Parents have no doubt lost count of the number of times they have asked their children how school was to be given the response 'boring.' But this could all change if more schools used video conference systems as part of their daily teaching.
If a child's school day involved speaking with other school children in Zimbabwe or interviewing an astronaut in America, parents would probably find their kids would be more inclined to get out of bed.
Video conferencing allows people at separate locations to communicate through video and audio transmissions. Most commonly used in corporate meetings and in television broadcasts, classroom video conferencing is an evolving method being used in teaching to enhance learning.
At the most basic level, video conferencing in an educational environment connects students to their teachers, but on a more exciting and imaginative level it can take pupils on virtual tours, make far away experts available for interview and even allow language students to practise speaking with their peers from other countries.
Video conference systems also make unimaginable school trips possible. For example, students in California were recently able to take a tour of a NASA facility, thanks to their school's video conferencing technology. Students toured a space station training facility and were able to take a close look at the equipment, whilst asking their guide questions which they could quote as part of their science and engineering project.
It enriched those students' learning experience, but admittedly not all classroom video conferencing experiences are as positive. As with most things, technology can sometimes present itself as obstacle. If teachers are unfamiliar with how to deal with such problems, the benefits of using classroom video conferencing are lost.
Common drawbacks of such technology include pixilation, audio delays and echoing. Pixel refers to the quality of the image on screen; it results from the codec having to deal with the rapid flow of information. Audio delays happen when the codex cannot keep up with the rate of transmitted sounds, so by the time the sound gets compressed, transmitted and decompressed the person has often finished talking. Echoing could happen if the system is not set up problem, though background noise can also contribute to their problem.
Nevertheless, by utilising high quality technology from specialist video conferencing companies, a smooth and flawless conference can be set up.
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