Video Conferencing for the Classroom

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: August 19, 2011

Video conferencing is a modern method for people to meet up and discuss topics without traveling to the same location. The visual and audio quality is typically quite good, and the cost of the systems has lowered dramatically in recent of years.

Here are several ways that video conferencing can be used in the classroom:

News Reporting

Many schools use video conferencing to broadcast news to their students. This provides a visual element to morning announcements and serves as an effective way to pass information along. Students can also watch worldwide news on the monitors and follow special events (political elections, space launches) as they occur.

Virtual Field Trips

Schools can take students on virtual field trips to museums, historical sites, aquariums, and other locations that have educational value. This can potentially save schools a great deal of money since they won’t have to pay for transportation of a ‘head cost’ for each student—all that’s required is a flat fee for the field trip.

Guest Visitors

Schools can have historians, scientists, authors, and other people speak to classes without having to travel down to the school. Their expertise can enrich the academic experience and provide a new dimension into subjects that are being taught.

Collaborative Learning

Video conferencing provides a convenient way for students in different cities and countries to collaborate with each other. They can work together on research projects and share information in fast and efficient manner. It is also much cheaper to do this through video conferencing than over the phone.

Special Classes

Many schools cannot afford to have classes on specialized subjects (organic chemistry, the works of Shakespeare, and so forth). They can, however, arrange it so students are able to take these classes from afar through the video conferencing system. There is still a cost, but it tends to be much lower than having someone come in to teach the class.

Planning Projects

Teachers can use the video conferencing system to plan special projects with educators in other school districts. Administrators can also make use of the technology to discuss budgets and other bureaucratic issues.

Mentoring

Teachers can mentor students from afar through the video conferencing system. They can assist them with their studies and answer questions they might have about their homework.

Student Competitions

Schools can use video conferencing to conduct student competitions across the school district. Spelling bees, math competitions, and trivia contests are just a few of the tournaments that can be held.

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