Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in the business world is aware that the term "video conferencing" is often talked of and professionally utilized. Interestingly, the business arena isn't the only place video conferencing is being used; it is also becoming extremely popular in school systems. Blue Jeans video conferencing, one of the most popular video conference technology providers on the market, claims that over 80% of administrators and educators support the use of video conference technology in the school system as a means to bettering education for young people and providing easily accessible, vast resources for teachers and administrators.
What Is Video Conferencing?
Video conferencing within the education sector is, simply put, a way to talk with two or more individuals via a video connection. It would be comparable to talking on a telephone, except the person on the other end is visible on a screen. Some methods of video conferencing, such as those offered by thought-leaders at Blue Jeans video conferencing, allow users to pull up and share multimedia including maps, graphs, videos, pictures, and slides. Video conferencing is continually growing as a means of communication not only in the field of business, but also in the sector of education. One of the most valued aspects of video conferencing in the classroom is supplying students with engaging guest speakers.
Why Are Virtual Guest Speakers Important?
A virtual guest speaker may seem excessive to someone who is unfamiliar with the way a school system operates. It can be very difficult to schools to supply the funding for guest speakers to visit, especially when taking traveling costs into consideration. One can very rarely locate a specific guest speaker within the small radius of a school district. Traditional guest speakers are also difficult to acquire due to how difficult schedule matching can be when juggling the schedules of teachers, students, schools, and speakers.
Guest speakers are important because a person who specializes in a given field is better able to relay the subtle and broad aspects of the topic from a position of authority. Research indicates that entertaining a guest speaker in the classroom increases student participation and engagement by a significant margin, with percentages greater than the participation displayed by students who learn about a topic via text, programming, computer systems, and other learning methods.
In short, numerous obstacles often get in the way when teachers attempt to arrange special speakers in the classroom; it can be very difficult for students to experience engaging, dynamic, authentic speakers so that they can reap the benefits listed above.
Fortunately, video conferencing has paved the way for real-time communication. Video conferencing has ensured that virtual guests are larger than life in the eyes of eager learners.
What Are Some Advantages of Entertaining Virtual Guests?
The information above makes it clear that using video conference calls within the school system may be one of the most valuable learning resources available. Teachers who use video conference on a daily or weekly basis boast on the system's flexibility and efficiency. The good stuff doesn't stop there; there are also many other advantages to the entertaining of virtual guests in the classroom for educational reinforcement:
- An opportunity for small and rural school districts. The ability to invite a virtual guest to school is especially useful to those schools that are isolated or small in size. School teachers in low-income or rural school districts are thrilled that they now have the ability to invite "big name" guest speakers to their classrooms for supplementing, lecturing, or simply interacting with the children. Previously, rural districts found it difficult to draw in speakers due to inaccessibility and geographic limitations.
- Cultural awareness. Giving students the chance to learn from someone face-to-face is one thing, but video conferencing gives classrooms the ability to interact with people from other cultures and lifestyles. This concept receives a resounding "A+" from teachers everywhere because they know that introducing children to knowledge on a global scale is one of the most important aspects of education. In fact, some video communication providers allow users to communicate with more than two people. Hypothetically, entire classrooms could interact and collaborate– even classrooms from different countries. Imagining a group of children from two different cultures interacting would have been the stuff of science fiction twenty years ago. Today, it presents a unique learning aide that contributes to creating a well-rounded education system.
- The ability to communicate outside of "office hours." Thanks to video conference technology, teachers are now able to answer questions and interact face-to-face at any time and from the comfort of their own environment.
Video conferencing may change the face of education forever by allowing children to experience adventures that were once impossible. Introducing an astronaut, mayor, or professional athlete to a group of children could change their lives forever; the implementation of video conferencing in the school system allows teachers to focus on educating children in the most effective way possible.