursuit for covering the big technological innovations which will shape the future. A self-proclaimed gadget freak, he loves getting his hands on every piece of gadget he can afford. These days he spends time working with an NGO and teaches Young children in less developed parts of the world leveraging the latest in video technology.

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